Over/Under: Homecoming

Over/Under: Homecoming

Overrated – Karim Gueye

When you go to a concert you expect good vibes, slick dance moves and a passionate artist. Instead, NJIT hosted a plastic pop star with a Ken doll-style painted beard. Jason Derulo – best known for “Watcha Say” and not being known anymore – performed several indistinguishable pop songs at NJIT’s Homecoming Concert on Oct. 7 for the NJIT student body. I went to this concert for the college experience and I’m sad to say, it was absolutely overhyped and overrated. 

The concert started off strong – before Derulo went on, at least. I arrived at around 8 p.m. and used the time before the headliner took stage to take an absolutely sick nap. Derulo’s DJ himself came onstage now, who wisely chose to play songs from more creative artists. Finally, Jason stepped foot on stage, and all I can say is that I wish I hadn’t wasted my nap beforehand because I had to be conscious for his every single one of his songs. 

The first thing that told me this concert would be subpar was the crappy mixing; it was terrible, and the music drowned out Derulo’s voice. What’s worse is that the instrumentals in Derulo’s songs are poppy and generic; each song was indiscernible. Derulo spent 45 minutes singing what might as well have been one song, only breaking up his performances to tie his shoes and shoutout his TikTok. 

Derulo must have been trying extra hard to sing over his music, because he barely danced throughout his entire performance. He left the dancing to his backup dancers, all of whom were off rhythm. The men did off-beat flips and the women “WAP”-twerked in front of Derulo as he sang – nary a booty was shaken with rhythm.  

The dance routines might have been salvageable had there been more dancers on stage, at least then there would be enough movement to distract from the stunning lack of choreography, but Derulo and company never utilized more than a quarter of the stage at any given moment. The pop star never seemed to have more than 4 dancers on at a given moment, and when they were dancing, they were no farther than 5 or so meters from Derulo. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume that he charges based on the maximum amount of square footage he’ll use during any one song. 

The only thing of note Derulo did on that stage was when he tore off his shirt and tossed it into the crowd, but Student Senate it did it first – and better – so I can’t even give Derulo any props for that at all. 

Underrated – Alicia Tedesco

Maybe NJIT students take it for granted that they have singers like Jason Derulo come to their university every year for homecoming. Maybe they would think differently about NJIT-concerts if they studied in another country – like Germany. 

I’m from Germany and let me tell you: I don’t know about any singers coming to a German university for homecoming. That’s partly because we don’t have anything like homecoming in Germany – but also because many well-known singers are from the US. Why would someone like Jason Derulo fly to Germany to give a concert for a small university? 

To me, Jason Derulo’s homecoming concert was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I’ll probably never ever go to one of his concerts again. Not because it was bad – on the contrary, I loved it – but because I simply will not have the means nor opportunity to. (Seriously, there’s not even one concert scheduled in Germany.) 

There’s basically nothing that spoke against going to the homecoming concert: it was a great, well-known singer you could see for only 20-something dollars. If you attended, just think back to the huge crowd you were part of; think back to singing every song together and dancing on the floor or dipping your feet to the beat of the music. If you didn’t attend, just imagine what you missed: that feeling of being part of something bigger, the beauty of hundreds of people waving their smartphone flashlights from one side to the other and Jason Derulo and his dance crew performing hits like “Wiggle” and “Trumpets.” 

One of my personal highlights was actually the dancers that Jason Derulo had on stage with him. Yes, Jason Derulo can sing and dance, too, but the dance crew was on a different level. I was amazed at how precisely they could move their body and how well the choreography fit every song.  

Being able to sing along to every single song was another high point for me – even more so because everyone else was able to do the same. In those moments, it didn’t matter that most of us were strangers. We were just there, singing, dancing and enjoying every second. “Savage Love,” “Talk Dirty to Me” and “It Girl” were just a few of the songs that we as the audience sang and almost screamed the lyrics to. 

I don’t regret going to the concert; I’m glad I took the chance. And as someone who will most likely not have another homecoming like this, I want to ask something of you: next year, please go (again). No matter who’s playing, just go, appreciate the opportunities you get and maybe think about your German staff writer from the Vector who would love to go there again, too. 

About The Author

Karim Gueye

Gueye (Computer Science '22) is part of the Vector writing and copy editing teams.

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