MTV World Stage 2012

Venue: Surf Beach at Sunway Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, Malaysia
Date: 14th July 2012
Organizer: MTV Asia
Review by: Ee Liza
Special Thanks: Compass Communications and MTV Asia


End scene. With that, Justin Bieber walked off stage while his fans attempt to catch their breaths after hyperventilating over Bieber’s final song of the night day, Boyfriend. Walk around Sunway Lagoon’s Surf Beach and there is utter delight planted in the faces of young girls and even boys alike everywhere. Happiness was even overflowing into Sunway Pyramid, a shopping mall nearby where there is evident chatter amongst teenagers outside several shops that Justin Bieber and his crew were guests and customers only a day earlier. MTV World Stage has always provided an opportunity for the fans in the region to reap the benefits of an international event. This year’s edition proved a success as it tapped into the loyal fan base of a younger generation of artistes and K-Pop acts.

The promoters surely did not kid when they said everyone should enter the venue early so as not to be disappointed for missing out. Justin Bieber opened MTV Worldstage Malaysia 2012 with chart topper Baby at around 6.35pm. The crowd immediately surged forward and went ballistic. It was quite a sight to behold to watch Bieber strut his moves onstage (they did not look easy at all), plus you could sense that the backup dancers were not entirely used to the heat in Malaysia. It surely did not slow them down, though. After about three songs (and a request for cold water) Bieber went off stage while his crew entertained the crowd with a mini DJ-set, playing crowd pleasers such as Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe. He came back on stage with only a guitarist and went back to basics when he successfully serenaded the crowd with a selection of his acoustic songs. He even joined his guitarist at one point with his left-handed guitar and sang One Time.

Time flew and before the hour mark even approached, Justin Bieber has left the stage. Thus ended the only full band performance of the night, as the three following acts would only dance and sing their way. After a short alteration and prep on stage, the five gorgeous girls from Kara emerge on stage to step things up with their first song, Step. The choreography was dazzling between the five girls on heels and it was an absolute pleasure to watch them strut their stuff. Favourite from the night came from the song Lupin as back-up dancers in red suits seem to appear and dissolve with such ease.

After a short six songs dance routine (and pink giant balloons for the crowd to burst!), Kara waved goodbye and Malaysia’s very own Mizz Nina was next to take the stage. She appeared in a cloak at around 8.20pm with a contingent of interesting back-up dancers which involved mimes and what I believe to be baseball players although they were really doing more amazing parkour-like stunts. Her performance, unfortunately, was not glitch free as at one point, Mizz Nina can be seen signaling off stage with a rather confused look while the music plays. Despite the whole ordeal being less than a minute, the reveal was slightly obvious that lip-synching was involved. However, she took it in stride and soldiered on in true the-show-must-go-on spirit. While she makes full use of all ends of the huge platform, the stage sometimes appears to swallow her lone figure. Wearing a pair of sweet leather pants and striking glow-in-the dark nail polish, Mizz Nina closed her set with a solid performance of What You Waiting For, a song that she famously collaborated with Colby O’Donis.

Former member of Korean boyband 2PM, Jay Park, sauntered in on stage at 9pm. As the final act of the day, he made full use of the time he has by exhuming stage charisma through ways of engaging with the crowd a lot more comfortably than the previous acts. The 25 year old rapped his way into the hearts of many, alternating between Korean and English language. Jay Park’s breakdancing moves was oozing with confidence and he even teased his fans with a little cover of Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend. His song Girlfriend was an interesting contrast to the opposite take that was played earlier by Bieber. Speaking of covers, Jay Park also covered Bruno Mars’ Nothing On You with his personal twist taking that song to great heights. All in all, if Jay Park was a satisfying spoonful of live Korean music that Malaysians would get this year, surely one can only expect ladlefuls that would pack a punch when Korean boyband Big Bang hits the stage in Malaysia come October.

It was a visually stunning night as the technicians worked tirelessly to ensure the visuals were absolutely spot on and well timed with the music. However, dare I say that MTV World Stage as a whole felt well, staged, given the lack of a live full band for most of the acts. For the fifth edition of this annual spectacle, one can only hope next year’s acts will feature a stunningly diverse lineup as it did back in 2009 to win back an appreciative crowd.