With the ARIAs looming, labels are parading all their prize ponies at showcases this week. Sony chose The Beresford for their event and presented their register of hitmakers. Justice Crew warmed up the crowd with their massive number one hit "Boom Boom", Johnny Ruffo was less embarrassing live than I expected and Timomatic "did it for Nigeria". Represent! The reality show-raised trio put on a great show but the label saved the best for last with the ever-impressive Jessica Mauboy.
I've always loved Jess but there was a time when her live performances were a little awkward. It's been a while since I've seen her strut her stuff but on the evidence of last night, she's a completely new woman. The reigning Queen of Aus-pop looked amazing, sounded incredible and moved around the stage with a new confidence. She's no longer Australia's answer to [insert random American diva here]. The Sapphires star is now ready for the international stage.
Jessica kicked off her set with a stripped-back version of "Inescapable" - one of the best pop songs of last year. I loved her soulful interpretation. She then delved into The platinum-selling Sapphires soundtrack but really blew me away with an impeccable rendition of Frank Ocean's "Thinking About You". I need this as a B-side on her next single! Jess closed the show with "Gotcha" (below). The song never really clicked with me on radio but works so much better in a live setting.
It was a winning display and put the rest of the industry on notice. Jessica is not fucking around anymore. Expect great things from album number three (I don't count that Australian Idol compilation!)