Most of the time, musicians can bet that the fans they call on to sing with them will be karaoke-level at best – and make them look loads better by comparison – but even the mightiest of performers can be matched. Inviting fan participation can be a dangerous game; here’s what happens when fans steal all the thunder…
WHAT HAPPENED: Just yesterday (March 20) Rihanna was performing in Cincinnati when she extended the mic to one of her fans, who belted ‘FourFiveSeconds’ right back at her. The surprise on her face says it all.
2. Kendrick Lamar
WHAT HAPPENED: Kendrick’s invited fan participation several times, but here are two highlights. In the first of the videos below, in Colombia, his fan gives an explosive version of ‘m.a.a.d. City’. In the second, a zealous crowd member in Houston who calls himself ‘Corporate Dough’ freestyles in a way that’s a bit much, but still completely striking.
3. Katy Perry
WHAT HAPPENED: In Rio de Janeiro, September 2015, Perry got this fan up onstage before realising she was a bit sozzled. Perry looks horrified, then bravely stoic as the fan starts groping and kissing her. The clip went viral, of course.
4. Foo Fighters
WHAT HAPPENED: Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl asked any audience member who knew the words to come onstage and sing Rush’s ‘Tom Sawyer’. Brian complied and nailed it. Witnessing the clip below is very like watching a man all of whose dreams have come true.
5. Michael Bublé
WHAT HAPPENED: A 15-year-old sang a Bublé song a bit like Bublé and all the Bublé fans went mad.
6. Jason Mraz
WHAT HAPPENED: At Mraz’s stop in Taipei he noticed a fan wielding his own percussion, so he pulled him up onstage during ‘Be Honest’ to play with him and stop annoying all the people around him. The guy, whose name is Stan, began harmonising with him, impromptu, and is clearly very talented. Mraz looks a little bit pissed off, to be honest.
7. Jessie J
WHAT HAPPENED: Jessie J invited this ‘shy’ fan onstage and they ended up playing ‘Price Tag’ together for ages.
WHAT HAPPENED: Beyoncé fans are really good at singing ‘Halo’ back at her perfectly. See two pieces of evidence below, and notice how she pulls back the microphone when her fans have spent too long in the spotlight…
9. Tyler, The Creator
WHAT HAPPENED: This dude asked to join Tyler on stage to rap Earl Sweatshirt’s verse from ‘Orange Juice’. His weird, unbridled confidence makes him the only thing you can look at while he’s up there. At the end though, Tyler says “Get the fuck off the stage” – fair enough.
10. Ed Sheeran
WHAT HAPPENED: This is the other way round. One of Sheeran’s fans is performing in a mall when he surprises her and her considerable audience by joining her for a verse. He’s then swiftly escorted out before he gets utterly mobbed.