Pharrell Williams continued his year-long hot streak with a hits-laden, crowd-dazzling performance at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night (Feb. 16) at New Orleans Arena, as part of the Entertainment Series presented by Sean John at Macy’s. Performing during the player introductions in the Big Easy, Williams flaunted chart-topping hits while inviting Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Diddy and Busta Rhymes in on the fun.
Introduced by reigning NBA MVP LeBron James as “Skateboard P,” Williams rolled off his debut single “Frontin'” in front of a throng of shrieking women in the audience before bringing out Nelly to toss out his Neptunes-produced smash “Hot In Herre.” Jay Z wasn’t on hand for the next song, “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” but Williams quickly ended that hook as Diddy and Busta Rhymes rose onto the stage from a platform below to perform “Pass The Rock This Way,” a basketball-minded revamp of their 2002 single “Pass The Courvoisier, Part II.”
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The Eastern Conference All-Stars were introduced, and Williams returned in a white t-shirt for the 2013 Song of the Summer, “Blurred Lines,” and the still-great 2002 single from his N.E.R.D. project, “Rock Star.” The strobes of that song soon gave way to the warm light of “Beautiful,” and Snoop Dogg entered to the loudest ovation of all the guest stars for a cheery verse.
The GRAMMY winner for Record of the Year, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” was up next, and Williams (and a red version of his absurdly big GRAMMY hat) closed out the performance with his current solo hit, “Happy.” The final minute of the show found Williams’ four guest MC returning to bop, shimmy and flap their arms along to the smile-inducing single.
On last week’s Hot 100 chart, “Happy” reached a new peak of No. 2, behind Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse.” Williams is set to perform the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack single at the Academy Awards in two weeks.