JLS, the perennial teenage heartthrobs, made a triumphant return, igniting arenas across the UK with their infectious pop anthems. With shows across London, Glasgow, and Dublin, we caught our musical spectacle took place at Leeds’ First Direct Arena, where the night unfolded with an unexpected burst of energy courtesy of the sensational pop queen SHAB.
The stage came alive as Iranian-American mega-pop star-in-the-making, SHAB, kicked off the night with a sizzling performance. Fresh from her breakout hit ‘VooDoo’, a collaboration with hip-hop legend Fat Joe, SHAB radiated confidence as she strutted onto the stage accompanied by her entourage of backing dancers.
Behind SHAB’s magnetic stage presence lies an inspiring story of resilience. A refugee who sought solace in Germany during the Iranian revolution at just eight years old, she later embarked on a journey to America at 14, mastering English while balancing three jobs. With her rising presence on YouTube and Spotify, it’s evident that SHAB is poised for even greater heights in her pop star trajectory.
The crowd was immediately swept into a whirlwind of movement as JLS took the stage to the pulsating rhythm of ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. From the infectious beats of ‘Hottest Girl In The World’ to the seamless fusion of ‘Day One’ with Bruno Mars’ ‘Finesse’, the setlist was a rollercoaster of hits that invoked both nostalgia and surprise as forgotten lyrics were effortlessly recalled.
The spectacle continued with fire, confetti, perfectly synced dance routines, and the iconic backflips of JLS member Aston. The atmosphere was delightfully cheesy and as extravagantly over-the-top as fans could have hoped for.
A highlight of the night came when Aston and Marvin engaged in a DJ battle, treating the audience to a megamix spanning late 2000s/2010s hits. The crowd erupted in dance and screamed, joining the duo in a musical journey that traversed Justin Bieber, Macklemore, Dizzee Rascal, and Rihanna.
Following a third outfit change, the encore commenced, featuring the biggest hits that had the entire arena belting out ‘Beat Again’ and shedding tears to the soul-stirring ‘Everybody In Love’. JLS’ return proved not just a concert but an emotional journey, a testament to their enduring impact and the timeless allure of their music.