photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
J. Cole couldn't stop grinning when performing his R&B radio hit "Crooked Smile," his closing song during his set at the iHeartRadio Music Festival Friday in Las Vegas.
The "Born Sinner" rapper had good reason. He was joined on stage by TLC members Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, who sing the song's chorus. It was their first time performing the song live.
The audience cheered as Chilli and T-Boz walked out during Cole's introduction. The singers, who will release a new album and VH1 movie "CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story" in October, looked great, dressed in black futuristic costumes similar to their wardrobe in their 1999 video "No Scrubs."
While Cole rapped, the top-selling girl group danced and touched the hands of fans standing next to the stage.
The song promotes self-acceptance and its message has been compared to TLC's "Unpretty." When Cole asked TLC to appear on the song, they were happy to do so.
"He called for us," T-Boz told MTV. "He's an amazing artist. I actually have a newfound respect for him. I didn't know he was so deep lyrically, [and as a] producer. So he's a great artist and he deserves to be No. 1 like he is."
TLC expressed their anticipation before the show:
Cole's set included another one of his superstar collaborators, Miguel. They performed their hit "Power Trip," and Miguel sounded great live.
Cole pointed to Miguel in awe as the R&B artist belted the chorus.
Cole displayed a humble disposition throughout the night. Earlier, he introduced himself by admitting that he knew that everyone in the arena was not familiar with his work, but received a rousing response when he offered his breakthrough hit "Work Out."
- Arts & Entertainment