Expectations were high for Frank Ocean‘s debut performance at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards Thursday night (Sep. 6). And the breakout R&B star exceeded those expectations with an intimate and beautifully art-directed performance of his Channel Orange lead-off track, “Thinkin’ Bout You”. Behind tall grass and before a starry, moonlit backdrop, Ocean pivoted into his falsetto for the song’s heartsick lyrics as a guitarist offered the simplest accompaniment in shadow. The performance brought the VMA audience to their feet, and critics and fans shortly followed, flooding social networks with kudos.
Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times anointed Ocean’s stripped-bare campfire confessional a “stunner”, saying: “as the closeups were all on Ocean, and as he shifted from graceful singing to wavering falsetto, it was never less than riveting.”
Jump below to see how the music industry celebrated Frank Ocean’s stunning MTV Video Music Awards performance, including a raving review from Rita Ora.
As “Frank Ocean” began to trend on Twitter, fellow artists — including Lady Gaga — added their own positive reviews to the conversation.
watch frank ocean steal this whole show. I’m dead
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) September 7, 2012
Just when 2chains, pink, riri & Katy had me melting. Frank ocean killed it. Thinkin about you is on repeat. Beautiful. Orale!
— dev (@DEVisHot) September 7, 2012
— BABY♥KREAY (@KREAYSHAWN) September 7, 2012
— Rebecca Black (@MsRebeccaBlack) September 7, 2012
— Sammy Adams (@SammyAdams) September 7, 2012