Whoever conceived of a tour joining electro-pop's princess with the anthemic Latin hip-hop cheerleader is a bloody genius. On paper, there's little to connect the dots between Ke$ha and Pitbull. Yet, on the stage of the Grand at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City - on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, yet - their common denominator was loud, garish fun.
Subtlety was in short supply.
Though a double-headliner show, much of the female-heavy audience was made up like Ke$ha, mimicking her warrior streaks and glittery face paint while shouting along to her expletive-rich lyrics.
Backed by dancers who alternated between gold-gilded Mad Max-ish gear and farm animal costumes, Ke$ha cockily spat out the words to "Crazy Kids" as though she were spraying tobacco juice after a particularly satisfying chew.
"Tonight we do it big, and shine like stars," she sang, defining her aesthetic.
Garbed in a series of sparkly leotards, she snarled her way through metallic guitar rock-outs like "Dirty Love" and the surprisingly spiky "Tik Tok."
Ke$ha really seemed to relish each four-letter word she rapped through the electro-hop likes of "Blah Blah Blah." Funny thing was, between her dancers and the sexual frankness of her lyrics, the show often resembled an intentionally naughty high school production of Oh! Calcutta!
Doubly surprising then was her finale: the gentle romanticism of "Your Love Is My Drug" and the tribal grooving pop nihilism of "Die Young." They were downright sweet.
Pitbull, the Miami-born Cuban MC, wore more clothes, had more percussionists, and used less blue language than Ke$ha.
As a rapper, he was more a rousing pep talker than silver-tongued soliloquist. Still, the well-dressed Pit, his large band, and his scantily clad dancers had just as much passion as the first act. Songs like the jittery "Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)," "Hope We Meet Again," and the squelchy autobiographical "Welcome to Dade County" came out fast and furious.
After pausing for an imaginary conversation with "haters" who nag that his lyrics aren't curt and that his clothes aren't grimy enough for street cred, Pitbull made an appeal for global acceptance rather than block-captain status before launching into the universal likes of "Move, Shake, Drop" and the contagious "Don't Stop the Party."