The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has just wrapped up Singles Day, a 24-hour online shopping blitz that’s akin to the US shopping holiday Cyber Monday.
Before the event’s formal commencement at midnight on Nov. 11, the company staged a televised countdown ceremony full of celebrity appearances. International guests included Nicole Kidman, the Blue Man Group, and Maria Sharapova. One of the top-billed stars was the rapper and producer Pharrell. His performance, however, will not be fondly remembered.
The rapper and singer appeared on stage beside Chinese pop star Kris Wu, performing a bizarre duet that celebrates “Double Eleven Day,” shopping, China, and not much else. Accompanied by a hip-hop beat and backup dancers, the two crooned lyrics like:
If you could believe/and organize like the bees/You can do it you’ll see there’s strength in numbers
The possibilities are swimming around inside my head/All the money raised imagine what could be done with it
So many miracles could happen because of this day/You know the world’s watching wishing they could participate
Earlier in the gala, Pharrell performed a brief rendition of his song Happy with Hong Kong pop star Karen Mok. Both singers came out of that song unscathed—though it’s likely one of the few times Pharrell was accompanied by a guzheng, the stringed instrument popular during the Qin dynasty.