Even if you haven’t heard Jessie J‘s infectious, bouncy summer jam “Price Tag,” you are probably familiar with some of her songs. “Party in the U.S.A.”? Yeah, she co-wrote the Miley Cyrus hit. Chris Brown’s “I Need This” — Jessie again. She’s also worked on songs for Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys.
And, of course, Jessie J is the house artist for this year’s VMAs, the capper to a year that saw her finally release her long-gestating debut, Who You Are, which included a tune she originally wrote for Rihanna, the raunchy “Do It Like a Dude.”
What befits a budding British pop star’s biggest moment on live American TV? How about a giant orthopedic brace? And we don’t mean the fake Lady Gaga kind.
“I broke my foot, so I have this crazy ‘Star Wars’ moon boot,” Jessie said on Thursday about being laid-up for her VMA debut. “I’m gonna pimp out my crutches for the red carpet.” While rehearsing, Jessie fell off a stage and snapped her ankle, but she said it will have no effect on her performance at all, as she plans to take a seat on a throne and rock it out.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” she said of the honor of serving as the house artist. “I’ve watched the VMAs every single year, and always wished I could be there. … So, I’m going to be singing a lot, and people seeing me, and every single person I’ve ever looked up to in the music industry is going to be in the same room at once. Broken foot or not, I’m still going to wild out and do my thing.”
With Britney, Lil Wayne, Beyoncé and a galaxy of other A-listers in the house, Jessie said she will probably be a bit nervous, but also super excited. “I’m still a little kid living her dream, and to know that that kind of thing’s going to happen is just unreal.”
Though she couldn’t reveal too much about her set, Jessie promised that she’d be singing “a lot,” and was just thrilled to be tapped for the gig, since she’s still somewhat of a new commodity in the U.S.
Since her album dropped in February, J has already been having a stellar year, appearing on “Saturday Night Live,” opening on Katy Perry’s California Dreams tour and getting some attention for “Price Tag,” which features B.o.B. (She also had the distinct honor of going on a “First Date” with an MTV News’ own Steven Roberts earlier this year.)
“So surprised, because no one really knows me yet,” she said of landing the house artist gig.
With a new single, “Domino,” about to hit radio, Jessie made sure to do her homework and look back at what previous house artists such as deadmau5, Travis Barker and Wale served up. She’ll try to live up to that standards they set, but will still “do me” on Sunday.
“I just hope that people don’t notice that my foot’s broken,” she joked when asked what she hoped viewers will take away from her performance. “And just really notice that I have fun, don’t take myself too seriously and that I’ve worked really hard and that they like my music. Just have fun. I just want people to get up and dance.”
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following the Selena Gomez-hosted pre-show at 8. See the list of nominees, revisit last year’s highlights and vote for Best New Artist by visiting VMA.MTV.com.