At his seventh annual OVO Fest in Toronto this past weekend, Drake made my boy band dreams take flight. No, I wasn’t there — do I look like my name is OB O'Brien? — but I watched it on Snapchat. And in those precious Snaps, I witnessed Drake singing from the sky like the lost sixth Backstreet Boy. At last, he had attained the final level of pop-star realness: the one where you fly.
Singing from high above the crowd is an important part of being a contemporary pop star. Like Pink, you may sing suspended (similar to an acrobat). Like Taylor Swift, you may sing on a moving platform, keeping yourself hovering just out of reach. Or, like Justin Bieber, you may sing from within a cage, keeping your audience at bay (while arguably reflecting the confines of fame). To sing from the sky is the ultimate power move, a true symbol of pop royalty. It is the physical placement of oneself over the masses, ensuring that in no way, shape, or form can they touch or match you. It is every monarch on their balcony, waving down to their loyal subjects. It is the crowning jewel in a well-earned crown.
Or, more specifically, it’s a crossover point. While this isn’t the first time Drake has performed above his audience, this weekend came after “One Dance” spent 17 weeks within Billboard's Top 3 songs, and just as Views was celebrating its 12th week at Number One on the albums chart. Dude is a pop star like never before. So he performed the way pop stars do: with visuals (at one point he danced in front of the word “revenge,” for some reason), with dialogue (his banter was on point), with balloons (somebody call Bill Clinton) — and while floating far above his beloved fans.
Of course, aerial #Views don’t necessarily connote “I am better than you.” When Pink takes to the sky at awards shows, it’s an assurance that we are being entertained, the way we might have been decades ago at circuses and vaudeville halls. When Katy Perry performed on her “The More You Know” star at the 2015 Super Bowl, or while riding that very large lion robot, it seemed like her intention was to match the majesty of the event at which she was appearing. (Plus, she wouldn’t be Katy Perry without channeling the greatest of all Las Vegas slot machines.) And when Biebs performs inside of a cage, he is arguably screaming for help, since he’s already told us he feels like a zoo animal, bless his precious heart. (Also: We should probably do something soon.)
But Drake? This was his moment! He was a bird! He was flying and free and the master of his own destiny! And on the heels of the most professional success he’s ever had, he deserves a coronation in which he physically raises himself to king-like levels while crooning a ballad à la A.J. McLean. He is a one-man boy band. He is the 6 God. He is living a dream. Which is why, when his audience looks up at the sky, they see him — and why, like a dream, they can never truly reach him.