No one has ever accused Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine of lacking charisma, but it’s striking how much his profile as a sex symbol has been raised over the course of the last year and change. When the camera cut to Levine walking on stage as his group prepared to duet with Alicia Keys on “Daylight” and “Girl On Fire,” the screams were somehow even louder than anything we heard eminating from NBC’s Studio 8H last night when Justin Bieber hosted Saturday Night Live.
We’re not entirely sure what convinced Grammy producers to pair Maroon 5’s “Daylight” and Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” with each other, but there was one immediate benefit this unexpected mash-up. Keys has been getting some flack of late for delivering her high notes in a way that Randy Jackson would describe as “pitchy,” and “Girl On Fire” is chock full of ’em. By allowing Levine to add his falsetto croon to the song’s “Ohhhhhhhhh, oh-oh oh-oh” refrain, Keys was able to focus on ensuring that she nailed the lower register parts of the song. Mission accomplished.
Even if Maroon 5 don’t take home any Grammys tonight, this has been far and away the biggest year in their career. Thanks in large part to Levine’s role as a judge on NBC’s The Voice (not to mention the band’s willingness to work with the likes of Max Martin and Shellback), the band’s fourth studio album, Overexposed, has been the group’s best selling LP since 2007’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long. Levine himself has already appeared on Saturday Night Live twice this year, once with his bandmates and once as host, and there’s little use denying that there are many male singers who are more on “Fire” than him these days.