CES and Las Vegas are absurd. They’re the kind of over-the-top you don’t get anywhere else, where seeing insane, surreal things is normal to the point of being mundane. Jason Derulo fits right in here. He has a castle. You know. No big deal.
Last night, The Verge went to the Light Nightclub for iHeartRadio’s annual night of debauchery, where Derulo was scheduled to talk dirty to a crowd of reporters and corporate hangers on. If that sounds crazy, it absolutely is. To quote Nilay Patel, it’s one of the silliest parties at CES, since it’s there that you remember that not only does iHeartMedia have a lot of money, but it has enough money to outdo every other party in Vegas all in the name of an app few talk about. (iHeartRadio is actually approaching 60 million subscribers, but my friends and colleagues are not among them.) It’s a yearly tradition that’s given us Ke$ha dancing with a talking penis, so, God bless this mess, we had to go back.
The party did not disappoint. It was big, bright, and weird. Cirque du Soleil performers in nipple decor and not much else lurked in every corner. We nearly got blown away by onstage fog cannons, and freaked out when a man-sized bunny in jumping stilts crossed our path. Of all the unsettling things I’ve seen at CES, that hit my personal Top Five for "What the fuck am I looking at?" And I remember thinking, "Oh God, just please let me get home!"
Midnight came, and Jason arrived, followed by an entourage wearing almost exclusively Jordan 13s. I was tipsy and had only a few minutes to ask my most burning questions, the most burning of which was the unaskable, "Why is saying your name so fun?" I settled on what CES has been like for him.
"It’s dope, man," he said. "I just bought a castle just down the way, so I’m trying to link that thing up and make sure everything is comfortable. I’m really into technology. It just makes life easier."
Is there such a thing as a Connected Castle?
He seemed pleased when he said that, but in the way you and I would be pleased about a new phone that needs setting up. Wiring castles is tough, man. And right then, I could feel the chasm between Jason’s celebrity and my own not-really-mattering threaten to swallow me whole. Celebrities have castles. Yeah, that’s not exactly beyond the pale. But the way he said it, later adding that the castle itself was built in the 1920s like it was just a piece of trivia, shook me. He was just so nonchalant about it. I pictured Xanadu from Citizen Kane filled with Jordans and women wiggling "just a little bit." But what about gadgets? I asked myself. Will it have a curved SUHD TV? Is there such a thing as a Connected Castle? How smart can a castle be?
There wasn’t enough time to ask all these questions, though. I’m not even sure Jason Derulo has strong opinions about 4K and the Internet of Things. We talked about a variety of things — his drunken fans, his travels, Instagram — and I came away feeling like he’s a mostly regular guy enjoying his fame. "My life is really fun," he said, likely knowing that his fun is nowhere near my fun.
I did learn that he loves his iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note. (He has big hands.) He’s probably using them in his castle right this second.
I want a castle now.
Update: The above article has been updated to include iHeartRadio's subscriber base.