Less than one hour after it began, two A-list mega-talents made surprise appearances during Hot 97's Summer Jam XX, reaffirming its reputation as one of the most reliably unpredictable fests around.
J. Cole—rocking a Portlandia-esque red hoodie covered in birds—hit the stage with Miguel for an energized run-through of their "Power Trip" track. And despite playing for just under a half hour, Miguel managed to slip another musical heavy-hitter into his set: Diva #1, Mariah Carey.
With backup singers in tow, Carey strolled onstage to join her "#Beautiful" collaborator and was greeted with an overwhelming wall of applause from the New Jersey/New York crowd. Because, duh, she's Mariah Carey. You have to shower her with applause when you see her—it's like a social contract she has with the entirety of America.
Miguel—who managed to break through in a huge way last year despite his 2010 debut fizzling—could hardly hide the triumph and celebration on his face as he sang with the Alpha Diva. But whenever she opened her mouth, he immediately dropped to his knees as if in supplication to the Queen. Their collabo might be dominated by his sonic imprint, but he knows who's boss when they're onstage together.
Gossip-mongers might see Mimi's Summer Jam appearance as a subtle way to throw shade on her Idol sparring partner Nicki Minaj, who had a rather famous beef with the fest (although Minaj herself made a shocker appearance several hours later that night at Summer Jam). And hell, maybe it was. But who cares? When Mariah's on stage, you don't question why. You just soak in the glitter.