Ke$ha and Pitbull - Ak-Chin Pavilion - 6/19/13 (VIDEO)

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He came out wearing an all-black suit and sunglasses, looking cool even in the desert heat. If Ke$ha was overpowered by the backing track, Pitbull wasn't at all -- at times, he was barely audible. After the first few songs, it definitely seemed like he could use some help from some sexy backup dancers. By song three, four sexily clad ladies had joined him to spice things up.

Pitbull was more hype man than musician during his performance, often playing DJ as tracks such as Icona Pop's "I Love It" and Martin Solveig's "Hello" came on the speakers in-between songs. While Pitbull's band was more robust than Ke$ha's, with a bigger percussion section and a saxophone, much of his set was filled with other spliced-in pop songs, during which Pitbull lifted his arms to get the crowd dancing.

If you were wondering how he managed to incorporate all those people he's worked with, ranging from Jennifer Lopez and Chris Brown to Marc Anthony and T-Pain, their visages all appeared on a video screen behind Pitbull as he rapped. I felt like I was in a massive music video bar, with Pitbull playing the perfect guy to get everyone engaged with the music.

Besides barreling through nearly 30 tracks, Pitbull also tried to inspire the crowd to be ambitious and dream big. "Short steps, long vision," he said. "Everybody here is part of the movement and has vision."

He talked about leaving the streets to clean up his act, and it was clear his messages resonated when he started shouting out all the Central American and South American cultures that might be in attendance. As he rattled off more than a dozen countries, the crowd began to chant, "Me-he-co" in unison, until Pit finally acknowledged the Mexican fans. It was a really neat moment to see an audience so united with the guy on-stage, even if his set was a little fluffy.

Pitbull's stage was glossy and colorful, with lots of bright lights that made it seem like an accurate version of the vibrance of his home town of Miami. Pitbull may have given props to sponsors ranging from car companies to photography brands throughout his set, but he still managed to turn his promotional tour into one heck of a party.

More photos, observations, and video after the jump.

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Nicki Escudero
Contact: Nicki Escudero