Shawn Mendes visited The Tonight Show to play a crisp version of his single “Lost in Japan” on Thursday, September 28th. He also engaged in a sing-off with Jimmy Fallon during a goofy game called “Slay It, Don’t Spray It” and discussed his cross-genre ambitions and his upcoming appearance at New York’s Global Citizen Festival.
Mendes’ performance of “Lost in Japan” moved briskly from a mournful piano intro to a cheerfully strummed opening verse. Around the one-minute mark, the drummer laid down a firm beat and the bassist started to add muscular riffs, pushing the song towards disco. Mendes sang well, jumping into his falsetto without missing a beat, as he offered a series of modest invitations: “Do you have plans tonight?/I was hoping I could get lost in your paradise.”
The singer also joined Fallon for several rounds of “Slay It, Don’t Spray It,” a game that tests your knowledge of song lyrics. If the contestant accurately sings the words to a randomly chosen song — say, Cardi B’s “I Like It” — their competitor gets sprayed with water. If the contestant flubs those lines, however, they’re the one who gets doused. Mendes couldn’t make it all the way through “I Like It,” so he got blasted. Fallon had the same problem with Post Malone’s “Psycho.” Later, Mendes did an impressive imitation of Bruno Mars, but still ended up soaked.
During a brief interview that did not involve precipitation, Mendes told Fallon he wanted his latest album to encompass multiple musical styles. “What I realized while making the album was that I don’t listen to one genre,” he said. “I’m listening to [John] Mayer in the morning and Top 40 radio in the afternoon and Kanye [West] at night… and an artist really is just a culmination of all of the other artists they listen to. There’s nothing wrong with making an album that is colorful.”
Mendes is in New York City to perform at this year’s Global Citizen Festival, which takes place Saturday, September 29th on Central Park’s Great Lawn. Speaking with Fallon, the singer affirmed his own commitment to public activism. “This weekend, and from now on, I’m going to be focused on education, and simply the main goal is to be able to provide education for children, especially girls, across the entire world,” Mendes said.