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Carly Rae Jepsen makes the most of her ACL Fest set

Saddled with an awkward timeslot and stage, Jepsen still brought the joy.

AUSTIN, Texas — Carly Rae Jepsen is an unusual pop star.

Many see her as a one-hit-wonder. But to her diehard fans, she’s already an icon.

That's an odd position to be in when playing a festival – something that was clear during Jepsen's set at the 2022 Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Jepsen kind of had the odds stacked against her. The Barton Springs Stage is a hard one, set away from every other stage at the fest. And the time slot before a headliner is rough, too – much of your audience is already thinking about where they want to be next.

Luckily for Jepsen, she's the type of performer who can bring joy to any situation.

A pale figure with platinum hair, Jepsen looks something like a colorful Debbie Harry, but with a voice like a cherub. Throughout her ACL set, she was cheerful and sly, whether making quips about the exes her songs are about (“Talking to Yourself”, “Julian”), poking fun at her own earnestness (“I Really Like You,” “Want You in My Room”) or announcing a love song (“Now That I Found You”) is about her cat.

But Jepsen — and the crowd — were at their best during the high-energy songs like “Run Away With Me” and, of course, “Call Me Maybe.”

“Sing along with me! Because it is, in fact, the law,” Jepsen teased before her breakout hit.

It’s unfortunate that ACL stuck Jepsen on such an awkward stage at an awkward time. But thankfully for the diehards, she made the most of the night. 

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