While Manhattan temperatures were in the teens Wednesday night, teen singing sensation Austin Mahone was heating up Bryant Park during the kickoff of PepsiCo's #PEPCITY, a free, three-day celebration of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Fans known as "Mahomies" filled the domed venue. "He's so cute," shouted Laura Kobrinsky, 16, of Port Washington, "and his voice is, like, perfect!"
Mahone got the crowd jumping with his new single, "MMM Yeah," then tugged on the heartstrings during the ballad, "Heart in My Hand."
Rachel Reisman, 14, also of Port Washington, noted that she prefers wholesome Mahone over bad boy Justin Bieber. "Austin is a better influence on teenagers. He's more balanced."
When asked about the Bieber comparison, Mahone, 17, said before the show, "I want people to see that I'm making my own path." He added: "I have a good team around me. My mom is always with me and my best friend. I feel pretty well-rounded."
Mahone denied rumors that he's dating Bieber's old flame Selena Gomez. "It's not true," he said. "We're just friends."
The attractions at #PEPCITY include concerts, chefs whipping up appetizers from PepsiCo products, performances from Broadway musicals and autograph-signing sessions with NFL stars (New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees Thursday.) Latin pop star Prince Royce performs Thursday, with reggae's Ziggy Marley set for Saturday, both at 8 p.m. Concerts are free, but require tickets. Go to pepsico.com for more information.