Kiss FM’s Jingle Ball is the type of event concert-goers look forward to all year long. The perfect kick-off to the Holiday season, Jingle Ball consistently features the most sought-after artists across a range of genres—a little something for everyone. This year was no exception.
Show openers Fifth Harmony—veterans of Simon Cowell’s X-Factor, and pieced together by the man himself—brought with them the enthusiasm of the young, with talent beyond their years. Dinah, Camila, Lauren, Normani, and Ally kept their harmonies tight, impressing even the most skeptical of listeners.
Between performances, Jingle Ball kept their audience engaged with video teasers featuring Ryan Seacrest and a range of artists, as well as music videos. With a revolving stage saving time during change-overs, the energy in the arena did not have a chance to ebb before act two, Icona Pop, took the stage.
What is there to say about Icona Pop? The duo from Sweden owned the stage, thrilling the crowd with their single I Love It. If you have not heard it, you have definitely been hiding under a rock somewhere. It is impossible not to sing along to this one.
On stage next was none other than Austin Mahone. He has a face like Bieber and the catchy choruses to give the fallen-from-grace teen king a run for his money. Mahone’s smooth vocals drew in listeners of all ages, and not one person was in their seat for the duration of his performance.
No strangers to large arena shows, Paramore kicked off their set in true, veteran style. Getting the crowd on their feet and moving. They even made dreams come true. Fan Grace was pulled up on stage to join frontwoman Hayley Williams for the end of Misery Business. Grace will not soon forget the night she stood on stage with Paramore, microphone in hand, belting the lyrics to what is likely now her favorite song.
Interacting with a crowd in an arena can be intimidating, especially for a band like New Politics who have spent the majority of their career thus far performing to smaller club audiences. On Sunday they made it look as effortless as breathing. Who could resist singing along, not only to Harlem, but also to their newest single Tonight You’re Perfect? Even making time for a dance break, New Politics kept the crowd going until the last note faded.
Travie McCoy, probably best known for Billionaire, his collaboration with Bruno Mars, is one of the most down to earth stars of his caliber. Prior to his performance, I had a moment to ask Travie about the differences performing solo versus with his group, Gym Class Heroes, he admitted “The first couple solo shows were definitely strange. Looking around and not seeing the same guys I’ve been on stage with since ’97 was a bit awkward. It was like wearing a different pair of shoes other than the ones I’ve been wearing for twelve years, but I got used to it really quick.” It is clear while watching him that this is nothing but the truth. McCoy knows how to work the stage, and he wears those solo shoes like the pro he is.
Despite her barely there costume and grown up dance moves, there is something decidedly innocent about Selena Gomez. The younger crowd and their parents were out in droves to see the former-Wizards of Waverly Place star. Clearly well-rehearsed, not one single spontaneous moment occurred as Gomez and her troupe of ten background dancers churned out a flawless performance.
Flo Rida does not just rap, or sing, or play music. Flo Rida entertains. With back up singers dressed as an elf and Mrs. Claus, and a man to carry out a diamond-crusted whistle for the hit song of the same name. Even Santa himself made an appearance, carrying Flo Rida around the floor to greet his adoring crowd. Not to be outdone by a pop/punk band, Flo Rida invited up a group of fans to dance—which quickly turned into an uncomfortable, and hilarious, twerking party.
Finally, it was time. Fall out Boy took the stage, delivering a solid 25 minutes of high-energy pop/punk. Opening with the songs that catapulted them into the top 40, Dance, Dance and Sugar, We’re goin’ Down, Fall Out Boy kept their momentum by quickly launching into song after song, squeezing as much as they could into their short set.
Before the show, I had a chance to ask about their editing process. With a catalogue as vast as Fall Out Boy’s, something is always left out, “It’s really hard,” Patrick Stump (vocals/guitar) admitted, “we actually were arguing about that not ten minutes ago.” Andy Hurley (drums) helpfully added, “We have a funky, wonderful, funderful machine that does it.” While Pete Wentz (bass) concluded with, “What we do is we just play everything twice as fast. You know, everybody kinda misses out and hears a song they don’t want to hear.”
Closing the show with their come-back single My Songs Know What You did in the Dark, Fall Out Boy was the perfect book end for a perfect night.