Concert Reviews

Jingle Ball Featured Every Pop Star a Teenage Heart Could Desire

106.1 KISS FM Jingle Ball
With Demi Lovato, Calvin Harris, One Direction and more
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Every teenager you have ever known was at Tuesday’s Jingle Ball hosted by iHeartRadio and KISS FM at American Airlines Center. The teen girls — there were, like, six boys — were loud and proud and ecstatic at the thought of seeing pop star god Harry Styles in the flesh and then Snapchatting it to all their friends.

These teens were so hungry for pop stars that seats behind the stage were sold. Yes, there were actual people sitting behind the actual stage, where they couldn’t see (or probably hear) anything, just so they could be in the same vicinity as today’s biggest pop stars.

Who could blame them? The Jingle Ball hosted 10 of today’s biggest pop acts. 5 Seconds of Summer, DNCE, Zedd, Charlie Puth, Ellie Goulding, Tove Lo, Shawn Mendes, One Direction, Calvin Harris and Demi Lovato all played the sold-out show.

The lineup was nothing short of impressive. Each act played about four to six songs and the transition from act to act was effortless, with a rotating stage that housed two stages at once.

If the crowd felt like a giant high school party (the girl next to me told me she would be staying up late because she was a junior in high school, so she could do that), then the night’s entertainers were high school royalty. Two of Taylor Swift’s exes (Harry Styles of One Direction and Joe Jonas of DNCE), as well as her current boyfriend (Harris), were featured in the lineup. Lovato and Jonas once dated and starred in Disney Channel’s Camp Rock together. There was also that rumor that Goulding and Niall Horan of One Direction participated in a romantic fling.

The crowd heard all of their favorite pop songs from the past year. DJ Zedd played Magic!'s "Rude," Puth played "See You Again," Tove Lo brought her monster hit, "Talking Body," and Goulding played "On My Mind" and "Love Me Like You Do." The setlist was everything a teenage girl — or adult for that matter — could want.

However, the highlight of the night was easily One Direction. It was the band the radio hosts/emcees kept teasing all night; they were the ones on the posters the teenaged girls carried around; they were the driving marketing force behind the show. So why in Harry Style’s name did the biggest boy band in the world not perform last? They were third to last, with Harris and Lovato following them. Maybe they had a plane to catch? Maybe they were tired and wanted to go to sleep? Maybe they wanted to hurry up and get it over with to drink beer and do other rock star things on the bus?

Either way, with One Direction not closing the show, it felt odd. In fact, a noticeable herd of people left once the boys were finished with their set. After dancing and singing and jumping up and down, people were tired. They wanted to go home and sleep. They used all their energy singing “What Makes You Beautiful.” So when a few minutes later, Harris appeared to perform his DJ set, it was weird. It felt similar to the end of a party where everyone knows it’s over, but that one party frat guy just can’t let it go and is still trying to make something happen. Poor Harris was left with that task. All the confetti and firecrackers in the world just couldn’t make it work.

But even with the awkward lull in the set with Harris following One Direction, Colleyville native Lovato was able to pick things back up for the remaining crowd. She told the audience how she saw Christina Aguilera in 2007 in the same arena and as she watched Aguilera, she turned around to face the crowd and silently hoped that one day she would play that same arena.

It was a special night for Lovato, which was clear from her performance and her gratitude toward the audience. She performed her newest track “Confident,” from the album of the same name, as well as “Cool For the Summer” and “Stone Cold,” a soulful song that shows off Lovato’s perfect vocal chops. It’s time music fans start taking her seriously.

Lineup from opening to closing:
5 Seconds of Summer
Charlie Puth
Ellie Goulding
Tove Lo
Shawn Mendes
One Direction
Calvin Harris
Demi Lovato
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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner

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