JINGLE BALL: AN INCOHESIVE EXTRAVAGANZA
Along with the other 19,580 attendees, I was able to attend iHeart Radio’s Jingle Ball this holiday season, and I was underwhelmed.
When I got my tickets, I was immediately curious about what the demographic would look like. The line-up was no indication, with artists ranging from Tik Tok sensation Jax to the 1990s pop group the Backstreet Boys. Once I arrived, I noticed the two main age groups: a plethora of young tweens dispersed around women in their 40s and 50s, not appearing to be with any children.
Both up-and-coming artist Niky Youre and Tik Tok sensation Jax had great energy but had the older crowd sitting and the younger crowd dancing. The adults around me were unamused, and the atmosphere became disjointed.
However, when former Disney star Dove Cameron entered the stage, she immediately changed the energy in the arena with her overly sexualized movements and references that went right over the tween audience's head but right to the flight or fight side of their parents. It caught everyone’s attention, but not always in the best way.
Singer Tate McRae had the young audience belting their hearts out, including me. She often took breaks to perform intricate choreography, where she held her own alongside highly skilled dancers. She might have impressed the older crowd but mostly entertained the teens.
It wasn’t until former America’s-sweetheart-turned-punk-rocker Demi Lavato graced the stage that almost everyone got up on their feet with the performance of her classic songs like “Heart attack.” Even the women who only came to see the Backstreet Boys finally found themselves up and dancing alongside the younger crowd.
After Jack Harlow, who was most memorable when he appreciatively interacted with his fans, most of the young audience was ready to go. Still, the women who had spent most of the concert sitting energetically rose again when the massive set for the Backstreet Boys was wheeled on stage. Most of the Boys are in their forties, but they were energetic and well choreographed. It was comical seeing these grown men, most likely with older children, making classic boy band moves and singing as if their high school girlfriends had broken up with them. The younger crowd dispersed mid-way through their set, proving that the Jingle Ball needs to narrow its age range.
With such a variety of ages, no performance was celebrated to its full potential by the audience, with different age groups taking turns sitting and standing. I would not recommend the Jingle ball, with its awkward energy shifts and confusing line-up.