At any Christmas party you’ll want two things: a heaping of snow and a visit from a magical guest. Since Santa didn’t have a single out this year, a decidedly naughty elf, Miley Cyrus, was meant to deliver at the KISS 108 Jingle Ball. Unfortunately a big heaping of the white stuff stymied her travel plans.
Fifth Harmony (there are five of them singing in harmony) opened with a lightly choreographed set of sparkle motion belting on songs like “Miss Moving On.” Robin Thicke’s two songs, that one song, and then that other one there, were likable, if brief. “I wonder who Miley’s going to twerk on tonight? It ain’t gonna be me,” he said. Thicke pointed out that he began making music at age 11, “the same age as some of y’all out there” — this by way of introducing his song about good girls who are really bad deep down.
Fall Out Boy sprinted through five hits, including “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up),” whose hook was boomed by thousands of backup vocalists. “Light em up,” they chanted, “I’m on fire,” which is how the pyrotechnician knew to press the button on the flames.
KISS 108 Jingle Ball, With Enrique Iglesias, Paramore, Flo Rida, Fall Out Boy, Selena Gomez, Robin Thicke, Fifth Harmony
Flo Rida got the crowd moving with the hip-hop, pop-house club-bangers “Club Can’t Handle Me,” “Wild One,” and “Whistle.” “Can you blow my whistle, baby?” he asked, which was a metaphor of some kind. Joining the rapper was black Santa Claus, (alert Fox News!), and vocalist StayC Reign, who carried the set with her vocal prowess.
Selena Gomez’s “Love You Like a Love Song,” the single-dumbest lyric in an irresistibly lovable song, was a highlight, as was her effortlessly windblown hair. Gomez held the distinction of being the only performer of the night not drenched in sweat. Is she human? Maybe. One thing is certain, however, either she doesn’t really sing like that, or she doesn’t really speak like that. Power-pop-punk band Paramore fell relatively flat for the crowd, save for their striving acoustic ballad “The Only Exception” “You’re at a rock ’n’ roll show now,” singer Hayley Williams said, although it wasn’t clear whom she was speaking to. Enrique Iglesias, the indomitable veteran showman, (who also has a dubstep ballad apparently), closed out the night with a run through his hits such as “Tonight (I’m Loving You)” and “I Like It.” Surprisingly, the last one felt about right.
Luke O’Neil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.