Music Review

Jingle Ball is ordinary pop confection

Kelly Clarkson performs at the Jingle Ball in Lowell last night.
Kelly Clarkson performs at the Jingle Ball in Lowell last night.(Marc Andrew Deley/Crammed Media)

LOWELL - Kiss 108’s Jingle Ball, the radio station’s annual holiday concert, was a mixed bag of hot gimmicks and tested talent looking for fresh footing in the top 40.

Spanning more than four hours last night at the Tsongas Center, Jingle Ball presented Kelly Clarkson, Pitbull, LMFAO, Joe Jonas, Sammy Adams, Demi Lovato, and Cobra Starship. With that lineup, the sold-out house was sure to hear a broad sampling of what bubbles up in the charts.

The biggest downside to the lineup was how one-dimensional most of the acts were. Sure Cobra Starship’s synth pop was catchy, but separating one song from the next was not just hard, but ultimately pointless. That go-with-the flow vibe was strongest in LMFAO’s set. Even though Sky Blu, one of LMFAO’s two principals didn’t show up, his partner Redfoo carried on, and you would have been hard pressed to decide what was missing.

Yet toss together enough acts with different limitations, and the kids end up with a pretty good show.


Joe Jonas stood to own the concert’s first half. Looking for a way to grow beyond the tween scene dominated by the Jonas Brothers, Joe alone is rocking a little harder. Yet his solo outing is as polished as his work with the brothers.

Jonas’s Disney stable mate Lovato is on even rockier ground, shilling lifeless singles with a performance that sounds emotionally tone deaf.

And forget about rapper Sammy Adams, a Web sensation whose live flow is more like a dribble. It was no surprise that Cobra Starship, which has been touring and making records for more than five years, had the most solid performance before intermission.

Clarkson likewise had the strongest musical chops in the concert’s second half. And even though her homey charm bordered on disheveled last night, she delivered the richest musical performance and put some glow into her new material such as “Stronger.’’


LMFAO’s thong-dance finale may have been a bit much for the young crowd. Pitbull closed with a set of infectious beats and charisma (not to be confused with memorable songs).

Scott McLennan can be reached at