Star Tribune photos by Renee Jones Schneider
Bravo for iHeartRadio, the much-hyped but little-listened entity of Clear Channel Media. That brand was responsible for the significant upgrade in the production quality of KDWB’s Jingle Ball 2013 on Tuesday at the X.
Giant video screens with live action, slick graphics, flamethrowers, indoor fireworks, confetti cannons and even a revolving stage platform, which made this the most efficient Jingle Ball ever (eight acts in 3 ½ hours, not the usual five-hours-plus).
There was one annoying aspect of the production, though – the playing of TV commercials (like teens care about furnace repairs) instead of music video clips between acts. Leave the commercials (KD DJ Big D’s daughter Hailey may be cute but seeing her seven or 10 times was too much) for the radio – when we can change the channel.
In my review in the paper, there wasn’t much space to discuss anyone beyond Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, the main attractions.
So here are some thoughts on the other acts:
Fifth Harmony, the female vocal quintet from TV’s “X Factor,” displayed nice hair, four quality singers but no charisma. These young women seemed stiff and manufactured.
Austin Mahone, a 17-year-old YouTube sensation from Texas and Justin Bieber wanna-be, manifested more swag than genuine talent.
Accompanied by four dancers but no live musicians, Nickelodeon-launched Ariana Grande (below), wearing a short skirt featuring a holly pattern, came across like a pint-sized Mariah Carey, complete with the breathy,
affected vocal gymnastics but minus the va-voom personna. With her big voice, Grande has potential but, considering that she’s only seven months younger than Cyrus, well, everyone matures at her own pace.
Backed by an eight-person band, Jingle Ball returnee Enrique Iglesias unleashed his sex appeal for a fast-paced 17 minutes of invigorating, Latin-tinged dance-pop.
Fall Out Boy, those emo rockers from Chicago, thrilled the few guys in the arena with "Thanks for the Memories," "The Phoenix" and "Alone Together," though this band is starting to sound more professional than punky.
Flo Rida (below), the hard-working rapper from, of course, Florida, shifted the party into overdrive with such sing-along hits as "Good Feeling" and "Whistle," which featured a dancing, present-delivering Santa Claus, wearing a giant "HoHoHo" pendant. For his finale, Flo removed his shirt to show off his famous tattoos while three dozen Minnesota girls danced around him onstage as he implored them to "Turn Around."