Tommy Woodward of Sartell, Minn.:
1 B.J. Thomas and Herman’s Hermits, St. Cloud. These Granite City Days headliners showcased their hits plus a few covers. Peter Noone enthusiastically led a rousing singalong of “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” on a beautiful evening.
2 Cyril Paul, St. John’s University. Not many performers have stood the test of time better than the 88-year old native of Trinidad. His rendition of “Besame Mucho” is always a treat; the beach-side setting on Lake Sagatagan made it even better.
3 NiZHi TT-029 mini-digital portable music player. A 2-inch cube pours out the sound. Excellent for hours of tunes on a flash drive.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Harry Styles, Xcel Energy Center. The ex-One Direction singer showed the moves, panache, wit, spontaneity, voice, command and “it” factor of a rock star. And, oh, those dimples.
2 Sheila Jordan, Crooners. Accompanied by bassist Cameron Brown, the joke-cracking, improv-loving 89-year-old jazz singer charmed with personality, musicality and chemistry.
3 Thomasina Petrus, the Dakota. She took her Billie Holiday show out of the Jungle Theater, and offered back stories and context instead of dialogue. Plus she showcased more songs as well as impressions of Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong.