Recently making waves across the music world has been Jingle Ball, a concert series promoted by iHeartRadio and featuring different lineups of popular performance in almost every major city in the United States. I had the chance to attend the Washington, D.C. concert and it was the most exciting Monday night I’ve ever experienced. The lineup consisted of: Fifth Harmony, Tove Lo, Alessia Cara, Machine Gun Kelly & Camilla Cabello, Ellie Goulding, G-Eazy, Diplo, Daya, DNCE, The Chainsmokers, and a specia appearance by Niall Horan. You won’t normally find me listening to the regular Top 40 radio stations, but I was taken by surprise when I seemed to know every song each artist was playing. Even in the nosebleed seats, the whole arena seemed to be filled with music, and each act engaged the audience in different ways, even with a short amount of time allotted for a few songs.
Up first was Fifth Harmony, who started off the concert well with upbeat songs such as “Worth It” and “That’s My Girl”. As a group, they blended very well and, as their name implies, their harmonies were the main focus of their songs. As I was reminded by a friend recently, I was one of the lucky few that got to see them altogether right before Camilla Cabello left the band, which has been plastered all over the news. Later in the night, Cabello came out as a solo act to sing“Bad Things” with Machine Gun Kelly, which shows how much Cabello has gone to focus on her solo career: Six days after this concert, she left Fifth Harmony.
Grouping Tove Lo and Daya together, there is only one way to characterize them: boring. Although they have decent songs like “Stay High” and “Sit Still, Look Pretty”, they weren’t worth the hype. Granted, they both sing well, but if you’re a singer, that part is a required component. They did nothing beyond going through the motion of singing, and although they spoke to the crowd, it seemed like a lackluster performance on both ends. Pessimism got the best of me as I waited for Alessia Cara to perform; I thought, “Should this be my bathroom break?” But I can happily say I was proven wrong. Her lyrics had messages, and I could tell that if she had more time on stage that’d she’d be a storyteller. She ended with “Here”, which seemed to really get the night moving and Cara made the night go by a lot quicker.
Ellie Goulding had the best performance of the night. I was most familiar with her music and especially her first album, Halcyon. An uproar started when her name was announced, and it was as if the concert hadn’t started until she walked out. Her set consisted of “Anything Could Happen”, “On My Mind”, and “Love Me Like You Do” and were all phenomenal and exceeded my expectations. At the end, the Fifty Shades of Grey hit was full-blown with cannons that shot out pink confetti. G-Eazy came next, and I was secretly hoping he would rap to “You Don’t Own Me”, the cover he was on with the Australian artist Grace. Although I missed out on that track, we were treated to lots of funny moments that included a tad bit of cursing to get the audience fired up.
The fact that it was a Monday night was starting to kick in, and everyone around me was getting a tad tired and bored. As soon as Diplo came out though, he made everyone feel as if we were at a Friday night party. It was a chance to dance to a mix of the hottest and danceable songs including “Juju on that Beat”, “Black Beatles”, and more. It was a time to be loose and crazy, and I didn’t see one single person sitting. It was a highlight of the night and made me question the choices of the DJs at my proms. Niall Horan was a blip in the lineup, but gave a great performance on his own, apart from his One Direction band mates, of his new single “This Town”.
The throwback of the night was DNCE in so many different aspects. Joe Jonas, the front man of the group, was one of the three Jonas Brothers, a Disney group who later expanded and who only officially split up in 2013. For many of us growing up when they became widely popular with hits such as “Year 3000” and “Burnin’ Up, it was crazy to finally see one of the brothers in concert. They took “rockin’ out” to a whole new level with intense guitar and a new take on “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. “Cake By the Ocean” was the end piece with Joe running into the audience (which made me wish I was closer to the stage) and an insane guitar solo. Finally came The Chainsmokers, the closing act. They played their hits “Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down”, with Daya coming back out at the end to sing along. I left the concert on a high and as excited to leave as I was to come.
All in all, it was a solid lineup of pop music that lasted for a good three hours but was totally worth, although I was skeptical going in. Next time it comes around during the holiday season, I’ll be sure to attend.