106.1 Kiss Jingle Ball Review & Gallery

Published on January 2nd, 2014

Robin Thicke on his Grand Piano at Jingle Ball. More photos from the show at the bottom of the page.

This December marked the return of The Jingle Ball to DFW. It’s been a long time since 106.1 KISS FM KHKS had put on a Christmas show and this year the line up and venue were a massive upgrade from years past. About ten years ago was the last KISS FM Christmas concert I can remember aptly named The Kissmass Ball. It took place at Six Flags Over Texas and was headlined by Avril Lavigne and Destiny’s Child, also appearing was American Idol Runner Up Justin Guarini and a very much unknown at the time local act Ryan Cabrera.

My how things have changed. This year’s concert was at American Airlines Center and consisted of an A list line up of all the hottest hit makers on top 40 radio in 2013. The line up included the likes of Robin Thicke, Selena Gomez, Pitbull, FloRida, Enrique Iglesias, Austin Mahone, Ariana Grande, Jason Derulo, One Republic and Fifth Harmony. That’s ten massive acts.

I was wondering how they were going to pull off the show in a mere four hours. The answer to that was, a turntable stage and sets from each act that contained about 4 or 5 songs. For some people that’s all they want to hear. That leaves the hits and not room for much more than that. It’s a great way to keep the audience engaged but a terribly tragedy to any musicality that a few of these acts possess.

But if you’re the type of person who loves the sampler platter in music form, a show like the jingle ball is exactly what you’d enjoy. It gives you the best of the biggest names and none of that sitting through the obscure songs you likely didn’t care about. It’s kind of a tease though if you’re a fan of one the musicians involved and you’re going solely to see them. You pay for a ticket (or if you’re lucky you won your way in,) you pay to park, you pay 10 bucks for a drink, and then the musician you came to see is only on stage for 20 minutes.

That said I’ve enjoyed Robin Thicke since his “A Beautiful World” days. I miss that funk vibe his first album had. But I don’t know that I’d want to see a whole show full of songs from his newer albums that I only feel luke warm about. Sometimes 5 songs is more than enough.

However an act like Enrique deserves more than a 20 minute set, he’s been around so long and sells out venues the size of American Airlines Center regularly.

Then you have the newcomer’s like Ariana Grande. That girl has some pipes on her. I’m not usually wrong when it comes to judging high caliber vocal talent and she’s got it. She is in a vocal league with the big guns like Mariah. I’m sure she hears that all the time, but it’s rooted in absolute truth. If she wants a huge music career it’s there for the taking. I would have loved to hear more from her, but I don’t think she has enough of a catalog yet to warrant more than 20 minutes on stage.

But let’s face the truth. I love shows like the Jingle Ball, but this line up was too massive. In years past I got to see NSYNC (yeah I still love them) do a full 90 minute set at a End of Summer Radio show, I watched Pink perform for about 40 minutes at a Jingle Ball, Destiny’s Child perform for a solid hour. But while those were great examples of great artist introduced at radio shows with long sets, you can still have the bad. For example, The Baha Men (WHO LET THE DOGS OUT) performed for 45 minutes and did their hit song twice because they didn’t have enough material. I guess that’s the other option.

But I will be forever the optimist that I might just see an act I really enjoy at a big ensemble show like Jingle Ball. The stand out act for me this time was Jason Derulo, who kicked the night off and set the bar so high it wasn’t going to be passed. I never really cared much for Derulo’s music, but he puts on such a wonderful high energy show. He makes it easy to have a good time and that’s truly what it’s about when you go to a show. A good time.

Some snotty critics will tell you that going to a show is about music changing your life or hearing a prolific piece of music. That can happen from time to time at show, there will be a moment that a musician will play a song that just connects. However at the end of the day it’s about getting your dollars worth and leaving feeling like you had a blast or saw something great. I think every person who went to the Jingle Ball got just that.



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