Five Must-See Acts of Jingle Ball 2014

Five Must-See Acts of Jingle Ball 2014
Photo by Sayre Berman

As children ready themselves for the tinkling of Santa's sleigh bells, tweens, their pop-obsessed older siblings, and crop-top-wearing parents are anticipating another kind of holiday sound: the upbeat jazziness of Pharrell Williams' "Happy" performed live.

Jingle Ball is ringing its way into town again and bringing a slew of new acts with it. We're talking popular music at its broadest, presented in a massive arena with glow sticks for the kiddies and double vodka sodas for the oldies. There's Calvin Harris' electronic dance beats, the frat-rap of Jake Miller, and the crooning of British sensation Jessie J.

But this Y100- and iHeartRadio-hosted event has more in store than the above-named stars. Proceeds from the show benefit the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, which builds media centers in hospitals to help heal the sick through music. And on this December 21 at the BB&T Center, after the tour has traveled through L.A., New York, and Chicago, you can catch these five must-see acts at the 2014 edition of Jingle Ball.

See also: Ariana Grande Is Adorable in This Elementary School Yearbook Photo

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1. Jason Derulo

Jason Derulo is the guy who sings the strange-sounding song that has both your girl's booty poppin' hard and your little nephew wobbling with total glee. Yes, that song is "Wiggle." Snoop Dogg's rhymes make it a boner-fide hit, but these days, Derulo is simply ruling the world of weird R&B melodies. Think about his "Talk Dirty" tune featuring 2 Chainz -- it sounds like something that was performed at a pre-WWII Romanian bar mitzvah. Your mind's telling you no, but your body, your body is telling you yes.

 

2. Ariana Grande

Can you name one Ariana Grande song? If you're over the age of 25, you probably cannot. However, you know her name, and you know her impressive vocal range, even if you can't decipher a word she's belting out. But she's a local Fort Lauderdale gal with an impressively high ponytail that cannot and will not be ignored. Maybe she'll even team up with our next pick for the single "Problem" on the BB&T stage.

3. Iggy Azalea

Don't know about you, but Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea seems like the kind of gal we want to chill with. She handled all the shade Nicki Minaj may or may not have thrown her way at the BET Awards with class. If you survived growing up in a country with the most dangerous, venomous creatures on the planet, we're pretty sure you can make it in the hip-hop game no matter what.

 

4. Charli XCX

This leads us to Charli XCX. Her song with Azalea, "Fancy," had the longest Hot 100 run of any female rapper ever. Without Charli's pretty pipes, we're sure the song wouldn't have been as much of a hit.

She recently told us about working with the above two young musical ladies: "I think it's a great time to be a woman in music right now. Girls are owning the charts. The media tries to pin us against each other, and we are saying, 'Look, we are doing it our way.' I love collaborating with these amazing women." Case closed.

5. Pharrell Williams

Pharrell has been on our iPods since he was with N.E.R.D. And now he's got an obsessed following around the world recording its own fan videos to his oh-so-very-catchy song "Happy." You definitely know all the words (or you should; there's like three lines), and you'll sing along, and it will make you goddamned happy.

Fingers crossed he wears the Smokey the Bear hat and comes out carrying an Arby's French dip in one hand and a mic in the other.

Y100's Jingle Ball 2014 with Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, and others. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 21, at BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise. Tickets cost $51 to $251 plus fees. Call 954-835-8000, or visit ticketmaster.com.

Follow Liz Tracy on Twitter.

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