Better Than: An 8x8 cell of screaming Bieberlites.
Miami might have been abuzz with everything Art Basel on Saturday night, but the BB&T Center had Justin Bieber and everything in between on the brain. Arriving at 5:30 for press check in, fans were coming in droves to ensure they didn't miss one single second of this show. For all the under 18-ers in the house, they were there to hear the people they listen to on Y-100. And all of those acts they have on repeat daily were in the lineup. For any pop music fan, this night should have been a wet dream of sorts. Well, it wasn't.
Let us begin with the fact that we are a pop music fan. Hanson, Backstreet, and N'Sync pratcially raised us from age 8 to 13. We should have loved of this whole evening. As we arrived to arena we were met by a PR girl and escorted to the pressroom that resembled a jail cell of sorts. Let us take that back: Jail has water and the occasional bologna sandwich. We knew we had to get out of there and fast. As we ran, not walked, to the concession stand, we had forgotten a Miller Lite was going to cost us $9. And with hundreds of screaming girls surrounding us, we knew were going to need a few of those things. Goodbye checking account, you were nice while you lasted.
After finding our seats, beer in hand, we took a look at our surroundings. Essentially, we were the only people there not in a Bieber shirt. No, literally. If guardians weren't pilling out the cash for food and beverage, there is a good chance their child was forcing them to purchase a Y-100 Jingle Ball shirt with Justin's face on it. It was very obvious the big sell was JB, which would be pretty ironic about five hours later.
First to hit the stage was the duo, Karmin. Amy Heidmann and Nick Louis Noonan were the perfect choice to put out first. They played their hits, "Broken Hearted" and "Hello." While the problem about coming out number uno is that no one is really there, the hundred some people in the audience were feeling it. And so were we.
Next up, it was time for Cher Lloyd. Just in case you are like the mother sitting next to us who asked "Who is that?," she came to us via Britian's X Factor. Whipping out her hits "Want U Back" and "Oath," she looked terribly bothered to be there. We had more energy and had just spent $25 dollars on a sandwich and beer. Four songs later, there she went. She wasn't missed.
Coming to the middle of the arena was teen heartthrob, Austin Mahone. No, we had no idea who this kid was, but all the screaming ladies did. There is a good chance you know his song, "Say Something," but that's about it. We can't hate though; at 13, we loved N'sync and would have lost our mind for an overzealous tween in what looked like a velour red tracksuit. While we are 99% sure he lip-synced the entire performance, he got lots of ladies training bras in a total twist.
Next up was Neon Trees. You might not be able to pick them out of a lineup, but you have danced in your car to their jams "Animal" and "Everybody Talks." We had four favorite performances of the night and they were one of them. Honestly, who doesn't love a kickass girl drummer?
To make us feel extremely old at 25, two nice young gals named Megan & Liz took the middle of the arena. No, we had no idea who they were and we questioned their baby prostitute-like stockings. But, we judge too soon. While lots of kids sit home and post YouTube videos, their vids actually got them a record contract. They played a couple of covers, their biggest single, "Bad for Me" and whipped out the guitar to show they really do have some talent. But we wont lie, at this point, the boredom starting to set in. Then, here came OneRepublic.
For the gaggle of men, they have been dominating this station for years. In retrospect, their set should have been terribly boring. Lets be honest, most of their songs reference heartbreak and/or sadness of some kind. But lead singer Ryan Tedder killed it. Not leaving one inch of the stage untouched, they played their hits "Apologize", "Secrets" and "Feel Again"; a single that is helping raise money for Save The Children. Good looking, they give back and they were the first band to come out into the audience? We loved.
Perhaps you have heard of the DJ Zedd? You have definitely heard his song "Spectrum" featuring Matthew Koma. Well, he took over center arena. He looks mildly like the kid who would serve your coffee at Starbucks, so we didn't expect much. Let us say it simply that the kid killed it. Laser beams and all, most of the babies in the audience were having their very first fist pump.
So while every is coming off a music high, the staged began to look dark and music videos started to play. Was something wrong? Yes, as we overheard from the sound guy. The artists were running late. Like 30 minutes each late. It was going to be a late night.
After commercials, videos, and God knows what else, Ireland's own Ed Sheeran hit center stage. Imagine if Dave Matthews and Twista had a baby - it would him. This fire crotch played his crowd favorite, "Give Me Love" and fans should expect to see a lot more of him. He and his red hair are hitting the road with Taylor Swift in 2013.
What felt like 19,340 acts later, our boredom had gone from bad to genuinely horrific. We wouldn't say we were as bored as we were on the way to being over it. Note to Y-100: cut some acts down next time. Luckily, Enrique Iglesias was there to save the day. He could have come out and read his mail and every lady in the joint would have died of pure joy. For the first time of the night, a large screen was projecting lyrics of his songs, confetti was flying and smoke machines were pumping out gas making it look like a Snoop Dog tour bus. Thank you, Enrique. Thank you for making this whole evening worthwhile.
And another big shout out to Mr. "Gangnam Style" Psy. Sure, he danced his one and only jam, but it did get the entire stadium up and dancing. Also to hear him say that he "apprectiable America's support" was pretty life changing.
Another beer and 10 music videos later, Afrojack took the stage. Well, he placed himself of the stage. His speakers weren't working and it took the sound guy about five minutes back in action. We will go ahead and speak for everyone there: Zedd was better.
And all of a sudden, something in the air changed. Something was coming and yep, it was Justin Bieber. The screams ensued and how do we explain? Well, girls lost their shit. Essentially, our eardrums were busted. "Thank you for coming guys. Sorry, I am sick," he announced to the crowd, lollypop in mouth. "Here comes Ke$ha!" he explained. Yep, that was it. When you are Mr. Bieber, you get paid thousands upon thousand of dollars to come out once. "That is IT" every toddler around me asked. It was. IF you ask us, a half-ass appearance cures Bieber Fever.
Speaking of Ke$sha, she was another personal favorite for us. Sure, she is a hot mess, but her costumes, makeup, backup dancers, and everything else was pretty to die. It was almost as if she went to iTunes, saw her top five most purchased and played them. Tell us you haven't danced to "Blow" or "Tik Tok?" Oh yeah, you cant. If we could ask one thing of her it would be to please, please give up the baby voice. Please.
Then came time for the headliner, Flo Rida. In the year 2012, we have somehow seen him three times. Sure, he puts on a great show. He has high energy, the light show is always Ultra-like and he took his shirt off which no lady will ever complain about. Perhaps we are jaded, but we're over him. If we hear "Whistle" or "Wild One" more one time, we might Flo a bullet right through our head.
So, If you know any young lady that attended the Y-100 Jingle Ball concert this weekend, stop what you're doing, and give them a call. There is a good chance that little heart of theirs is broken. For any parent that was forced to bring them, you should probably show them some loves as well. There is a good chance their bank account, along with their patience, is broken.
The Crowd: Thirteen-something tweens, chaperones and a couple of too-old-to-be-there guys that had matching shirts that read "Man Whore."
The Best: Zedd, Enrique Iglesias, Ke$ha, and Psy
The Worst: Justin Bieber and his lack of presence.
Conclusion: This was officially the longest concert of life.
- Sheila Roberts