Perry and Iglesias shine at Kiss 108’s Jingle Ball

A review of the Kiss 108 Jingle Ball at the Tsongas Center on December 9, 2010

, Managing Editor

It may be called “Jingle Ball” but Kiss 108’s annual holiday concert really isn’t a holiday concert at all. Instead, the local Top 40 station spreads plenty of cheer with a lineup of current hitmakers. This year’s show boasted a collection of pop and hip-hop stars with enough talent to likely fill the Garden but, with the Bruins playing, took their talents to Lowell’s Tsongas Center instead. So, the town that was recently graced with the glitz of Hollywood thanks to “The Fighter” premiere also hosted some of the world’s biggest music stars as well with the likes of Katy Perry, Enrique Iglesias, Taio Cruz, B.O.B, and more stopping in the Mill City last Thursday.

Although she appeared midway through the show, Katy Perry was the clear headliner, playing the lengthiest and most theatrical set. Perry appeared dressed like some sort of Lady Cane in a skin-tight peppermint themed outfit, emerging from a giant Christmas present in the center of her winter wonderland-like set. With Nutcracker-inspired backup dancers and her band in shimmering platinum suits, Perry put on quite the festive performance. Her band rocked a Trans-Siberian Orchestra-esque intro to set opener “Hot N’ Cold” but the holiday spirit reached its peak as she closed her show with “California Gurls” while her backup dancers donned Santa suits.

The other performers played less-flashy sets, which was no surprise as Perry is more known for playing dress-up. Although Perry’s set was the grandest, the highlight of the night came via Enrique Iglesias, as he brought some of his famous Latin heat to the night’s proceedings. While Iglesias seems to have had a musical rebirth destined for the dancefloor, he thrilled fans young and old with his classic “Hero”. Although he awkwardly introduced his intentions to bring a fan onstage for the tune by asking “Who’s over 18?!”, his gauche phrasing was quickly forgotten when he melted the heart of a middle-aged mom as he sang the ballad to her centerstage and topped it off with the kiss heard ‘round the arena. In an effort to outdo himself, Enrique and his band amped things up for his fist pumping club staple “I Like It” that created as much buzz as the aforementioned smooch.

The rest of the evening played as smooth as Iglesias, with the short 20-25 minute sets pandering perfectly to the young, hit-thirsty concert-goers as fans were treated to the performers’ best, rather than album cuts or B-sides. The show also went off without a hitch as the breaks between sets were certainly bearable, even with Kiss 108 DJs killing time with mostly pointless banter between performances.

Kiss proved how well they know their audience as they scheduled the biggest names to hit the stage before it got too late (it was a school night), kept the kids entertained with a t-shirt gun, and featured pre-taped videos from stars like Jack Black and Jesse McCartney. Still, even after Katy Perry and Enrique had departed there was a near-capacity crowd who stuck around for show-closer Jay Sean.

Not to be forgotten, Shontelle and Selena Gomez kicked off the night’s festivities with quick hit-fueled sets of their own.

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