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Jingle Ball ruled by One Direction, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, fun.
The theme of this year's Z100's Jingle Ball was stated oh-so-elegantly at the beginning of the nearly four-hour pop music extravaganza by One Direction, though it may have been lost in all the ear-piercing screams.
“Let's go crazy, crazy, crazy til we see the sun,” the British boy band sang in unison, as they drove the crowd into a hopping frenzy. “Tonight, let's get some . . . And live while we're young.”
In case the crowd at Madison Square Garden last night missed it, newly minted Grammy juggernaut fun. turned it into a moving sing-along on their record and song of the year nominee “We Are Young.”
Get it? Young. In 2012, pop music is young — for the young, and, more importantly, by the young. The young artist initiative was out in full force for the show — from the night's 18-year-old headliner Justin Bieber to 22-year-old country princess Taylor Swift to newcomers 21-year-old singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and 19-year-old pop sensation Cher Lloyd. The oldest of the One Direction guys is 20 and the oldest of The Wanted guys is 24. (By the way, Lindsay Lohan was in the house to watch her new friend, The Wanted's Max George again.)
For the most part, they are doing music for their young audience that is directly tailored to them. As the only real rockers of the night, fun. showed how powerful a band can be, with their massive-sounding songs from “Some Nights.” Sheeran was impressive with only an acoustic guitar, delivering his hits “Lego House” and “The A Team” about the struggles of young adulthood, as well as his duet with Swift “Everything Has Changed,” during her set about young love and breakups.
Swift, on the other hand, offered big production numbers, complete with confetti cannons and backup singers and dancers, for songs from her No. 1 album “Red.” Her new single “I Knew You Were Trouble” is well-suited for arenas, while her hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” sounds even better when thousands are screaming along.
For One Direction, of course, fans were not only screaming along, they were just screaming as the group rolled through a short set. Even on the ballad “Little Things,” written for them by Sheeran, the screaming didn't subside.
In a way, it seemed like the only star on the roster who didn't deliver on the young and fun theme was Bieber. He started out well, with elaborate choreography on his upbeat hits “All Around the World” and “Beauty and a Beat.” However, he stayed too long in an acoustic set (perhaps getting fans ready for the acoustic album he has in the works?) that sort of drained the energy at The Garden after four songs.
Of course, Bieber picked it up again during “Boyfriend” and “Baby,” but it seemed like a missed opportunity to go “crazy, crazy, crazy!”
SETLIST: ONE DIRECTION — Live While We're Young / One Thing / Little Things / What Makes You Beautiful // OLLY MURS — Heart Skips a Beat / Troublemaker // TAYLOR SWIFT — State of Grace / You Belong With Me / Everything Has Changed (w/Ed Sheeran) / Love Story / I Knew You Were Trouble / We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together // B.O.B. — Magic / Nothin' on You / Airplanes / So Good / Both of Us (w/Taylor Swift) // FUN. — Some Nights / Carry On / We Are Young // CHER LLOYD — I Want You Back // ED SHEERAN — Lego House / The A Team // THE WANTED — Chasing the Sun / All Time Low / I Found You / Glad You Came // JASON MRAZ — I Won't Give Up / I'm Yours > Three Little Birds / Winter Wonderland // NE-YO — Let's Go / Don't Make 'Em Like You / So Sick / Forever Now / Give Me Everything / Let Me Love You // JUSTIN BIEBER — All Around the World / Beauty and a Beat / Be Alright / Fall / Christmas Eve / Mistletoe / As Long As You Love Me / Boyfriend / Baby
CELEBRITIES SPOTTED: Lindsay Lohan, Kelly Ripa, Christy Turlington Burns, Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber, and Carson Kressley.