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Z100's Jingle Ball 2016


Z100's Jingle Ball 2016

Nathan Armstrong

Photo credit: Getty Images for iHeart

Well, it’s officially holiday season as iHeart Jingle Ball is sweeping the states and truly proving it’s the greatest time of the year. Madison Square Garden was packed out on Friday night for New York City’s big show, and everything from the lineup to the guest appearances to the surprise performances made it feel like Christmas was here three weeks early. 

To start the show right, Fifth Harmony brought their super sassy A game to the stage and successfully hyped up the crowd for the four-hour night of excitement lying ahead. Lukas Graham showed up next, giving a heartfelt performance of “7 years” as well as singing tributes to his father from the Jingle Ball stage. 

Miss Ellie Goulding arrived on stage next in glowing purple lights and gave the incredible live show that she never fails to deliver. Ellie’s voice is unlike any other and hearing it live is always such a treat, especially during “Love Me Like You Do” which, I swear you can always see her performing straight from her heart. 

Bringing the party to MSG, Diplo hyped up the crowd next with an actual electronic Christmas dance party. Daya performed her hits “Sit Still, Look Pretty” and “Hide Away” before Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello and Machine Gun Kelly surprised the MSG crowd with an unannounced performance of their hot new collaboration “Bad Things”, and it was easily one of my top 5 favorite songs of the night.  
Niall Horan showed up on stage (all smiles and perfectly messed up hair) with his trusty acoustic guitar strapped around him. New to the solo stage, you could see the excitement and gratitude sparkling in his eyes before he performed his wildly successful new single “This Town”, a tune that the whole crowd knew. Promising more next time, Niall stepped off and made way for another one of my favorites of the night- DNCE. 

DNCE is the group you can not look away from. Their stage presence is mesmerizing and their songs are just so dang catchy that you’re 100% theirs from the second they step on the stage until the second they leave it. On this particular night, we got to hear DNCE’s version of The Spice Girl’s “Wannabe”, which is obviously everyone’s dream come true. Joe Jonas sprinted down the aisles during their last song of the night “Cake by The Ocean”, finishing the show from the very back section of Madison Square Garden. 

We were treated to a special Christmas gift from this mad crazy clan of amazing artists as several of them (DNCE, Charlie Puth, Fifth Harmony, Rita Ora, just to name a few), all shared the stage to sing some jolly Christmas songs and absolutely fill the room with holiday spirit. 

Charlie Puth then had the stage to himself and went on to give my favorite performance of the night. Charlie Puth is an incredible young artist and I was genuinely blown away by the amount of talent that was spilling from the stage during his performance. Without even a glance down at the keys, he flawlessly performed his hits “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “One Call Away.” His talent has never been in question, but he really showed up at iHeart Jingle Ball. He has such a powerful voice and an amazing connection to his music. It was truly enchanting…’tis the season. 

The night was winding down, but the crowd was on the edge of their seats anxious for the final few acts. Ariana Grande pranced out on stage in her fluffy coat and earmuffs and performed “Dangerous Woman” and “Into You” before singing songs from her holiday album “Christmas & Chill.” 

It was down to the last two of the night, and The Chainsmokers delivered the show everyone was waiting for. So much energy was coming from the stage during this duo’s set, I always love how excited they look to be up there. Best part of their performance- the mashup of Coldplay’s “Yellow” into “Don’t Let Me Down,” bringing out Daya out to help; it was amazing. Of course, they performed “Roses” and “Closer” for the crowd, that in return spent the entire set jumping so hard the actual floors were moving.

Justin Bieber was the final act, and after watching him hug every one of his dancers and witnessing the Bieber team huddle and prayer backstage, I knew it’d be the perfect end to the night. Bieber was ready to get on stage before The Chainsmokers had even finished their set, and when it was his turn he jumped on stage with the most excitement and enthusiasm I’d seen all night. He started with “Where Are You Now” and tons of incredible choreography, and then spent some time with the audience and his guitar for a few acoustic songs, including “Cold Water.”

iHeart Jingle Ball in New York City is definitely one of the most awaited events of the year, and this night proved why. It was an incredible show packed out with Christmas spirit. A great way to welcome the season, and and awesome way to end the year! Thanks for an incredible night, iHeart Radio!

- @Emilee