Selena Gomez Rocks 3 Sexy Looks at Jingle Ball in NYC, Reunites With Zedd and …

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Demi Lovato Falls Onstage at Jingle Ball Concert During Live-Streamed Show.

When Madison Square Garden hosts radio’s biggest acts of 2015—Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Nick Jonas—we brave the sea of shrieking tweens to judge the state of pop music.The “Hands To Myself” singer stunned in a long-sleeve black minidress with black boots, later telling Z100 — the radio station that hosted the event — that she had “so much fun” performing with her ex. Z100 and iHeartRadio’s annual star-studded Christmas concert, the Jingle Ball, wasn’t just loud in the way that old people groan about when amongst youths and out past 9 p.m. Just a year ago, who would have guessed that the druggy narrator of dark, despondent sex stories, the Weeknd, would close out a family-friendly pop show with radio edits of his multiple Number One hits?

He sang familiar radio hits like Can’t Feel My Face and The Hills in front of the feverish crowd, as did Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez, Charlie Puth, Fifth Harmony and Shawn Mendes. Demi Lovato took a major spill onstage while performing at Z100 iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball in NYC on Friday, Dec. 11, but the pop star brushed off the mishap like a pro. Toward the end of her 20-minute set, Lovato, 23, was strutting her stuff across the stage when she tripped over a mic stand that was lying on the ground behind her. The cameras, which captured every moment of the live-streamed concert, happened to cut away just at that moment, though the “Cool for the Summer” singer was clearly on her back with arms flailing when the cameras focused on the stage once more. “It’s not intentional and that’s what’s awesome — people see it,” she said upon receiving the award. “I’m excited to show people you can be yourself and people will appreciate it.”

The surprising paths to fame gave weight to a line-up which presented a five-hour marathon of music and screaming girls who began their night with a shot of energy in the form of 5 Seconds of Summer. The teen dreams were an early kick in the groin, playing their biggest hit to date, “She Looks So Perfect,” before powering through singles off their sophomore LP, Sounds Good Feel Good, and mulling over the fact that in a year, they will have headlined the iconic Garden on their own during their 2016 tour. City, Charlie Puth and Conrad Sewell took the stage to the night’s most tepid responses — though the audience lit up for Puth’s mega-hit “See You Again” and when R.

City played the hits they had written for other people, like Miley’ Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and Rihanna’s “Pour It Up.” Following was DNCE, Joe Jonas’ new funk-pop band that’s still finding its audience but has no problem putting on an excellent stage show. But watching the rise of the likes of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Nick Jonas, a trio of radio stars who traded in their mouse ears to produce pleasantly appealing pop music, I wondered: Are they this generation’s version of now-iconic artists Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake? The band was pure fire for a three-song set that devolved into blissful chaos during single “Cake by the Ocean” when a sea of dancing Santas were welcomed on-stage. The parallels are there: Disney stars who married themselves to smart producers, who in turn helped announce them as all-grown-up purveyors of pop earworms.

Bassist Cole Whittle, wearing what appeared to be JNCO shorts, played his instrument on the back of one Santa while Jonas ran deep into the audience, performing from the 100s section before “We Are the Champions” closed them out. Zedd came first, getting single “Beautiful Now” out of the way before playing his many radio hits, including “Break Free,” “Stay the Night” and “Clarity.” He welcomed fellow performer Selena Gomez out for their hit collaboration “I Want You to Know.” Later in the evening, Harris brought just as much energy and drops as he transformed a pop concert into EDC. After Hailee Steinfeld celebrated her 19th birthday with a pair of singles, the year’s biggest teen heartthrob, Shawn Mendes, was welcomed to the stage by some of the night’s loudest cheers. The former, it turns out, is an Australian second coming of Blink-182 who sings lyrics about American Apparel underwear and rips hooks off Duran Duran.

Nick Jonas could have easily headlined the evening as the youngest Jonas Brother has continuously proven to be an assured and strong solo performer with a lovable but sexy stage presence. Tove Lo sang her hit “Talking Body,” which was very sexual, I thought, for the young audience around me, one member of which was far too infantile to be sleepily gyrating in her seat in such a manner of bored routine. She tripped and fell as she exited the stage but cooly played off the moment adding on to a goofy, Demi Next Door persona that the speech had previously established.

The string of final performers — Fifth Harmony, Lovato, Harris and the Weeknd — were a taste-test in themselves of what the year has been: a mishmash of pop’s endless possibilities that has allowed the sound of Top 40 to mean pretty much anything that can connect. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Victoria Ruiz and Joey DeFrancesco, lead singer and guitarist of the most exciting punk band in America today, Downtown Boys, are eating pizza before a show in their hometown of Providence and discussing the finer points of Internet policy. “We really need to connect on-the-ground policing with Internet surveillance and the criminalization of the Internet and think of it all as the police state, and state violence,” Ruiz says as The X-Files plays on the TV overhead.

For those tired of living in a country where it’s OK to give equal weight to #AllLivesMatter and to consider abortion a crime, where hourly workers are expected to be grateful for the scraps they get and never ask for more, and where xenophobia and gun culture have blurred together with patriotism, you’ve got two choices for public events: a Bernie Sanders rally or a Downtown Boys show, and Victoria Ruiz is a better public speaker. The Providence band’s two LPs, a 2012 self-titled effort and this year’s Full Communisim, are galvanizing blasts, but seeing Downtown Boys live electrifies every nerve.

There are a few elements at play here: the abrasive horn section of Adrienne Berry and Emmett Fitzgerald, drummer Norlan Olivo’s manic abilities, which often lead to his standing on his drum kit as the crowd lifts the two of them together. They also repeatedly told a story about writing their hit, “Would You Still Love Me the Same,” after their father went to jail, and I quote, “for weed.” The song was great.

But chief among them are Ruiz’s introductions to songs, which feel like Amy Goodman channelling X-Ray Spex’ Poly Styrene, Ta-Nehisi Coates meeting Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye. Little girls danced to it around me with very large smiles on their faces, which might have been off-tone following that “for weed” story but who am I to judge. She talks about the slave trade, pointing out the markers and businesses that made up the transactional components of America’s original sin, connects these corporations to modern-day landlords and the police, draws these institutions into whatever room they’re playing, and then encourages their destruction through song. The crowd inevitably explodes into a physical manifestation of these anthems, slamming against each other in the type of solidarity where they know, they truly know, that in the fight against invisible and violent superstructures, they’re the ones who will win. Yet here are Ruiz and DeFrancesco, eating pizza, drawing a direct line from the late Aaron Swartz’s work on the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2012 to their performances.

People started taking selfie video of themselves screaming with excitement while he was performing, which I wasn’t aware was a thing but is in fact a very popular thing at Jingle Ball. Ruiz had just moved to Providence from California, intrigued by its arts scene and cheaper rent than New York, and had taken a job at the Renaissance Providence Hotel, where she met DeFranceso. From there, he had also formed a band named after an early Springsteen lyric: “And them downtown boys sure talk gritty/It’s so hard to be a saint in the city” (“It sounded tough and fun but also queer,” he elaborates).

Ruiz quickly joined the band, and when she heard about Segal’s work for hotel workers, joined his Congressional campaign doing Spanish language outreach. Segal took a strong interest in Downtown Boys — DeFrancesco refers to him as the band’s unofficial label. “I was thinking of new ideas how to harness the Internet into these organizing campaigns that Demand Progress was doing, how to take the energy he saw at our shows,” DeFrancesco says, “to channel it into what he and Aaron had been working on for so many years.

She closed her set with her breakout song “Love You Like a Love Song.” Gomez performed with what is easily the most self-confidence of any of the acts before her, and had the best music. Greer initially signed Downtown Boys to Priests’ label Sister Polygon — she says that seeing them for first the first time felt like the “most naturally insane joyful angry thing” — and the band is currently signed to Don Giovanni. Ruiz ends the interview in the pizza shop because Lovesick, “the best band in Providence,” is apparently halfway through their set, “and they only have, like, five songs.” The band walks a few quick blocks to New Urban Arts, a community arts studio for high-school students. That they are popular speaks to the sad reality of a generation that does not have the glory and splendor of the Pussycat Dolls and their spark-plug leader, Nicole Scherzinger, to admire. Nick Jonas sang his one-two-three punch of hits “Chains,” “Levels,” and “Jealous,” which makes you realize that Nick Jonas produced a roster of very stellar pop songs this past year.

I feel like we’re challenging them.” “It’s really amazing to go into a room of white dudes,” adds saxophonist Berry. “We kill, slash and thrash.” At this point, though, the band rarely gets all-white crowds. “People of color come out,” says Victoria. Providence has a proud musical tradition of abrasiveness, going back over a decade with noise bands like Lightning Bolt and Black Dice. “We take the loud, noisy aspect from Providence and bring it to our band in a punk, pop, controlled way,” Norlan says. How the physical energy in this room can be redefined on the Internet, how the kids of color, the queer kids, anyone here hassled by the cops can take that energy and redefine their future. “Coming in on a wave!” she and Joey yell at the start of their first song. “On a wave of history!” But all three divas boast the same loud, unabashed let-me-entertain-you spirit that inspires loud, unabashed enthusiasm in their young consumers—expressed on this balmy winter night in shrieks and Snapchats.

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