BY TER STAFF
It was was Christmas in Texas last night at iHeartRadio’s massive annual Jingle Ball Tour returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for an unforgettable night of live music at the Dickies Arena. As the crowd got to unwrap gifts from major music artists, new and old across all different genres, including Jack Harlow, the Black Eyed Peas, Lauv, Khalid and many more, the Jingle Ball is as amazing and festive as ever.
First up for the night was Atlantic Records recording artist, Jax. One of the many talented artists to emerge into stardom during the quarantine, Jax already has a successful pop record on her résumé but is still a stranger to the big stage. “Oh my god, I’m in an arena,” Jax told fans before kicking off her set. Opening with her nostalgic track “90s Kids”, Jax kept fans singing and laughing with her buff Santa costume throughout her 3-song performance. The New York native closed her set with her biggest record to date, “Victoria’s Secret”, before saying goodbye to her fans and incriminating herself, sharing her plans to sneak into the dressing rooms of some of her favorite musicians who would hit the stage moments later.
Next up was Lauren Spencer-Smith, an American Idol alum who has already surpassed her 18th season peers. The Canadian singer-songwriter performed a few tracks from her growing career, including her single “Narcissist”, which Spencer-Smith foreshadowed in the set by pointing out a fan in the crowd wearing the singles’ merch. Last but not least she ended her set with her breakout single, “Fingers Crossed”, the song that changed her life, which Spencer-Smith credits to its success on iHeartRadio.
Following the two newcomers that rewarded fans for finding their seats on time, it was time for a Jingle Ball alum to return to the stage. Opening with her 2020 hit single, “King & Queens” the artistic and talented Ava Max hit the stage. Max was a woman of few words on Tuesday night, making time for her growing catalog of hits like “Sweet But Psycho”, “Weapons” and of course her Tiesto-assisted track, “The Motto”. The 6-song performance wasn’t without issue, as Max was noticeably adjusting her monitor during the set, but she handled it like a pro and sounded perfect dispute any sound issues that she was experiencing behind the mic.
After Ava Max crushed it, it was time for another newcomer, 23-year-old Nicky Youre who gave fans a little bit of everything. Not only did he close things out with his breakout single “Sunroof”, which has been heard by everyone with a TikTok account, but Youre also performed a lesser known single, a Neon Trees cover and even an unreleased track, “Weatherman”, which he told fans they’ll be able to hear soon if Tuesday night’s crowd liked it enough.
The arena heard the loudest screams of the night perhaps when it was announced that Lewis Capaldi was up next. Making the journey from Scotland to Texas, Capaldi reminded us of his pipes and vocals throughout his set. When he wasn’t making us tear up with love songs like “Before You Go” and “Someone You Loved” he did a 180 making us crack up (no pun intended), talking about the big sh*ts (his words) that he has had to take due to the Texas BBQ that he has consumed since touching down in Dallas. Although he had a comedy bit about his chaffed buttcheeks practically as long as Jax’s set, he still delivered a number of our favorite songs.
Moments later, another man who is no stranger to the Jingle Ball, Khalid, hit the stage to perform a collection of his biggest hits. Opening his set with his 2017 single “Young Dumb & Broke”, the RCA singer then followed things up with his Grammy nominated “Talk” and his Marshmello produced “Numb”, although the crowd could certainly feel every word. Although he performed 7 tracks, everyone was a hit, a trend that would continue throughout the night with the headlining acts.
Delivering a dose of rap to the Jingle lineup on opening night was Jack Harlow. Harlow had just landed in Dallas from his homestate of Kentucky an hour before his set and he certainly hit the ground running with tracks like “Tyler Herro”, “I Wanna See Some Ass”, “Already Best Friends” and his massive Lil Nas X collab, “Industry Baby”. Next Harlow had the crowd rapping along with his breakout hit “What’s Poppin”, one of the highlights of the night. Despite the all ages crowd, Jack Harlow was unapologetically himself, but then again he wasn’t talking about his bowel movement like Lewis Capaldi so who would even complain about him wanting to see some ass? Harlow’s performance was evidence of why the Jingle Ball’s diversity across genres makes its such a “First Class” event.
Although Jack Harlow is a tough act to follow, singer Lauv was up for the challenge for the second to last performance of the night. Opening with his 2021 single “All 4 Nothing”, Lauv instantly had the crowd dancing to his top songs. With a setlist that included tracks like his Troye Sivan-assisted “i’m so tired…”, “Modern loneliness” and “f*ck, I’m lonely”, Lauv may be tired and lonely in his music but he had a packed arena of screaming fans on Tuesday night. Putting a cherry on top of his set, the San Francisco native said goodbye to Fort Worth with his breakout 2018 single “I Like Me Better”.
Last but certainly not least, the Black Eyed Peas performed a huge career spanning set that touched everything in their couple decades of hits but also left the crowd wanting more. The remaining energy Dallas had left was spent dancing and singer to huge hits like “Boom Boom Pow”, “Let’s Get It Started” and “Pump It Louder” to name a few. Jack Harlow wasn’t the only artist on the bill with ties to Fergie, but even without their legendary female vocalist, the will.i.am-led Black Eyes Peas are still a must see act. iHeartRadio couldn’t have picked a better group to end the night with for the first date of 2022’s Jingle Ball Tour.