I attended the Star 94 Jingle Jam last night to see Jordin Sparks. This is the third year in a row Star has had an “Idol” on its lineup. In 2007, it was Elliott Yamin. Last year, David Archuleta. I felt incredibly old, surrounded almost exclusively by 12 to 16 year old girls who were there to scream for Justin Bieber and Cobra Starship and such.
Sparks was her usual bubbly – if slightly awkward – self. (That’s her charm.) I was about 300 feet away so I apologize for the mediocre photograph above. Robb Cohen has better shots here.
She hasn’t been hit by a true sophomore jinx since her first single of her latest album “Battlefield” landed in the top 5. But single #2, “S.O.S,” bombed, peaking in the 30s on the top 40 radio charts. It’s basically a ripoff of Shannon’s 1984 gem “Let the Music Play.” The crowd did love the song and she did it with plenty of energy.
On stage, Sparks wore a more mature haircut (with mixed results) and a less-than-flattering red dress. But there’s no doubt she has improved her stage presence. She even pulls off a few simple dance steps though nobody will ever mistake her for Jennifer Lopez. Disappointingly, she dispensed with a live band for this radio tour, using backing tracks along with four backup singers.
At the Z100 Jingle Jam earlier this week in New York, she sang her big hit “No Air” with Bieber but she went solo this time. The elegant ballad (originally sung with Chris Brown) still gives me chills.
She then gave us a Christmas song, a lovely a cappella version of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” before ending with “Battlefield,” which sounds better live (or semi-live, given the backing tracks) then on tape.
Here’s her “No Air.”
And here’s a snippet of her doing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”