City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Pop royalty came to play at Power 96.1 Jingle Ball

Justin Bieber kept the girls squealing during his headlining set. Photo: Robb D. Cohen/

Justin Bieber kept the girls squealing during his headlining set. Photo: Robb D. Cohen/

The best thing about radio station “Jingle” shows is that they provide a sampler platter of pop.

Not an Owl City or Enrique Iglesias fan? Sit tight – in an hour or so you’ll get a few songs from Flo Rida and Kesha.

At Wednesday night’s inaugural Jingle Ball from new Top 40 station Power 96.1, the assortment of performers read like a who’s-who of the Billboard charts. Along with the aforementioned stars came newcomer Austin Mahone and headliner Justin Bieber, whom most in the ¾-full Philips Arena sounded obsessed with whenever his name flashed on the video screen during the four-hour show.

So how was the concert? Let’s get to it.

Justin Bieber: The king of the night didn’t take the stage until almost 10:30 – surely a challenge for those school-age kids with class in the morning – but if anyone was getting snoozy waiting for him, Bieber ignited the crowd the moment he rolled on stage on his skateboard.

“I’m Justin Bieber. You miss me?” he asked the hyperventilating throng.

Decked out in shades, red harem pants and a bandana around his neck, the squeal-inducer and his cadre of dancers romped through “All Around the World,” complete with pyro and confetti.

Though it was difficult to tell how much actual singing was happening during the quick-paced songs, the pop prince is a zippy little dancer and demonstrated some ace moves during his set, which included an appearance from old pal Ludacris during “Baby.”

But first, Bieber, who noted, “It’s been awhile since I’ve been in my second home,” plowed through “Beauty and a Beat” before pausing the tempo to catch his breath and segue into an acoustic set.

During “Be Alright” and “Where Are You Now,” on which he also played guitar, the 18-year-old demonstrated how nicely his voice is developing as he settles into his range.

If you missed Bieber at Wednesday’s show, no worries. He’ll be back at Philips Jan. 23 and just set another date, Aug. 10, with tickets going on sale Dec. 21. Hopefully his fans’ vocal cords will be rested by then and primed to scream some more.

Kesha gets primed to party backstage. . Photo: Robb D. Cohen/

Kesha gets primed to party backstage. . Photo: Robb D. Cohen/


Oh, Kesha, such a trip. From being carried out onstage by a troupe of men to her amusing commentary (“You guys are so attractive,” she told the crowd while sipping what looked like a beer) to perhaps the greatest request for crowd interaction ever (“When I say ‘blah,’ you say ‘blah,’” she instructed before “Blah Blah Blah”), she was everyone’s favorite kooky party girl.

In her black and silver sparkly leotard and black thigh-high boots, Kesha stalked the stage during “Blow,” strapped on a guitar during “We Are Who We Are” and thanked the crowd for supporting her new album, “Warrior” – “Whether you bought it or stole it,” she quipped.

She ended her 25-minute set with the first single from that album, “Die Young,” a pouncing pop song that sort of sounds like every other Kesha song but is still enjoyably catchy. She even included the tribal drum breakdown – similar to her performance on the “American Music Awards” last month – as a cue for a shower of confetti.

Flo Rida: The hip-hop-pop star from South Florida came primed to incite a party and he succeeded, with his band adding an impressive fullness to his songs, starting with “Good Feeling” into “Let it Roll,” which sounded as brawny as Flo’s physique looked.

Flo Rida toured the audience during his set. . Photo: Robb D. Cohen/

Flo Rida toured the audience during his set. . Photo: Robb D. Cohen/

Flo paused briefly to announce that his guest, “changed my life,” before sometime-Atlantan T-Pain bounded out to join him on the irresistible club banger “Low.”

Instead of merely ending his set with “I Cry” and “Wild One” and disappearing off stage, Flo instead shed his sweaty shirt and headed into the crowd, taking a complete trip around the arena floor on someone’s shoulders before being carried off, his work as a firestarter accomplished.

Enrique Iglesias: Considering he was just here in August on his tour with Jennifer Lopez, it wasn’t too surprising that Iglesias performed so early in the show and for only 20 minutes.

But the scruffy Latin heartthrob packed a wallop of hits into his time onstage, wisely delivering the clean version of “Tonight I’m Loving You” with his band, including a percussionist who added an extra coat of rhythm to the stomp-n-clap “I Like How it Feels.”

Enrique Iglesias packed plenty of hits into his quick set. . Photo: Robb D. Cohen/

Enrique Iglesias packed plenty of hits into his quick set. . Photo: Robb D. Cohen/

Iglesias also traveled back about a decade for his cloying ballad “Hero,” a song released before a big chunk of this crowd was even born, before announcing, “Let’s get crazy” and diving into the effervescent, Lionel Richie-sampling “I Like It” as his specialized “ei” engraved balloons fell from the rafters.

Owl City: Adam Young and his cohorts opened with their first hit, the airy “Fireflies,” which was given a bit more weight thanks to the inclusion of electric guitar.

Young and the four musicians who tour with him as Owl City offered the new song, “Shooting Star,” which falls easily into his repertoire of catchy-chorus-synth-pop, as well as his frothy summer hit with Carly Rae Jepson, “Good Time,” her part handled by keyboardist Breanne Düren.

Austin Mahone: The 16-year-old from San Antonio is the latest on the list of lightweight teen stars aimed at the TeenNick crowd. And while his quick set, which included his new single “Say You’re Just a Friend” (which samples Biz Markie’s ‘80s hit), didn’t make any jaws drop, he’s cute, harmless and primed to be embraced by Top 40 radio.

For more photos from Jingle Ball, check out our gallery.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

20 comments Add your comment

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


December 13th, 2012
6:45 am

Poor 96 Rock….


December 13th, 2012
6:52 am

Wouldn’t go to see any of those acts, even if it was free.

Senor Coughee

December 13th, 2012
7:01 am

A lipsynching girl-boy, pop ROYALTY? Seriously?

Senor Coughee

December 13th, 2012
7:05 am

Clear Channel has done for Atlanta radio what Hitler did to Europe. Totally decimated it.


December 13th, 2012
7:21 am

You’d think the radio stations would program for us older types who don’t rely on iPods for all their music.


December 13th, 2012
7:22 am

You totally left out Bridget Mendler! She was a great appetizer for the night!


December 13th, 2012
7:27 am

If those “bands” were playing in my back yard, I would call the cops and have them removed. Sad that 96 Rock is gone and replaced with this drivel


December 13th, 2012
7:57 am

What a shame, we went from having a great rock station that sponsored great shows by artists who actually could play instruments to this? FU Clear Channel! I hope this show was so poorly attended it cost you money to have it.


December 13th, 2012
8:00 am

96Pop. Atlanta has been burned again.

Fred ™

December 13th, 2012
8:22 am

Wow Melissa, great writing job. You make me sad I missed a show with a bunch of bands I would never listen too lol. Rodney does that with those stupid reality shows. I’ll read his comments on shows I will NEVER watch because he writes them up so nicely.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


December 13th, 2012
9:14 am

who the f*** is Justin Bieber?


December 13th, 2012
10:14 am

Phillips arena was only 3/4 full for supposedly this awesome pop lineup. Yet another reason why 96.1 should not be another pop station. Clear Channel is the epitome of music diversity…


December 13th, 2012
10:34 am

No one cares. Screw that station, and the people who own it.

No sellout for you!

December 13th, 2012
11:28 am

Uh oh….the Biebs only had a 3/4 full Philips Arena? America may be finally waking up!!!!


December 13th, 2012
12:35 pm

clear channel you suck, and your gonna loose your azz for these stupid radio changes go XM. atlanta is lost again.

Melissa Ruggieri

December 13th, 2012
1:55 pm

Thanks, Fred. Always appreciate you reading and commenting!



December 13th, 2012
2:18 pm

Mike, just how is someone’s azz ‘loose” as you said? What is it about people that 50% don’t know the difference between LOSE and LOOSE. Drives my nuts! Read a book.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]