Live: Pitbull and Kelly Clarkson Couldn't Save Y100 Jingle Ball 2011 From Itself

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Photo by Sayre Berman
Rock is dead on Top 40, if you haven't heard. If Pitbull's guitarist rolling out a bit of Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way" is the best riff of the night, we have a problem. Los Angeles keyboard pop act Foster the People probably rocked the hardest of the Jingle Ball bands, but it'd be more accurate to call them the easiest pill to swallow. During "Pumped Up Kicks," the only FTP song you'd ever remember, falsetto-heavy singer Mark Foster was inches away from just putting his hands in his pockets. Jogging the length of the stage does not equal presence, and one hooky chorus doesn't heighten something above embarrassing -- especially with a dubstep coda featuring extra cowbell. For all of the "indie cred" this band has received, there's virtually nothing different between them and Maroon 5's wretched attempts at soul.

This was nothing compared to the contempt felt in Cobra Starship on the small stage, which was mixed poorly and centered on singer Gabe Saporta being above it all. This is a rock band only in appearance -- it's only the synthesizers of "Good Girls Go Bad" and new hit "You Make Me Feel" that are audible. The highlight of Gym Class Heroes' set came in the form of frontman Travie McCoy's single "Billionaire," which is basically Bruno Mars' song. And the lowlight was the unsexy entrance of Neon Hitch for a collaboration on "Ass Back Home." Hitch looked like she was wearing a fanny pack the way she kept hiking up her hippie dress to show off her legs.
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Photo by Sayre Berman
Finally, the Script. My ears had never felt flaccid until hearing this Irish soft-rock band's dreck -- unless we count Cody Simpson's weepy confessionals earlier on -- which can't possibly figure heavily into Y100's playlists, right? But the Script played at the 2010 show too, and the crowd knew every anticharismatic line of "Going to Pieces." Singer Danny O'Donoghue, who looked to be wearing a lot of makeup, spoke at one point about putting together the "biggest sing-along ever," which with this material resounded like 12,000 young voices whining about misplacing their iPhones. "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" is one of their best-known songs, and witnessing it live unintentionally mirrors how utterly unmoving a band can be. We give up.

Overall, this lineup felt cheap, although it certainly was not. Plenty of artists who made an impact on Top 40 radio in 2011 could've been hired for the Y100 Jingle Ball. Among them, consummate performers like Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj all have dance moves, no shortage of strong material, and overall stage artistry. Instead, we got Avril Lavigne, the waifish star with raccoon eyes and sparkly red mic stand and only a high-stepping move that she employed throughout old hits like "Girlfriend" and "Complicated." Even her tight backing band seemed more excited to be there.
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Photo by Sayre Berman
Last-minute addition Flo Rida came out for one song during David Guetta's DJ set and then later spent his one solo moment onstage riding around on the back of one of his henchmen while performing "Good Feeling." He barely worked up a sweat but still felt the need to rip off two shirts. So unwelcome.

And then there was Karmin. A respected colleague finds them to be bland, and Amy Heidemann's voice is undeniably aggressive. But worst thing about their performance was also the best thing about their performance -- they performed a pair of certifiable hits that got the crowd going, but neither of them were Karmin songs. Hearing Heidemann perform "Look at Me Now" and "Firework" was just a damning reminder that Chris Brown and Katy Perry were nowhere near South Florida on this night.

Location Info

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BB&T Center

1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise, FL

Category: Music


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4 comments
Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

This is what happens when you try to kill rock in South Florida.  You get crap followed by more crap.

Chris R
Chris R

The Y100 Jingle ball has been going on since 2004 or so. I have to admit, I really wanted to go to this show just to see Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne, but ultimately I decided to stay home to watch a webcast from California instead.

Reed Fischer
Reed Fischer

Pitbull is definitely a local act, Fernando.

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