Every year, fans look forward to seeing lineups for one of the biggest events in music – Jingle Ball.
Taking over more than ten cities, the lineup always packs a punch, packing fans into an arena for their favorite night of music. This year was no different, with AJR, Lewis Capaldi, Niall Horan, NF, Zara Larsson, Why Don’t We and the Jonas Brothers all on tap for a night of music at Allstate Arena. Brought to the stage by 103.5 KISSFM, Chicago’s resident pop station, each act was introduced by a different set of radio DJs, who fans knew by name, which was a perfect addition this year.
Even before the music began, the energy inside of the venue was overwhelming, with audience members taking photos, waiting in line for merch and getting excited for the show. All around Jingle Ball, light-up reindeer ears were atop heads, making it an inviting, holiday-themed space.
First up, AJR took the stage to an enormous amount of energy. The three brothers, Adam, Jack, and Ryan, performed hits like “I’m Weak” and “Sober Up,” rocking out on stage, backed by crowd members of all ages singing along. A perfect first act, AJR set the tone for the night ahead, warning all of the other artists that they better bring excitement and energy too.
Next, Zara Larsson embodied confidence, sporting a glittery outfit, curled hair and a smile throughout her performance. Not only did Larsson sing well, but she also danced her heart out, making fans feel confident in their own skin and how they felt. Performing tracks from her 2017 album, So Good, Larsson was confident and shined as she strutted her stuff on stage. As the only female on the Jingle Ball lineup this year, Larsson took that to her advantage and was the perfect fit.
Third, the moment that most fans had been waiting for: Lewis Capaldi. A definite fan-favorite, Capaldi shared humorous moments on stage while singing tracks that have just last year hit the Top 40. Possibly the newest to fame, Capaldi was genuinely human on stage, laughing with members of the audience and joking when he messed up a lyric. The singer-songwriter was possibly the biggest fan favorite of the entire night, driving excitement and singing from the audience that outsung the artist himself.
Next on the lineup and very familiar to the Jingle Ball stage, Why Don’t We were a perfect, upbeat fit for the lineup and took the chance to connect with their fans in the audience. One of the most-followed artists on social media, the group used choreographed dance moves as well as their own freestyle moves to grab hands, smile and wave at their dedicated fans in the first row. Performing one of their latest singles, “What Am I,” along with “Choose,” “8 Letters” and more, Why Don’t We was a definite highlight of the night.
The night was moving quickly and as the stage brought a single microphone on stage, the moment was here. Niall Horan was about to take the stage. A smile breaking out on his face as he grabbed his guitar and started strumming, Horan was at home on stage and was friendly, genuine and honest on stage. Throughout his set, he promoted his Nice To Meet Ya Tour happening later this year, but also took the time to talk about his songs, especially “Put A Little Love On Me,” which he had only performed once live before.
A definite oddball for the night, NF took the stage to dark lighting, black balloons and a large cage on stage. Although it was a darker look and feel than past artists, NF was a highlight of the night for some of the older fans in the crowd, who understood the deeper meaning and messages in his music. While it was also a different style of music, it was a great addition to the lineup and brought the perfect amount of genre-fluidity that Jingle Ball needed.
Finally, the moment fans had been waiting for as three microphones took the stage. Only recently reunited, the Jonas Brothers walked on stage to the most cheering of the night. Brothers Joe, Kevin, and Nick were all smiles as they connected with fans in the audience with smiles plastered on their faces. A perfect set of both old and new, the Jonas Brothers performed tracks like “Only Human,” “Year 3000,” and “Cool,” all while keeping their cool. The perfect way to end the night, the Jonas Brothers were an incredible addition to an already packed lineup and gave fans a once in a lifetime chance at seeing a legendary group.
As fans walked out of Allstate Arena, there was one general comment being made: “Is the lineup for next year’s Jingle Ball here yet?” And we already can’t wait too.
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Check out photos from the night below!