Concert Review: iHeartRadio’s “Jingle Ball North”

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Toronto hosted its first ever iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Friday night at the Air Canada Centre, and we think it’s safe to say it was definitely a success.

Jingle Ball originated in Los Angeles in 2000 and has made it’s way across the U.S every year since, just before the holidays. We are ecstatic that iHeartRadio has finally brought the concert North of the border.

The concert is known for having a star-studded line up with top talent and rising stars perform and attend the event. Toronto’s roster included a number of Canadian artists like Serena Ryder, Belly, Hedley, Alessia Cara and the highly anticipated headliner, The Weeknd.

Other artists like Niall Horan, Kent Jones and The Chainsmokers also performed, and stars such as Shemar Moore, Tyler Shaw, and Alx Veliz were in the building to help present some of the performances.

Kardinal Official was the emcee for the night, keeping the crowd pumped up and on their feet in between sets, engaging the crowd in contests and dance cam action. The Air Canada Centre was packed with fans, friends and families ready to see a sweet show. We were a bit surprised the venue wasn’t completely sold out, but the energy from the crowd was incredible.

Serena Ryder and Kent Jones were the first artists to warm up the show before some of the main acts hit the stage. It was an exciting night for Belly, who performed “Might Not” featuring The Weeknd, and his new hit “Ballerina”. We were so pleasantly surprised to hear the whole crowd singing his lyrics and getting hyped up, Belly is extremely talented and we can’t wait to hear more from him.

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It wouldn’t be a show with out some One Direction action. The crowd went crazy when Niall Horan came out to perform his song “This Town” and even though he only performed one song, the audience didn’t seem to mind. He made everyone’s hearts melt a little when he apologized for not having other songs to perform, also saying he hopes to have more music to play next time he’s in Toronto (we’re not excited or anything).

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This girl blows us away every time she performs. Despite some technical difficulties towards the beginning of her set, Alessia Cara killed her performances. Her vocals were out of this world especially during her song “Overdose”. She also performed “Wild Things”, “I’m Yours”, “Here”, and “Scars to Your Beautiful”. It’s so amazing to constantly be reminded that this rockstar is from Brampton, Ontario and she’s done so well in her career already. The BestFan team has interviewed her a number of times and we can say she is such a humble and down to earth person. It’s not hard to see why her fans relate to her so much.

 

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If you’ve never seen Hedley live in concert, you’re truely missing out. Like Alessia Cara, Hedley‘s vocals are wicked when they’re live and their energy on stage is so captivating. Their whole set was full of energy, and they love to engage the crowd which makes things even more enjoyable. Hedley‘s songs are all so catchy so it was easy for the crowd to get up, sing and dance to some of their hits like “Hello”, “Crazy For You”, “Anything” and their latest “Can’t Slow Down”.

Just when we thought Jingle Ball would be a sweet holiday concert with some cool acts, The Chainsmokers turned the house into an all out rave, and IT WAS AWESOME! The light show was wicked and the energy in the room went to a whole other level. The EDM powerhouse played their hit “Closer” featuring Halsey, that song alone had everyone out of their seats jumping around. They also played “Roses”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, and their newest track “Setting Fires”- all bangers.

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The Chainsmokers were the perfect act to prep the crowd for the headliner, man of the night, and “Starboy” himself, The Weeknd. The fact that The Weeknd was headlining this event in the first place, is a huge win – especially the day after he released his highly anticipated new album Starboy. Round of applause to iHeartRadio Jingle Ball for securing him at the most exciting time, and while he’s home.

// a little @theweeknd for the week’s end <🎥 by @infamousdupz> . . . . #JingleBallNorth #TheWeeknd #XO

A video posted by BestFan.com (@bestfanblog) on

We can’t explain the excitement around The Weeknd being the headliner for this event, as soon as the sirens started playing from the start of “The Hills”, the Air Canada Center was nothing but screaming fans. The Weeknd has had a crazy successful year, he’s also completely transformed as an artist. In between songs he took the time to talk to the crowd and thank his fans for supporting him. He talked about how he was a bit camera shy towards the start of his career and how he’s a “Starboy” now, he also thanked the city of Toronto for being so good to him throughout his career.

 

The Weeknd played a number of songs including “Often”, “Low Life”, “Crew Love”, “Can’t Feel My Face”, “Earned It” to name a few. He also teased us by playing a couple of new songs of the new album like “I Feel It Coming”, which is already being hailed online as the best pop song of the year. He also played “False Alarm” and of course “Starboy”.

Overall we think iHeartRadio Jingle Ball was a huge success this year, especially considering it being the first event in Canada ever. We were very fortunate to have such a diverse and talented group of artists come to perform in Toronto, next year’s concert will have big shoes to fill.

Photo credit: Natalie Popovich

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