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Jingle Ball Tour, Bright lights and kinky boots
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2018-12-18

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The national iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour 2018 stopped at Rosemont's Allstate Arena on Dec. 12, courtesy of radio station 103.5 KISS FM and a unique lineup of music.

This was the ninth stop on the tour presented by Capital One with a rotation of artists along the route. A dollar from each ticket was donated to the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, a non-profit organization named after the host/entertainer that is dedicated to inspiring youth through entertainment and education.

Budding young pop star Sabrina Carpenter kicked off the night with a tight set and chatted with Windy City Times on the red carpet afterward. She stepped out in tall boots similar to the statuesque Dua Lipa earlier in the evening, saying, "This literally covers my entire leg!" Carpenter spoke of her role this year in the film The Hate U Give, describing it as difficult playing Hailey who had some dramatic moments in the film: "It showed me in a light that I don't even like myself in. It can be hard as an actress because I had to accept the fact that I was not the likable one. My job was to get the message across. The cast and crew were amazing and told me I wasn't a terrible person. My fanbase, luckily, knows who I am." She confessed that she wants to have a more positive look on things for 2019, saying she's grateful for what she has.

Michigan-born singer Bazzi performed his hit song "Beautiful" after Carpenter. Bebe Rexha followed that with her strong mix of her catalog that she has performed at various festivals, including Pride in LA. "Meant to Be," with Florida Georgia Line, has been a huge crossover hit for the artist and a staple in her repertoire.

Shawn Mendes chose to go earlier in the evening, preferring not to headline. The Canadian singer continues to break records keeping his fans in "Stitches." His live performance made the young girls scream to the tune of his popular singles "Treat You Better" and "In My Blood."

English chart topper Dua Lipa also entertained the minions with dancers who strutted around the stage to her catchy songs. "IDGAF" may not have been the best song choice for a very young crowd who liked to sing along to the adult lyrics, but she concluded with "New Rules" that was certainly more appropriate.

Another Canadian singer at the show was Alessia Cara, who really stood out from the pack by not being caught up in the glitz and glamour. She dressed very casual at the carpet, then wore an oversized men's suit with a tie for the stage. She stopped to speak about how so many of her fans are in the LGBT community: "I have seen them grow and come out over the years. We have been like a little family and it is so amazing. I feel like they are growing into powerful, strong people. I hope my music can make them feel comfortable with who they are because they deserve it. I am so proud of them and who they are." Cara then performed her new album, Growing Pains. The Best New Artist Grammy Award winner put her money where her mouth was by projecting a video for "Scars to Your Beautiful" that represented the queer community and celebrated unique individuals in an artistic light.

Speaking of lights, DJ Calvin Harris closed the night with a spectacular light show to accompany his tunes. While it was a misstep not to have Dua Lipa come out and sing "One Kiss," he gained points for the new Sam Smith collaboration "Promises," with a video depicting voguing and the ball scene. From fiery explosions to a dazzling light display, Harris showed why his career is not stopping anytime soon.


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