Taylor Swift, Will.i.am, Jonas Brothers and More Perform at KIIS Jingle Ball
The first night of the annual 2012 radio concert in LA was full of surprises, including that the night's "surprise superstar"--Maroon 5--had to cancel, replaced by another surprise performer: Will.i.am.
On Saturday night pop stars, TV celebrities and fans gathered together to celebrate the holidays – and a year’s worth of radio hits – at 102.7 KIIS FM’s annual Jingle Ball. On the first of two nights at LA Live’s Nokia Theatre (the second comes Monday evening) radio listeners were treated to succinct sets by Sammy Adams, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding, Jonas Brothers, Ne-Yo and headliner Taylor Swift. The previously billed “surprise superstar band” turned out to have two surprises: first, that it was Maroon 5 and second, that Maroon 5 had been replaced that morning by Will.i.am.
Following Ne-Yo’s set, which featured buoyant renditions of “Let’s Go” and “Let Me Love You,” KIIS brought out Maroon 5 members James Valentine and PJ Morton along with station DJ Jojo.
“Maroon 5 was indeed the surprised guest tonight,” Valentine confirmed. “We woke up this morning and found out Adam (Levine) has a bad case of strep throat.” Morton added, “So we’re really sad we can't play tonight but we didn't want to leave you empty handed... We have another surprise guest. Better than we would ever be.”
Before bringing Will.i.am to the stage, the pair filmed a video of the audience yelling “Get well Adam!” and urged the fans to start the hashtag #saveadam.
Will.i.am, armed with a laptop and a microphone, sang along to several Black Eyed Peas tracks, including “Boom Boom Pow” and “Dirty Bit,” and offered remixed renditions of Usher’s “OMG” and his own recent single “This Is Love.” The musician, who occasionally emerged from behind his turntable to dance along with the tracks, concluded the set with “Scream and Shout,” his new solo single with Britney Spears. “I want to see if you got energy,” he told the crowd as the song kicked in. “Who got the energy? I'm gonna play this last song before I pass out. This song is featuring the queen Britney Spears.”
If Will.i.am’s impromptu set was a slight disappointment for the crowd, the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift erased any sense of letdown, as did brief appearances by the six finalists of The X Factor and Dancing With The Stars winners Derek Hough and Shawn Johnson.
The Jonas Brothers performed several new tracks from their upcoming, yet-untitled album, including “Wedding Bells” and “Let’s Go,” both of which the group has performed recently onstage.
“Thank you for having us here,” Joe Jonas told the crowd. “We’re happy to be back on the Jingle Ball stage after a few years away. We’re in the process of writing and recording a new record, which we’re very exited about. We thought we'd play a few new songs for you tonight.” The group also covered Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You.” Nick Jonas noted of the cover, “A lot of music has inspired us recording this next record. I want to take the time to sing one of those songs if that's alright.”
Swift’s performance closed out the evening, featuring herself and 11 other musicians onstage with a giant red sign that spelled out her recent album title, Red. Swift, who offered old favorites like “You Belong With Me” alongside new album cuts like “State of Grace” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” told the crowd, “This is my second time playing the KIIS Jingle Ball... And this is the best one so far definitely. I have to be thankful for this holiday season thanks to you guys. I put out an album called Red and you've made that a very goodexperience.”
The singer closed her performance with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Red’s flagship single.
Night two of KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball, which takes place on Monday evening at Nokia, will feature Zedd, Psy,Afrojack, fun., The Wanted, Flo Rida, Ke$ha and Justin Bieber.