On Monday, December 3, I went to KDWB’s Jingle Ball, solely to see MONSTA X. What I didn’t expect was that MX would be the last group to perform, and I ended up seeing the entire lineup. As a K-Pop fan who doesn’t really pay attention the the Western pop scene, the performances were very interesting to watch.
It’s been two years since I last went to a Jingle Ball, and I forgot how boring some of the performances can be. It doesn’t have a very high production value, like a full length concert would, and most artists just jump around the stage and sing. Unless you know the music, it’s hard to find exciting.
A small annoyance was that we were in St. Paul but most of the artists, all the websites, and all the merch and said Minneapolis. Just because they’re collectively called the Twin Cities does not make them the same.
Artists in the order they performed
Her music isn’t my style and her lyrics were a little strange, but she had a great voice and I respect her talent. She did seem a bit nervous, probably because the crowd didn’t know her and therefore didn’t really respond to her performance.
Favorite Song: Heart to Break
I’m not going to lie, I’ve never heard a Bazzi song before. I’ve heard of him, but all I’ve heard of his music is little bits of Mine. I’m sorry. After seeing him live, I can confirm that his music isn’t really my style. Although, I can see why people like him. He’s definitely multitalented, and I respect that.
Favorite Song: Mine
The first artist to perform that I actually liked! I wouldn’t call myself a fan, but I do know quite a few of her songs and enjoy her music.
Favorite Song: Sue Me
I actually knew more of their songs than Sabrina’s because I used to listen to them a lot in 2016 when they were first getting big. They said they did 3-4 interviews backstage before the show and all of the interviewers asked them to play Selfie. They said no and instead played Something Just Like This. Kelsea Ballerini later came out and sang This Feeling with them. I somehow still know the words to Closer so I enjoyed that performance. I can’t help but be disappointed though though that Halsey didn’t come out and sing. She definitely made up for it later.
Favorite Song: Don’t Let Me Down
I’ve heard her big hits and I’ve never been a fan, but she was entertaining. She seemed like a really genuine person who had a lot of fun performing. She even invited a loyal fan of eight years onstage, during Meant to Be, which was sweet.
Favorite Song: In the Name of Love
I actually had no clue who this person was until I googled her. Turns out she’s an ex-Fifth Harmony member. Huh, who knew? Honestly I only knew Camila Cabello. I liked Dinah Jane’s music about as much as I liked Fifth Harmony’s, which is very little. I am impressed with her ability to dance in heels that were about the thickness of a pin. I was surprised that she went so late in the lineup. Traditionally, the less known artists perform earlier. Fifth Harmony, an infamous girl group captivated many fans, but was essentially lost on the solo acts. I feel like very few people know any of the members’ solo songs (again, Camila is the exception). I would have thought she’d at least gone before The Chainsmokers, Bazzi, and Bebe Rexha. As for my favorite song, I didn’t have one because her music as a whole was not my style.
5 Seconds is Summer
I’m not a fan, but their music is more my style. I enjoyed their set despite not knowing the songs.
Favorite Song: Youngblood
Once again, I’m not a fan. Her music is slightly my style and I enjoyed the songs she played, especially because I was at least a little familiar with all of them. She has a unique sound and voice, and sang a toned down version of Closer, which was really beautiful. She also performed Without Me for the first time live.
Favorite Song: Bad at Love
MX was the first K-Pop artist to perform at Jingle Ball, and as a K-Pop fan, I was really proud to see the industry represented.
The volume went up about 10 notches for MX, despite the fact that half the audience left after Halsey. Lingering audience members, just kind of clapped and a few cheers from that artist’s fans, but us K-Pop fans go hard.
They sampled The Greatest Show (from The Greatest Showman) for their intro. They played Shoot Out, Dramarama, and Special, which was one I was not expecting. They also addressed that even if you don’t know the language, you can still feel the music. They even helped the crowd out with a chant. Main rapper Jooheon led the crowd with, “When I say Dramarama you say hey.” Of course, Monbebes, MX’s fans, already knew how to do this. There was lots of love between MONSTA X and Monbebe, them calling out to us and the fans bringing signs, lightsticks, and of course screaming until we’re hoarse.
Favorite Song: All the songs they played because I love everything by MX
I’d have to say the performances I enjoyed the most were Halsey, 5SOS, and Sabrina Carpenter, and of course MX. They killed it and were by far my favorite artist there, but I’m sure you knew that already.