You know it's a good pop festival when Taylor Swift is, at most, the third most shriek-inducing performer on the bill. Yes, the roster for New York Top 40 station Z100's annual Jingle Ball festival was announced yesterday, and the lineup is, if not quite a Murderer's Row, then at the very least one of those powerhouse offenses with a middle-of-the-order that no pitcher would ever want to face. It's pretty exciting, but it's also still a month-and-a-half away—so in the meantime, all you can do is listen to our Jingle Ball playlist, with visions of Dec. 7th in your head. See you there.
JUSTIN BIEBER FEAT. NICKI MINAJ, "BEAUTY AND A BEAT"
Assuming you can ever trust Justin Bieber again, he should still be the main draw of Jingle Ball, and should hopefully be playing his new Nicki Minaj-featuring it and getting the entire crowd partying like it's 3012. (Sounds frightening, but probably a little bit exciting.) By the way, if you haven't heard "Beat" co-producer Zedd's new album Clarity, it's one of the best dance albums of the year. Not like you'll really care about who produced the track if Justin's in the building playing it, but...just saying.
THE WANTED, "CHASING THE SUN (HARDWELL EXTENDED REMIX)"
The Wanted will undoubtedly get the most attention at Jingle Ball when they play their monster hit "Glad You Came" and their new single "I Found You," but while we're taking a breather from the former and the latter isn't available on Spotify yet, let's get down to middle single "Chasing the Sun," taken even further into the EDM stratosphere in this house remix. Long as we're giving producer shoutouts, congrats to Hardwell on making the top ten of the DJ Mag Top 100 this year—higher than Afrojack or Skrillex!
OLLY MURS FEAT. CHIDDY BANG, "HEART SKIPS A BEAT"
Perhaps no performer at the Jingle Ball this year will have more to prove than Olly Murs, a UK import whose US breakthrough continues to lag a little bit behind schedule. Nonetheless, his Chiddy Bang-featuring stateside debut "Heart Skips a Beat" remains one of the year's most delectable pop singles, and we're a big fan of the guy personally, so we're rooting for him to win over some converts, even while competing with some of American pop's heaviest hitters.
FUN., "CARRY ON"
Indie-bred rock/pop outfit fun. probably should be considered the odd band out at a festival like this, but fact of the matter is that they've had two hits this year that can hold their own against any of those from their fellow performers. It'll be interesting to see if they can make it three-for-three with yet another anthemic power ballad, the slightly more Mumford-ish "Carry On," but the song is good and the video looks cool, so we're not gonna make the mistake of betting against them for a third time.
B.O.B., "SO GOOD"
Ah yes, the esteemed representative of hip-hop. It's a little weird that we've gotten to a place in pop music where we can again afford to treat rap with tokenism, and it's doubly unfortunate that a rapper as slight as B.o.B. gets to be the guy here, but as far as pop-rap goes, few have had as many agreeable singles in recent years as Bobby Ray—including this year's "So Good," a pretty undeniably smile-worthy jam. Wonder if he'll be able to talk Taylor into a little preview of her set with a "Both of Us" walk-on—though we hope not for her sake.
For more Jingle Ball jams, including Taylor and One Direction, click NEXT.
TAYLOR SWIFT, "RED"
Will Taylor's fans be able to learn all the words to every one of the 16 songs on Red in time for the concert in early December? Yeah, yeah, stupid question—they probably know all the words to every song before the album is even released, probably before Taylor even wrote them. Advice to parents in tow with their 13-year-old girls who have never been to a Taylor Swift concert: Bring earplugs.
ONE DIRECTION, "LIVE WHILE WE'RE YOUNG
Speaking of needing earplugs—the first strums of that Clash-like intro to 1D's "Live While We're Young" should be enough to send the crowd into psychotic fits of shrieking. Maybe Mick Jones will make a special guest appearance to translate the lyrics to the second verse into Spanish. "ESTA INDECISION ME MOLESTA!"
ED SHEERAN, "LEGO HOUSE"
The secret connecting fabric among the Jingle Ball acts is actually UK singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, who has a duet with Taylor Swift on her new album, wrote the latest One Direction single, and even co-wrote with Olly Murs on his first album. Whether any of these performers will return the respective favors during Jingle Ball remains to be seen, but it would be nice for any of them to show up to provide some nice harmonies on "Lego House." Uhh, not you, B.o.B., you're good, thanks.
JASON MRAZ, "I WON'T GIVE UP"
You know "I Won't Give Up" is still lingering around the Top 40? It's at #42 this week, still one above Ed's "A Team." Our prediction earlier this year that "Give Up" might have been the first huge hit of 2012 might not have been borne out, but the song has shown some very impressive staying power, and should be a lovely lighters-up moment at the Jingle Ball. (Fine, "cell-phones-out." More accurate, but less romantic.)
NE-YO, "LET ME LOVE YOU (UNTIL YOU LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF)"
A few years ago, the clock looked like it might be ticking out on Ne-Yo's years as a relevant pop recording artist, but like many R&B singers of his generation, he's found new life in dance music, and "Let Me Love You" is one of the year's most cathartic (in a good way) dance smashes, deservedly bringing The Hatted One back to the Top 40. Shame about that patronizing and possibly sexist subtitle, but shouting along with the "Girl LET ME LOVE YOU!!!" at Jingle Ball will be just too fun to ignore.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at Jingle Ball? Expecting any guest performers? Gonna catch Jason Mraz' set then skip out? Let us know about it in the comments section.