Years ago my friend Kim and I went to London for Capital FM’s Summertime Ball. Ever since then we have been talking about going for the Christmas equivalent: Jingle Bell Ball. This year we finally went!!! It was at the O2 Arena in London on the 8th and 9th of December, however, we only went for the show on Saturday the 8th.
I was a little bit apprehensive when I saw the line up, I had previously saw a lot of the acts and others I just didn’t know who they were. However, it did not let us down!
Since Kim is 7 months pregnant, we decided to get to the arena nice and early to try and avoid the inevitable crowds. The Coca-Cola truck was outside for photos and free drinks; they were sponsoring the event, so it got us straight in the Christmassy mood.
I had only been to the O2 Arena once but remembered there were lots of restaurants inside. It was quite late when we considered booking a table so a LOT of places were fully booked, but we booked a table as Las Iguanas as it is always a good choice. What was disappointing though was that they have a specific ‘event menu’ which is basically a really limited menu and what I had already decided I wanted wasn’t available. It was still yummy though, plus they do permanent happy hour…
We then explored through the new outlet shops which have apparently recently opened. Although we didn’t buy anything there were quite a few good shops and I read somewhere that they have a service that you can just collect your shopping after a show.
After a couple of more drinks we decided to just head into the arena and find out seats. I was super happy with our seats as we were directly opposite the stage and at a good height too. What was maybe a little disappointing compared to the Summertime Ball was that all of the acts were just on the one main stage.
We didn’t know the running order of the show so each act on was a little surprise. It also opened super cute with the Coca Cola Truck (well an image of one) making its way around the whole arena to the tune of Holidays Are Coming, it was soooo Christmassy!
First up to perform was Liam Payne. Now, I was quite a One Direction fan (not a screaming teenage fangirl though) but I find Liam as a solo artist so disappointing. Why can he not just sing in his comfortable range? He was kind of screeching a bit and there were definitely a few bum notes. Being in a group was definitely the right choice for him, but never mind, I’m sure lots of people disagree with me and of course his bank account will also.
Next up was Ellie Goulding. I really love Ellie Goulding; although the first time I saw her live was Summertime Ball and she was terrible, I have seen her since and know she is a good live performer. She was wearing a really cute outfit that reminded me of the fairy on the top of a Christmas tree, it was super cute. I must say Ellie Goulding never comes across as an easy comfortable singer and it always seems like a little bit of a battle to get through a whole set but I loved it. I loved it even more when she whipped her guitar out too. She can be a bad assed chick!
Another disappointing act followed: Rak-Su. Initially I liked Rak-Su, but then I realised all of their music sounds the same and quickly lost interest. The crowd definitely loved them though so I guess that’s something. Their set was upbeat and energetic, however, I really wish they hadn’t done their second performance outside by the truck with their version of Holidays Are Coming; currently on some of the coca-cola adverts, because it is TERRIBLE!
Then it was Olly Murs. I sort of forget I like him; I can’t believe it’s so long since he was on XFactor. I’m not the girl who is fangirling over him; or the adult swooning over his tight jeans. I’m also not loving his vocals, but I can appreciate his energy and performance as he definitely puts a smile on everybody’s face.
Just as the crowd was high on Olly Murs’ energetic performance; and seemingly spontaneous Christmas tune. Jonas Blue came on and got everybody up jumping. To me Jonas Blue are those typical DJs; I think that’s how you refer to them right? I know sooo many of their songs but I don’t know they are by them. I did however know that they did Polaroid with Liam Payne and Lennon Stella and I was sooo excited when I saw on instagram that Lennon Stella was coming: she was Maddie on Nashville which I LOVED. They squeezed a lot of songs into their set, everybody was up dancing, and they finished with Polaroid inviting both Liam Payne and Lennon Stella on to perform with them.
I was nervous for who would come on after Jonas Blue as the energy was really pumping. I was so disappointed when they announced James Arthur was next, but the roar of the crowd warned me I was alone in that thought. And actually I have to admit he was brilliant. He even brought out Dalton Harris; this year’s XFactor winner apparently, who sang Power of Love together and it was magical. He also gave a rendition of All I Want For Christmas in a terrible key but we can forgive him for that.
This was the point I was going to go and have a toilet/cool down break as I had never heard of Loud Luxury and assumed it was some cheesy new pop band. But actually once the music started I realised I knew the song: Body. They were the only people the whole night who only performed one song but it was another performance that got the crowd up and bouncing.
Until Halsey was announced to be playing at the Jingle Bell Ball I thought it was a man… whoops! Like Halsey and Jonas Blue it turns out I knew quite a few of ‘her’ songs. She wasn’t the most engaging or interesting performer; she sort of just wandered around the stage, but she had a good voice and a crazy good figure!
When Anne-Marie came on it felt like the start of the end of the show if that makes sense. I saw Anne-Marie supporting Ed Sheeran over summer so knew she was good but she was super good; the outfit did remind me of old school Rita Ora though. I don’t think I had realised how big Anne-Marie has actually gotten I still think of her as just somebody who sings on some songs. I did really hope her and James Arthur would do their Written in the Stars duet and was a little bit disappointed when they didn’t but never mind they were both good in their own rights.
I didn’t really like Rita Ora when she first came out; although when I saw her at North East Live a few years back I had to admit I liked all of her songs. But it was when she hosted America’s Next Top Model one season that I realised I actually really liked her as a person. Then with her new music over the past 18months she has confirmed herself as one of my current favourites. She is also super hot! Like it’s not fair why don’t I look like her?!?! Her set was really good and upbeat; although again I was disappointed she didn’t do her duet with Liam Payne… and I have so much admiration for her after following her on instagram for a while and seeing how she flies all over doing a million shows a night. She was great!
The grand finale… David Guetta! It was sort of a shame that he was on last as LOADS of people left; mostly those with young children. The shoe was expected to end at 10pm but he didn’t even come on until after 10. He literally turned the arena into a rave, everybody was up jumping singing along screaming, there were flames, lasers and smoke. It was epic! I’m not a huge dance music fan but his pop collaborations are always great. There was a few songs I didn’t recognise but it just didn’t even really matter. What I really appreciated was that he looked to be actually mixing on the stage whereas when I saw Calvin Harris a few years ago he essentially just pressed play then stuck his hands in the air. A great way to end the show!
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed Jingle Bell Ball. I do wish there was a bigger variety of acts on and I would have been more than content if some of them performed fewer songs but it was a really good and fun night with a great atmosphere. I think out of the two I preferred the Summer Time Ball but I would definitely go back to both.