Backstreet Boys, Kelly Clarkson & Post Malone Light Up iHeartRadio Jingle Ball North

On Saturday, December 9, Real Style attended the 2017 iHeartRadio Canada Jingle Ball North at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The holiday concert featured a lineup that included Kelly Clarkson, Post Malone, Fergie, Fifth Harmony and the Backstreet Boys. While we entered the venue expecting a mashup of overwhelmingly jovial festive tunes and cheesy costumes, we were pleasantly surprised by the energy in the air. Although neon green and red décor adorned the Jingle Ball North stage, the event itself was far more than just a dose of stereotypical Christmas cheer.

The show opened with performances from Noah Cyrus, along with rising Canadian-American performer Virginia to Vegas and Halifax-born singer-songwriter Ria Mae. However, it was Toronto’s own Jessie Reyez, who delivered an awe-inspiring set with her powerhouse vocals. Despite her petite size, Reyez’s raspy, vigorous voice filled the entire venue, along with lyrics that were as passionate and impressive as her vocal range. The 26-year-old songstress belted out recent hits from her album Kiddo, which included the emotive Figures and angsty Gatekeeper.

Perhaps one of the most anticipated artists of the night was America’s sweetheart Kelly Clarkson, who acted as one of the hosts for the concert and also performed on stage. Although the 35-year-old singer experienced some technical issues with a missing inner earpiece, she quickly bounced back in true superstar form. Proudly declaring that she had “mother moves”, Clarkson sang classic tunes like Because of You.

When 22-year-old rapper and singer Post Malone stole the stage, the crowds erupted with raucous applause for the rising star. We listened as Post’s primarily young fan base cheered and danced along to the catchy Congratulations and the chart-topping party anthem Rockstar. Although we had been wondering what we could attribute the success of the New York-born artist to, his talent quickly became obvious. Describing past experiences such as being teased as a kid and having his heart broken, Post shared his creative inspiration for the lyrics of his songs.

To close off the evening’s festivities, iconic 1990s boy band Backstreet Boys made their return to the Toronto stage. Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough are now married fathers who are approaching middle age, but they still have the same synergy that originally launched them to fame. Although the calendar reads 2017, it seemed that the beloved vocal group was taking their fans right back to 1997. With a stage that was vividly brightened by fluorescent lights and intense choreography that would have tired even performers half their age, the BSB proved that they are still young at heart.

As for their fans, many of them were rocking right along and partying like it was 1999. And with songs like I Want It That Way, As Long As You Love Me and Get Down, it may as well have been. The only indicators that time had passed were the fact that their once-adolescent fans had matured into women in their twenties and thirties, now toting smartphones (and in some cases, children) instead of CD players.

With the boys crooning into the night and midnight fast approaching, we found ourselves taking a glance around the ACC. The Millenial women who had grown up daydreaming of Nick Carter had put their iPhones down. Even the Generation Z girls in the audience had tuned in for this blast from the past, having missed the original popularity of the Backstreet Boys in their heyday. As we know by this point, music is never just music- and the members of the BSB were doing far more than just creating noise. From taking their most ardent fans back to a simpler time to showcasing their unusual staying power in the music industry, Backstreet was back, alright- and this time, bigger than ever.

For fans who missed the live show and want to tune in, iHeartRadio Jingle Ball North premieres as a two-hour special on CTV Sunday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, CTV.ca, and CTV GO.

Photos: iHeartRadio Canada

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