Like many South Florida parents, I spend a lot of time trapped, wait … I spend a lot of quality time in my car with the kids, enduring, uh, enjoying the music of today’s most insufferable, dang, influential singing stars. I listen to a lot of pop music.
And surely, all those trips to volleyball, baseball and basketball practice have prepared me for the ride to Y100’s Jingle Ball at the BB&T Center on Sunday, Dec. 17, when I’ve been planning to impress my daughter and her crew with some pop-star knowledge. But, as I have learned in the past week, just because I know Charlie Puth from Shawn Mendes, doesn’t mean I know what’s cool with my kids. In talking to them about the Jingle Ball lineup, I found that I have no clue.
This year’s Jingle Ball stop in South Florida includes a who’s who of pop-chart royalty, led by Demi Lovato, Logic, Halsey, Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas, Charlie Puth, Camila Cabello, Liam Payne, Julia Michaels and Why Don't We. Get there early for 2 p.m. performances at the #Y100JingleBall Village, a lineup that includes Weston-raised heartthrob Jake Miller and Sabrina Carpenter, joined by Cheat Codes, Why Don’t We, Max, Sofi Tukker and others.
I took my son and daughter to Jingle Ball 2016 — memorable for the final performance of Camila Cabello with Fifth Harmony and for the Chainsmokers’ ridiculous attempt to burnish their street cred with a stream of profanity to open their set (it’s Jingle Ball, dudes) — and both seemed to have a great time. My daughter, now 11, is familiar with most of the acts on this Sunday’s bill, and is excited to be going back. My son, 16, is done.
“It’s music for a bunch of 13-year-old girls,” he says, the lone exception being one of his favorite performers on the scene, Logic. Last year, my son went for Diplo and the Chainsmokers, but he’s since moved on to Migos, Post Malone and Kendrick Lamar. Asked what acts he’d like to see at Jingle Ball, within reason, he mentioned Macklemore, currently on tour with his new “Glorious” album, and Christian hip-hop artist NF. Who knew?
Squeezing any other thoughts on the subject out of a teenage boy was difficult, but my daughter, a Taylor Swift-Sabrina Carpenter kind of girl, was willing to compare notes on some of the top Jingle Ball acts.
Demi Lovato: In my ranking of the performers I’m looking forward to, Lovato is among those at the top. She exudes the kind of girl-power confidence I want my daughter to see, along with a big, arena-filling voice. Every time I hear her soar through “Sorry Not Sorry,” I can’t believe it’s taken so long for her to become a star. My daughter is not so receptive, advising me that she usually changes the station when Lovato’s songs come on: “I feel like they’re really aggressive, I don’t know.”
Logic: Also a must-see for a relentless positivity, his incisive portrait of the biracial experience and his unlikely hit single about suicide prevention, which he titled with the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, “1-800-273-8255.” Logic is also high on my daughter’s list, and I was surprised hear how familiar she was with the issues described in the song.
Camila Cabello: The Cuban-born, Miami-raised Cabello had major star written all over her when she took the stage solo at Jingle Ball 2016 to perform “Bad Things” with rapper Machine Gun Kelly. In September, she released her debut solo album, “The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving.,” and her latest single, the Young Thug collaboration “Havana,” has been inescapable. The kid is happy she’s no longer with Fifth Harmony and is especially looking forward to “Crying in the Club.” Which apparently is not about a Harry Potter book club.
Halsey: I’ve heard her latest single, “Bad at Love,” too many times. My daughter is looking forward to Halsey’s Chainsmokers collaboration “Closer,” but I don’t need to hear a bunch of tweens singing, “So baby pull me closer in the back seat of your Rover.”
Nick Jonas: He knows his niche. Jonas’ latest single, the glistening pop ballad “Find You,” fits nicely next to such club-rocking hits as “Chains,” “Jealous,” “Levels” and “Close.” My daughter: “I don’t really know him.” OK by me.
Charlie Puth: So, I am not 100 percent sure I can tell the difference between Puth and Shawn Mendes. Somehow, my life goes on. But he’s an 8 on my daughter’s scale of 1 to 10 (I think/hope she’s talking about his music talent): “He’s making more songs that are really good now, like ‘Attention,’ ‘How Long,’ all those songs.”
Fifth Harmony: My wife almost killed me for exposing our daughter to the suggestive bump-and-grind of Fifth Harmony at Jingle Ball 2016. The kid struggles to find the right words to describe what she thought of the performance, finally settling on “weird.”
Julia Michaels: She’s got “Issues,” and she also has Grammy nominations in the Best New Artist and Song of the Year categories. If the performing doesn’t work out, she can fall back on songwriting, with credits including “Sorry” (Justin Bieber), “Bad Liar” (Selena Gomez), “Heavy” (Linkin Park) and “Used To Love You” (Gwen Stefani).
Liam Payne: The One Direction member who’s not Harry Styles or Niall Horan or Zayn whatever or the other guy. His hit is titled “Strip That Down,” which you don’t want to hear your daughter singing. “It’s not one of my favorite songs, but the rhythm’s really catchy,” she says. OK. I guess.
Why Don’t We: I have no idea who these guys are, but the kid and her classmates do: “Everyone talks about them all the time. They’re big YouTubers, people say. I’ve seen the song they do, with Logan Paul, but I don’t get the big deal about them.”
Y100’s Jingle Ball is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, in Sunrise. Tickets cost $46-$244. For more information, visit Y100.iHeart.com.