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December 15, 2009 7:17 PM

Eye, Fashion

Jingle All The Way

The author's daughter, center, with two friends at the Jingle Ball. On Friday night, a horde of prepubescent girls and their parents descended on Madison Square Garden for the Z-100 Jingle Ball presented by H&M. Last year, I took...

The author's daughter, center, with two friends at the Jingle Ball.
On Friday night, a horde of prepubescent girls and their parents descended on Madison Square Garden for the Z-100 Jingle Ball presented by H&M. Last year, I took my daughter, a Z-100 fan, to the radio station's Zootopia concert. A glutton for punishment, I agreed to accompany her and two friends to this musical extravaganza.

"OMG, our seats are on the floor!" my daughter screams. "I'm so excited!"


We're sitting in the second row of Madison Square Garden, spitting distance from the stage.


I'm surrounded by teens jumping up and down to "Great Escape" by Boys Like Girls as their parents gyrate uncomfortably. A camera operator near the stage shoots my daughter and her two friends every time he turns to film the audience. They scream when they see their image on the Jumbotron. "That was number 11!" my daughter says. I'm thankful that a heavyset woman is blocking me.


Jordin Sparks begins her set as I leave to get drinks, paying nearly $14 for two small (warm) bottles of water and a pretzel. When I return, Sparks is singing her hit, "Battlefield," wearing a black tight-fitting dress with back illusion sleeves and bodice.
John Mayer, who's up next, seems hopelessly out of place here. The irony of the situation isn't lost on the singer. "Thank you for giving us such a warm welcome. I'm John Mayer and I'm 32 years old. Age is just a high number that makes you feel bad in the morning." He may as well have said he was 52.


Mayer cedes the stage back to Justin Beiber and the crowd goes positively apoplectic. Beiber, a 15-year-old phenom, looks like a pint-size Zac Efron-in-training and is a heartthrob for this demographic. He invites a girl to the stage, gives her a bouquet of roses and serenades her with his song "Lonely Girl."


"She looks like a chipmunk," daughter and her friends grouse. "Why did he choose her? I wish it was me!"


"Justin Beiber, I want to have your babies," screams a girl behind me. Beiber may be getting more applause than the night's headliner, Taylor Swift. He sits on a stool and is handed a guitar. "He's a lefty," shouts a girl. "Just like me!"


Girls holding aloft Yankee baseball caps and Beiber CDs fill the center aisle and push toward the stage. You've got to hand it to him - the kid knows how to work the crowd. He forms his fingers into the shape of a heart and holds them in front of his baby face. By the audience's reaction, you would have thought it was - a Justin Beiber concert.

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