There are several things one can count on witnessing at the annual Q102 Jingle Ball - dance-pop hitmakers, grimacing parents, and, during its sold-out 2010 edition on Wednesday night at the Susquehanna Bank Center, young girls screeching at every mention of the name "Bieber."
The unstoppable awesomeness of Justin Bieber - the insistent scratching of the shag, the high pleading voice - was on full display. Though he just headlined a Philadelphia show a month ago, frantic fans simply weren't done with him, and he rolled out similar routines as during that November gig: his chipper opener "Love Me," which sampled the Cardigans' "Lovefool," and the bit where he told the audience he'd make one less lonely girl before his ballad "One Less Lonely Girl."
Co-headliner Adam Lambert also appeared locally in 2010 (in Philadelphia and Atlantic City), yet Glamberts weren't bored. Possessed of a powerful clarion howl, the American Idol runner-up ran through his rubbery electro and faux-metal tunes (his best was "Music Again"), again with giddy aplomb.
The best sounds of the night came from those on the first half of the bill. Sadly, a hotly anticipated appearance from Bruno Mars - Grammy nominee for his own tunes, and those he penned for others, including Cee-Lo Green's "(Expletive) You" - was canceled due to bronchitis.
An injury of a different sort didn't stop Charice, the singer who plays Sunshine Corazon on Glee. Charice, who injured a tendon playing basketball, performed seated after hobbling onto the stage with crutches. A hush came over the crowd as she ran through ballads such as "Pyramid," utilizing the sultrier lower range of her soprano voice.
The toast of Erie, the 41-year-old singer Pat Monahan and his family-friendly alterna-rocking band Train made the most of their second chance at pop stardom. A disarmingly charming vocalist, Monahan soared silkily through the ukulele-filled "Hey, Soul Sister" and the teasing "Marry Me" before taking off his T-shirt and tossing it into the audience.
Also devoid of a shirt was the night's hero, Flo Rida, who moved from host to performer upon Mars' cancellation. Though a bit raunchy (as in the dense hip-hop of "Low"), the deep-voiced MC stuck mostly to what made him a platinum success with the electro-popping "Right Round" on newer tunes such as "Club Can't Handle Me" and the pulsating rap attack "Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)."