NEW YORK Mariah Carey played host to such acts as Jay-Z, O-Town, Enrique Iglesias and special guest Lenny Kravitz Thursday night at radio station Z100's annual pre-holiday concert jamboree, Jingle Ball.
With a tight red dress that had her cleavage popping out, M.C., who said she was "just trying to be Christmassy," welcomed the thousands of screaming teenyboppers at Madison Square Garden after openers Sugar Ray warmed them up with a brief set (Click here for photos from the event).
Craig David and Lifehouse followed, though it wasn't until Missy Elliott came on, backed by a six-man band, that the party really started. Cognizant of the young audience, Missy refrained from using profanity, even though the first song she performed was "She's a Bitch."
"They got my pants real tight," Missy said of her blue and red jeans that matched her jacket. "I can't move."
Obviously she was telling a white lie, because after a "supa dupa fly" rendition of "The Rain," Miss E went down on the floor and in the lower rafters, walking around and bonding with the fans during "One Minute Man."
"I want y'all to put your hands in the air for Aaliyah," she told the audience after she got back onstage. While "Rock the Boat" played, the fans rocked back and forth until Missy went back in the crowd for her closer, "Get Ur Freak On."
"Ain't no stopping me," she rhymed, while the people clung to her, getting hugs.
"Copy written," she continued before giving the mic to a fan to finish the line. "So don't copy me," the kid replied.
After short ballad-filled sets by Jewel and Five for Fighting singer John Ondrasik, surprise guest Jamie-Lynn Sigler introduced Enrique Iglesias, who received some of the longest and loudest screams of the show.
Girls did a slow grind for "Bailamos" and the fellas joined in dancing for "Be With You," but Enrique's grand slam hit was his grand slam hit "Hero."
"I wrote a song a year-and-a-half ago for my girlfriend, but now I have no girlfriend," he told the crowd, garnering applause from the ladies.
He then brought a 14-year-old girl onstage and sang to her, giving the teen a memory of a lifetime.
She smiled to reveal a mouth full of braces, and when she wasn't fanning herself with her hand, she held it over her mouth in disbelief while the singer put his arm around her. "I can be your hero, baby/ I can kiss away the pain," he crooned, with back-up help from the crowd.
Two contrasting girl power performances, by Alicia Keys and Pink, followed.
Keys, who is always on her concert A-game, sounded as soulful and strong as she does on record, sitting at the piano performing "Fallin'," "How Come You Don't Call Me" and "A Woman's Worth" on a second stage that was set up in the middle of the arena. Meanwhile, Pink, who was introduced by another special guest, Michelle Branch, brought a motley crew of band members and back-up singers as she bounced all over the main stage (at one point she even dropped to her knees and playfully bit the leg of her female guitarist) for "Get the Party Started," "There You Go," and "Don't Let Me Get Me."
"Sometimes I talk too much and I get on my own nerves," she explained to the audience about her inspiration for writing the tune before she belted out lines about, among other things, getting compared to Britney Spears.
Lenny Kravitz came out onstage and presented an autographed guitar to a contest winner before he sat down and watched the Jiggaman get cheers to rival those given to Iglesias earlier.
"What's up, Lenny," Jay, wearing a throwback Chicago Cubs jersey and flanked by Damon Dash, shouted out before going into "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)."
After a medley of "Money Ain't a Thang," and "Can I Get A ...," Jay amplified the already amped spectators with "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)." Seemingly infatuated with Jay, they screamed during breaks in between the songs without him even having to speak to them. When he did speak, like during his "Big Pimpin' " finale, everyone bounced.
O-Town closed the show with a sampling of their teen dream ditties: "Liquid Dreams," "Love Should Be a Crime" and the sugary "All or Nothing." For one of the male youngsters in the crowd, the answer was obviously "nothing" at least from the waist up. He ripped his T-shirt to shreds, much like wrestling star Hulk Hogan does, revealing his bird chest to his female companion.
Who says it's too early to unwrap Christmas gifts?