Keeping in tradition with what has become one of the most highly anticipated holiday celebrations in Los Angeles, last night's 2014 KIIS FM Jingle Ball was a night of joy, glamor, and high octane performances.
The sea of guests who rolled into the Staple Center sporting glow-in-the-dark VIP bands and gold temporary tattoos (which they were gifted with at the door) were already shrieking with excitement when the lights in the stadium went down.
A countdown then appeared on the large screen, and as soon as it reached "one," the unmistakable long, lean silhouette of none other than Taylor Swift herself appeared on the stage—the crowd collectively roared with glee.
After explaining that she was struggling with laryngitis, but "would never miss this," Tay Tay immediately jumped into "Blank Space," and began throwing every inch of herself into the song, gracefully owning the stage with her signature dramatic flair.
This epic kick off gave way to a set by Taylor that was anything but sickly: an impassioned version of "Trouble" (which she did ask the for the audience's help with), and a reflective throwback to one of her early hits, "Romeo and Juliet," all culminated with 18,000 people dancing along giddily to "Shake It Off."
Taylor's commanding performance set the tone for a night of powerhouse women—and that is how you start a show.
And Jessie J.'s energetic performance of "Burnin' Up"—which she delivered while sporting LA gear:
Then, of course, there was Ariana Grande.
This petite firecracker bounced around the stage in a flirty Mrs. Claus 'fit, and was not shy about showing off the pipes that have made her and international sensation. Keeping in the night's festive spirit, she made our holiday wishes come true by performing her excellent new song "Santa Tell Me" off her holiday EP Christmas Kisses.
She then brought Jessie J. back for a duet of "Bang Bang," the divas' mutual collaboration with Nikki Minaj.
And she followed that up with two other collaborations—one with her duet partner The Weeknd for "Love Me Harder":
And one, more personal collab with her boyfriend Big Sean for their newest duet "Best Mistake." They previously performed the song at "A Very Grammy Christmas" but reprised it again for the Jingle Ball.
Ummm, PDA guys?! They don't seem to mind the cameras capturing their affection anymore. They are just toooo cute.
But there were two gentlemen in particular who brought heart, soul, and the kind buttery vocals that can make a throng of ladies collectively weak in the knees.
Surprise guest Ed Sheeran gave a captivating and emotionally raw performance.
And finally, the penultimate performer Sam Smith delivered his signature goose bump inducing vocals to a blanket of wavering cell phone lights.
Smith had learned only earlier that day that he had been nominated for several Grammys—including Album of the Year—and his joy seem to fuel a version of "Stay With Me" that was so sensual, a figurative bundle of mistletoe seemed to cloak the entire stadium.
Just as Smith's sensitive stylings had brought the whole house to a place of deep reflection, the boys of 5SoS came out to close out the night with the high energy, mischievous antics that sent fans in the crowd into a screaming frenzy.
It was so intense that it would not have been surprising to see the roof of the Staples Center fly off and away to the North Pole!
But the holiday spirit kept everyone calm, and closed out a wonderful night of festive, pop-infused celebrations. This Christmas concert is one tradition that never fails to impress.