Take a look at this grudge match: Janet Jackson vs. Andrea Bocelli vs. the Fray! Now that's a fight! All three play Tampa Bay this Sunday: Ms. Nasty at the Straz, the exceptionally bearded opera star at the St. Pete Times Forum and the soft-popping lifesavers at Jannus Live. Where to spend your cash? If you're desperate to suck up to mom, bring her to Bocelli. If you're looking to woo that moody girl in French 101, join the Fray. And if you crave a can't-look-away brief-nudity train wreck, gawk at Janet. And if none of that turns you on, well, maybe one of these gigs will:
, Foster the People, Bush, Cage the Elephant m (1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre, Saturday) In this month of star-studded radio shows, 97X's Next Big Thing is the star-studdiest, especially with L.A.'s Foster the People, left, bringing No. 1 hit Pumped Up Kicks to town. But what's even tastier is the possibility of Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale bringing his lady love, Gwen Stefani, to our shores. It is the holiday season after all. Here's hoping she helps him deck the halls with Glycerine. (livenation.com)
Paul Simon (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Monday) There's a girl over there / With the sunshiny hair / Like a homecoming queen / I said "Hey, what'cha say, it's a glorious day/ By the way, how long you been dead?" Over a two-stepping Afropop beat, 70-year-old Paul Simon paints a puckish picture of The Afterlife as the DMV with meat-market potential. It's a great moment on the singer-songwriter's new album, So Beautiful or So What, an age-defying exercise in limber fun. Recent setlists have Simon playing new stuff on his current tour. In related news, there will be zero bathroom breaks at Monday's sold-out show. (rutheckerdhall.com)
Steve Earle and Allison Moorer (Orpheum, Dec. 9) These husband-wife roots-rockers have seen tough times during their critically beloved careers — drugs, violence, familial nightmares — but marriage and art have hopefully brought them sweeter dreams. They've been Grammy-nominated together and apart. Earle's hobo vocal can still chug, and Moorer's delivery is honey equivalent to his sore throat. And when they sing together, as on Days Aren't Long Enough, it's like a warm flask on a cold night. (theorpheum.com)
Pitbull, Demi Lovato, Jason Derulo (St. Pete Times Forum, Dec. 11) Maybe the folks behind 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball will surprise us with a late addition here. Go get Flo Rida! He'll do it! For now, however, the '11 lineup pales in comparison to Balls past. (We miss you, Bruno Mars and Train.) With the exception of Disney dilemma Demi Lovato, right, we're tired of most of these folks — Pitbull, Jason Derulo, the Script, Cobra Starship, David Guetta — although thanks to our no-good children, we admittedly know all their current hits by heart. (sptimesforum.com)
Cee Lo Green (Mahaffey Theater, Dec. 28) Portly party-starter Cee Lo Green has had two of the biggest hits of the century: 2006's Crazy with tripsters Gnarls Barkley and last year's incendiary solo smash Forget You (not to mention its more profane uncensored version). But the 37-year-old eccentric is more than a two-song sensation. A progenitor of the Atlanta hip-hop scene with the Goodie Mob, the man born Thomas DeCarlo Callaway is also a champion of flashy '80s R&B in the Cameo Word Up style. Expect the unexpected — and a lot of zany outfits — at his first-ever St. Pete show. (themahaffey.com)
Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life blog is at tampabay.com/blogs/poplife.