Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Music & Shows

Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke coming to Tampa for Jingle Ball

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You've got just over two months to practice twerking.

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, whose tongue- and booty-wagging performance at the MTV Video Music Awards has been pop music's hottest topic for six weeks running, will headline the fifth annual 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball on Dec. 18 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa.

Joining them, the station announced Friday, are Latin heartthrob Enrique Iglesias, pop-punk trio Paramore, hip-hop hitmaker Flo Rida, tween-pop sensations Ariana Grande and Austin Mahone, R&B singer Jason Derulo, X Factor girl group Fifth Harmony and Gym Class Heroes frontman Travie McCoy. Mahone, McCoy, Fifth Harmony and indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara will also play a free preshow outside the Times Forum.

But make no mistake, the star of the show is Ms. Miley, who hasn't performed in Tampa Bay since 2009. In the past week alone, the recent Rolling Stone cover girl has hosted Saturday Night Live and released her fourth album, Bangerz, featuring the smash singles We Can't Stop and Wrecking Ball. Bangerz is poised to sell 250,000 copies this week, debuting at No. 1 on next week's Billboard 200.

Put it this way: On Tuesday, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon devoted an entire episode to Cyrus. The previous night's guest didn't get that sort of star treatment, and his name was Paul McCartney.

"She's the biggest thing in pop culture," said 93.3-FLZ program director Tommy Chuck. "It doesn't get any bigger than Miley Cyrus at the present time."

Chuck said he didn't know if Cyrus and Thicke — singer of the year's biggest single, Blurred Lines — would re-create their VMA mischief at the Jingle Ball. But that performance "definitely skyrocketed our desire to have her," he said. "We always want to try to capitalize on these big pop culture moments."

Then again, Cyrus isn't exactly a flash in the pan, either. Back in 2007, a then-14-year-old Miley played one of the hottest, squealiest concerts in Tampa history. Tickets to the show sold out in minutes; by show time, scalpers were flipping the best seats for more than $4,500. Desperate parents resorted to camping out beneath a 20-foot Hannah Montana statue for nearly a week in an attempt to win backstage passes in a contest sponsored by 93.3.

As a result of all the hysteria, for her next local show, in 2009, Cyrus and the Times Forum tried to thwart scalpers by implementing a paperless ticketing system requiring a credit card and corresponding ID for entry. It didn't seem to faze fans, as that show sold out, too.

Of course, "that was a much different Miley," Chuck said. "Now, it's like, what is she going to wear? What is she going to do? Who knows?"

Clear Channel's Jingle Ball concept — a one-night event packaging some of the year's biggest pop stars delivering nonstop hits — has been around for years, with its flagship event at New York's Z100. But as more and more stations join the fray, the broadcasting giant has turned the Jingle Ball into something like a national tour. Most of the acts in Tampa, including Cyrus and Thicke, are playing multiple Jingle Balls around the country, which is part of the reason why Tampa's concert — which in years past has taken place the second Sunday in December — has been pushed to the Wednesday before Christmas.

This year, 93.3 is doing away with its "Celeb Club," which offered food, photo opportunities with each artist and a special acoustic performance. But the station will give away a number of exclusive perks and meet-and-greet opportunities at 933flz.com.

Tickets to this year's Jingle Ball will be on sale for 93.3-FLZ Online Prize Pig club members from 5 p.m. Tuesday to 5 p.m. Wednesday; Chase cardholders from 5 p.m. Wednesday until 5 p.m. Oct. 18; and then to the general public starting at noon Oct. 19 via Ticketmaster. Prices range from $45 to $180.

Information from Times files was used in this report.

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