and while the bean totally understood that her beloved BTS wouldn't be onstage for much more than maybe 5 songs, she still really wanted to go. KIIS had just announced that BTS was going to open the show, and she's convinced it's her last shot to see them live. she was telling us that according to korean law, each member has to report for mandatory military duty for 18 months - and they're all within the age range that it has to be completed in. and then one day she told me and the hub that the ONLY thing she wanted for christmas was to go to jingle ball. YARG.
the bean is not one to make up a mile-long wish list for birthdays and christmas. she's never really been into a lot of specific things. and it's almost like pulling teeth to get her to sit down and make a list for santa. and so when she said that, the hub and i realized that finding those tickets was going to be the best way to reward this kid who's a straight-A/principal's list student, works her tail off year-round at her extracurriculars, and is just a really good kid overall. not that she doesn't have her moments - i actually had to ground her from her phone for a week for a variety of offenses - but still generally pretty chill and eager to please. and so along with the old lady's help, the hub found some pretty decent seats for just an arm, rather than an arm AND a leg.
we decided to hold off on telling her until the day of the show, after trying one last time that morning on the way to school to win tickets (slightly half-heartedly on the hub's and my part because, duh). and then i went home and created a scavenger hunt of sorts to really drag out the surprise, because i'm mean like that.
i had her start with this little wrapped box that contained her first clue:
and sent her to all sorts of random places around the house, like "behind the snowman."
"bowl of ornaments."
"under the sparkly tree."
and about 3 or 4 more that the old lady said made the hunt unnecessarily long before she finally opened the big box that contained another box that contained stuffing to dig through before reaching the envelope that was wrapped in christmas paper at least twice that finally revealed the surprise. she was appropriately out of her mind with excitement, and then we told her to get herself dressed and ready in the new tee and hoodie i'd bought at the mall just that afternoon.
getting down to the fabulous forum was - well, i'm not even sure if there was a lot of traffic because i'd had an early workout that morning and totally fell asleep on the way. but when i woke up, we were sitting in the line to enter the parking lot:
the hub let us out of the car so that we could try and enter the jingle ball village, where there was a free concert and kiosks and a ferris wheel and food trucks to explore. too bad for us though, because an event staffer gave us wrong information that ended up with us scanning our tickets to enter the waiting area and then couldn't get out into the village after all. boo. but we did manage to find where the celebrities and performers were being dropped off to walk the red carpet and then enter the venue.
we found a spot to hang out where we could see and hear the village area, and stood there peoplewatching and waiting for the hub to find us.
the doors opened a little earlier than scheduled, probably because of the number of people crowded around it that had nowhere else to go and not much to do but just stand around. as we walked in we found the concession stand and grabbed some dinner, which consisted of sandwiches, chips, bottles of water and a soft pretzel.
i'm not gonna lie, that sandwich was a lot tastier than i expected. either that, or i was just extra hungry. either way, it was pretty darn good. heh. and we really did have a pretty great view from our seats, which were more than "decent" especially considering that the forum really isn't a huge arena.
as we were sitting there munching, we were approached by a girl who came over and told the bean that she was also a huge fan of the BTS member whose gear the bean was wearing and gave her a CD. this is the second time that the bean has been given swag from a fellow fan at a BTS event - remember the little hand-drawn cards someone gave us when we went to see the concert movie? this BTS army is quite a giving group.
somewhere around 7:23, the fans sitting behind the stage and on the floor nearest to the right corner of the stage started screaming their heads off. and when we got up and looked over, we caught a glimpse of white suits and camera flashes going off - BTS was getting ready to take the stage, right on time, just as promised. i guess you can't really see from this picture, but they're there, i promise.
the bean was STOKED.
see all of those little purple lights? those are "army bombs," as the bean explained. they're these fancy light sticks that you can only buy at their concerts, and during their shows they light up in unison. everyone had brought theirs to jingle ball to shower BTS with all their love.
there was a countdown, and then ryan seacrest came out to greet everyone and finally introduce BTS, who quietly took the stage (but definitely not unnoticed).
can i tell you though, that while i knew they wouldn't be there for very long i wasn't expecting them to do just THREE songs? before we knew it, they were finishing up the last song and waving as they ran off the stage. seacrest came back out accompanied by jamie foxx and his two daughters to introduce the next performer - billie eilish. and yes, my pictures are all terrible and you probably wouldn't know who's in them if i didn't tell you. sorry 'bout it.
she got to do about five songs, and i gotta say - while i'm not particularly a fan, i'm still super impressed that she's all of 17 (err...i think she actually turned 18 this week, from what seacrest said) and can get out there and deliver a great performance that has the entire audience's attention.
the "on air with ryan seacrest" crew came out to introduce the next act - katy perry.
after her came halsey, who i actually do really like. she has a great voice and she's super cute and seems like a genuinely sweet person.
normani, of the now-defunct fifth harmony, was next. she tried her hardest to engage the audience as she performed, but i was bored. and when she thrust the microphone out and yelled out "SING!" most of us just kind of looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. don't tell me what to do, normani.
camila cabello came next. i had to wonder if that was awkward backstage considering it sounded like her departure from fifth harmony was what led to the group's eventual breakup. her performance was a lot more entertaining, and she actually has songs that are recognizable.
french montana had originally been scheduled to appear, but health issues caused him to cancel and so louis tomlinson from one direction came out to fill his slot. he'd performed outside in the village earlier in the evening, but since we hadn't been able to get out there it was kind of nice to get a second chance. he did a fine job and i told the hub "he sounds like one of the beatles!" as we giggled and tried not to die because his set seemed to be extra loud.
next up was lizzo, who was completely entertaining and so much fun to watch. along with BTS, she was my favorite performer of the night. and probably because she knew there were lots of kids in the audience, she didn't use any questionable language and made sure to put lots of emphasis on the cleaned-up words she used as she sang her songs.
by this time, we were all pretty tired and kind of over it. the venue had cleared considerably since BTS left (which we all thought was kind of stupid, because it was so obvious that the majority of the ticketholders had come just for them), and only sam smith was left to perform. none of us are fans of his - like, at all - and so we decided to skedaddle outta there and avoid the stampede that would come if we waited till the very end of the show to leave. i knew the old lady would be bummed because she actually does like him and had asked us to send her videos of his portion, but i figured we could just find clips posted online.
the bean was completely exhausted by the time we got in the car - after a full day of school, the excitement of the scavenger hunt and the concert itself, she was wiped. she passed out even before we got to the freeway, and gave us sleepy hugs and smiles when we got home.
merry christmas, kid.