JESSE MCCARTNEY AND JORDIN SPARKS, Abravanel Hall, Monday

A deep bass shook the wall of Abravanel Hall on Monday as Jesse McCartney and Jordin Sparks smeared their bubble-gum hip-pop music all over the gold decor and chandeliers of the venue. The place was a party as teeny-boppers bounced to the music in padded chairs.

McCartney only had to show his face to bring the hall to a nice respectable scream level. And justifiably so. The cute 20-year-old is coming into his own Justin Timberlake style vocally, lyrically and choreographically.

McCartney and his two backup singer/dancers flew through the first three songs of the set with deafening screams from the audience drowning out the lyrics.

McCartney's "throwback" song from way back in 2004, "Beautiful Soul," got the crowd doing Olympic-synchronized singing and swooning. Audience members didn't skip a beat when he started into "It's Over," "Into Ya" and "Rock You" from his latest, and apparently not unfamiliar, album "Departure."

The set took a dramatic turn while McCartney's backup singers sang Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl" and McCartney asked the crowd who was his girl. It seemed like fun and games until he actually picked at random a girl from the audience to come and sit on the stage.

He sang to and danced with the unsuspecting girl. The looks of envy from every girl in the audience made the whole concert worth it.

McCartney's hourlong set ended with the audience favorite "Leavin'."

Jordin Sparks was not lacking in cheers from the audience but suffered from not being the heartthrob of the night. Sparks was very animated and almost melodramatic as she sang the songs that "meant so much to her."

Hit songs "One Step at a Time" and "Tattoo" got the crowd dancing, yet Sparks never seemed satisfied with the amount of audience participation. She told the crowd to get up several times.

Sparks was likable and related well with audience members, asking "Have you ever liked a guy and he didn't like you back, and then when you didn't like him, he liked you?"

Needless to say, the crowd, made up largely of females between 10 and 15, screamed.

But her performance was reminiscent of "American Idol" and slightly karaoke-ish as she sang songs by Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder and Patti Griffin.

Sparks' voice and performance were boosted by a talented band that stole the stage in a jazzlike jam session during the Wonder hit "Superstition."

After a couple slower ballads, Sparks left the stage on a high note with her hit featuring Chris Brown, "No Air."

It seemed that after belting out her hourlong set, Sparks almost went hoarse. As did most of the crowd.


E-mail: mbennett@desnews.com