When the BET Scream Tour 5 buses pulled into Chicago for the Thursday, December 28 concert, the ladies from the Chi were throwing on their hottest gear and heading out to see their favorite rough, ready, young and sexy men. This WGCI Big Jam performance was missing Mario from the original lineup but the crowd was pleased by the other attendees including desirable male acts Ne-Yo and Omarion at the foot of the bill. The tour was kicked off with performances by Jibbs, Sammie, Yung Joc, Pretty Ricky and Chicago's own, One Chance. Not a shabby lineup at all and though the Allstate Arena wasn't quite filled to it's 18,500-person capacity when the Chicago artists started singing on stage, it sure did sound like it was. By the end of the first act, the tour was living up to its name with thousands of screaming fans. One Chance, recently signed to Usher's US Records, was definitely at home on stage and had the ladies in the crowd swaying to their hit "So Emotional" as they showed off their washboard stomachs. Excitement really kicked in as the crowd got crunk to "Look At Her" as the familiar music video played on the big screen.
Next up was Jibbs giving us a taste of his debut album Jibbs Feat. Jibbs. With dancers introducing his act with their quick feet, Jibbs gave a great show performing album hits, "King Kong" and of course, just as the crowd was waiting for, "Chain Hang Low." Then, after a short break, Motown artist Sammie was representing his self-titled sophomore set. The kid crooner who came out in 2000 with songs, "Crazy Things I Do" and "I Like It" is back now, 18-years old and ready to woo the ladies. Many of the girls in the arena seemed to have grown up with the artist and he gained much approval with his performance of the old-school hits. Switching back into grown-up mode, Sammie performed songs from his latest CD. Flashing his innocent dimple just as much as his blazing earring, he drove the ladies crazy with the new tracks "You Should Be My Girl," "I Can't" and "Come With Me."
As if the stage wasn't "pretty" enough with plenty of eye-catching male artists displaying their stuff, Pretty Ricky was about to emerge. Before they did, a larger--than-life poster of the four brothers of BlueStar Entertainment fell from the ceiling. The foursome appeared in all gold suits; Slick 'Em and Spectactular ready for the lights in dark shades and Pleasure and Baby Blue with all eyes on the crowd. These boys hold nothing back when it comes to ornate appearances. The band of brothers started stepping in sync with their white gloves waving in the air. With plenty of moves to put the ladies on cloud nine, the boys reiterated time and time again that they were trying to keep this show "clean." Though the shrieks from the audience hinted that the concert-goers wouldn't mind either way, the boys managed to get their sex appeal across in a very respectable way. They did not refrain from singing their Bluestars track, "Juicy" as well as past hits, "My Body" and "Grind With Me" (which the audience preferred over the clean version titled "Ride With Me"). Though their latest album Late Night Special doesn't drop until January 23, the crowd was taking to the new tracks nicely. The stadium went crazy for "On The Hotline" and got excited to be part of the celebration, as the added bonus was that it was Pleasure's birthday.
Yung Joc stepped to the stage and it was like a whole new party was just getting started. Joc barked into the microphone with his signature sound and then warmed up the crowd by taking the "parents" back to some old-school sounds. Everyone of all ages was dancing to Zapp & Roger, Keith Sweat, Notorious B.I.G. and Usher, and then it was Yung Joc's turn to impress us with the track, "1 st Time" from the 2006 CD New Joc City. He then sped things back up with "I Know You See It" and "It's Goin' Down."
Next up was the song-writer and performer well-known as Ne-Yo. The Def Jam man had the audience under his spell from the time we watched him on video before he hit the stage. When he emerged, he was definitely representing for Chicago in a gleaming Bulls jacket. Using fireworks and a back screen like no one else at this show had used yet, Ne-Yo was at the beginning of a stunning performance starting with salsa dancing. Breaking into "When You're Mad" Ne-Yo overtook the crowd and he continued to make his way into our hearts with "So Sick." With three keyboardists, one drummer, one DJ and plenty of sexy backup dancers, the writer of songs such as Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" and Rihanna's "Unfaithful," performed flawlessly. After taking a short break, Ne-Yo returned to the stage with "Let Go" and slowed down things a bit more with "Time," which was performed with an interpretive dancer. By the time Ne-Yo sang "Sexy Love," it was obvious the crowd didn't want the StompTheYard actor to go anywhere. Unfortunately, after lots of dancing and plenty of heart-breaking, Ne-Yo had to leave the stage to make room for headliner Omarion.
By no means was anyone left complaining once the former B2K boy was referenced. First, a clip from the upcoming movie SomebodyHelpMe, in which Omarion co-stars, was shown. Then, a large, lit-up "O" appeared and the crowd, formerly hushed by the clip, started screaming for the star. Omarion came to the stage and ditched his coat as he began to showcase his dancing skills as he and his male backup dancers pop-locked and maneuvered around the stage during "Touch." Paying tribute to his musical roots, Omarion showed the B2K video "Bump, Bump, Bump" as he sang a version of the hit. After the acknowledgement for his former group, Omarion went on to do short tributes to James Brown, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and New Edition. Next was a wardrobe change and Omarion was in a tuxedo jacket. His male and female dancers converged in stage in red and black and had a dance off, offering another opportunity for Omarion to show off the hard-hitting dance moves he's known for. The audience was filled with hand-made "O" signs showing love for the performer. Fittingly, the next song was "O" from the self-titled album as white smoke effects filled the stage. The end of the song was as dramatic as the video with the help of a female dancer doing fancy footwork under faux fireworks. "Entourage" from Omarion's latest CD 21 was next, just before the dancers put on phantom masks and Omarion finished big with "Ice Box." The crowd headed back out into the cold satisfied after a night of heat with some of the hottest boys in music.