Mall of America's music: Top-drawing acts since 2002

taylor-swift-cohen.jpg
Steve Cohen for City Pages
Over the past decade, bubble gum pop stars from Taylor Swift to Mariah Carey drew crowds as large as 15,000 people to the mall's rotunda, jamming up the lines at Claire's with screaming throngs of pre-teens. A quick call to MOA media relations confirmed that there aren't any artists on the books for 2010, but there are "some things in the works," according to media relations specialist Erika Dao, who says many acts are often scheduled last minute. You can get a good idea of what kind of music could be coming up at the mall by reviewing this list of top-drawing acts who have played the MOA over the past decade.

Largest MOA crowds since 2002, according to MOA media relations:
10. Kelley Pickler, 2006 (3,000)
9. Taylor Swift, 2006 (3,500)
8. Taylor Swift, 2007, (5,000)
7. Ashley Tisdale, 2007 (5,500)
6. New Kids On The Block, 2008 (7,000)
5. Kenny Chesney, 2002, (8,000)
4. Jonas Brothers, 2007 (8,500)
3. Rascal Flats, 2007 (10,000)
2. (tie) Mariah Carey, 2002, (15,000)
2. (tie) Kenney Chesney, 2003 (15,000)
1.  Ashley Simpson, 2004 (17,000)

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera and 'N Sync all packed the mall's rotunda with screaming teenagers for Sam Goody-sponsored appearances. Fun fact: N'Sync had to cut their autograph session short after falling victim to a water balloon attack.

These acts hardly had to step off the plane and drive 10 minutes to pick up easy publicity in just a few hours. But can good music ever thrive at a mega mall?


Disney sweetheart Ashley Tisdale performed at the rotunda in July for the premier of the PG movie Alien's in the Attic. During the sound check, the only riff she plays on guitar is the first part of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin, which is strange.



Reunited 90's boy band New Kids On The Block (sans Mark Wahlberg) picked up a new generation of preteen recruits with their off-sync performance for the Best Buy grand opening in August 2008.




Mariah Carey broadcast this performance from MOA live on the Today show in 2002 to "reconnect with her fans."

If you love megamall music but hate pop (that doesn't make sense), there's always Tuesday night karaoke at Kantina #1. Sorry to all of those who planned to check out the live music performances at MOA restaurant Crave on Friday and Saturday nights in 2010 -- they've been canceled due to budget constraints, according to an employee.

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