Review: JoJo’s Rockin’ Christmas by Jojo Siwa


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On November 13th, children’s pop star Jojo Siwa released a 4 song Christmas EP entitled  Jojo’s Rockin’ Christmas. The EP has had little hype around it — barring some TikTok discourse around her sexuality a few months ago, the former Dance Moms star has recently been relatively quiet to anyone who isn’t a parent of a six-year-old.

Jojo’s Rockin’ Christmas opens with a jejune take on Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph.” While it goes without saying that this version pales next to Berry’s, it’s nowhere near as painful as “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town.” The unnecessary ad-libs make this 10 minute EP feel like a double album. To make things worse, Jojo then combines her excoriating overstimulation with a sappy ballad on “Where Are You Christmas.” You know that one uncle without kids that always buys the noisiest, flashiest toys for their nieces and nephews, just because they know it’ll drive their sibling insane? This album is the sonic equivalent to that entire experience, from the snot-nosed kids exultantly setting off the sirens on their new toys to the smug look on that uncle’s face to the exhausted parents just begging for somebody to make it stop.

The EP closes with the only Siwa composition on the tracklist. It’s the same catchy faux-empowering fodder that listeners have come to expect at this point. Her schtick is easy to hate, but it’s what’s earned Siwa fame, fortune, numerous tours, and inclusion in Time magazine’s most influential people list of 2020. Kim Kardashian West, the author of Siwa’s Time profile, says the pop star is “a great role model for children, and her optimism is more necessary now than ever.” 

Contrary to what all this recognition might suggest, Siwa’s repertoire included just nine original songs when I saw her play at Forest Hills Stadium two summers ago. To beef out the show’s running time (which, according to my friend who worked the event, was the cause of a pre-show fit), Jojo stopped lip-syncing to do a fabulously off-key segment of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Throughout the concert, Siwa made a few not-so-subtle jabs at the folks that had allegedly tried to keep her from performing at her best. So much for bouncing back like a boomerang. 

I fully recognize the sexist culture around critiquing popular things made for little girls. It’s not my goal to buy into that. But something isn’t right when America’s chosen pint-sized #GirlBoss complains about the obstacles she’s faced in her remarkably charmed life to a live audience of impressionable seven-years-olds, all whilst continuing to be lauded as a beacon of positivity. While most of us probably have better things to do than listen to a lackluster Christmas album aimed at an audience half our age, it’s important to consider the culture being shoved down children’s throats. There’s nothing wrong with rainbows and candy stores, but no one should herald Siwa’s perpetual whining as a model for young children. Perhaps petulance and artificiality isn’t something pop music for children will ever escape, but it’s clear that a former reality TV star who whines incessantly between songs about optimism and resilience is not who children should be turning towards as a model of womanhood.