Fueled by cotton candy and corn dogs and bedazzled in their finest glittering tiaras, hundreds of Sonoma County's youngest music fans flocked to the Miranda Cosgrove concert Thursday night at the Chris Beck Arena in Santa Rosa.
Better known to the tween-set as Carly Shay from the Nickelodeon series "iCarly," Cosgrove entertained the young crowd at the fairgrounds for more than an hour — it was near bedtime after all — with a set of bubbly pop tunes from her recent album, Sparks Fly, and subsequent EPs.
Dressed in gold sequins and a black skirt, she pranced onstage to high-pitched squeals of young delight audible throughout the fairgrounds. And likely to any canines within a 3-mile radius.
"It's disgusting how much I love you," said a handwritten poster made by Hailey Brock, 15, of Santa Rosa, a reference to Cosgrove's song of the same name. Brock and friend Rylee Wolf, 15, of Santa Rosa were breathless with excitement as the concert began. "It's my first concert ever!" Brock said. "I can't even believe I'm seeing her," she added, jumping to the beat.
The teens were joined by younger fans, Alillya Guerra and Julia Gonzelez, both 6, also of Santa Rosa, who swayed and shook their pint-sized hips to familiar songs from the television series, which filmed its final episode recently. "I am so excited to see her for real, real, real," Guerra said.
"When I get big, I want to be a singer, too," she added.
Cosgrove, 19, follows in the footsteps of actor-singers Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, moving from the small screen to the concert stage with a built-in fan base of young admirers who've grown up watching their antics on TV.
As one of the highest-paid child actors — reportedly fetching up to $180,000 per episode for "iCarly" — Cosgrove's Facebook page has more than 5 million fans and her videos have garnered up to 7 million views on YouTube. Clearly she knows her audience, and her squeaky clean lyrics — mostly about first kisses, girl power, dancing and friends — are both mom- and kid-approved.
The brief tour, which has only a handful of dates at county fairs and amusement parks, is the continuation of her Dancing Crazy tour, which was cut short last summer after a tour bus accident in Illinois that left her with a broken ankle. She enrolls at the University of Southern California this fall, so fans may only see her performing sporadically as she hits the books.
Most seem willing, however, to keep on dancing to her upbeat music and clap along to songs like "Stay My Baby" and "Shakespeare" with the young pop star at least until they hit puberty.
Said Quinn Medin, 9, of Santa Rosa, who attended the concert with pal Johnny McGee, 11, of Windsor and their dads: "I just started screaming when I found out I was going to this concert!"
And judging from the sustained yelps and screeches throughout the night, he wasn't alone.