We saw strong indications of it Sacramento, but the fancams from last night’s Z100 Jingle Ball reveal a level of command over the stage that had me wondering… Who is this scarf-strewn rocker boy?!

Z100’s Jingle Ball 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City reportedly drew a crowd of almost 16,000, easily the largest audience David has ever performed for. But did the magnitude of the crowd or the importance of the venue overwhelm and intimidate little Archie, the kid who once had to be coaxed into singing in front of small groups of relatives and friends at backyard picnics and holiday parties? On the contrary. David (I think it was David) strutted around that stage like a Mick Jagger in-training, tossed off city shout-outs like a headliner, and powered through his pop repertoire with enough passion to reach the rafters of the premiere concert arena on the planet.

Like anyone on a steep learning curve, David’s trajectory will inevitably be subject to bursts of progress, plateaus, fall-backs, and more bursts. I think the exciting thing about last night is not that it was a burst, but that we might be seeing the arrival of a new plateau. David’s marked improvement with stage dominion–the biggest gap I observed during his summer performances–has been growing more consistent, even as he steps up his game.

It bears repeating that what is ultimately most exciting about this is that David is not a stage prodigy but a vocal prodigy. Most people who gain pop music fame as teenagers do so because of their stage performance talent more than their musical ability. The reason they are inevitably challenged in their capacity to evolve their career is bacause the power of presentation is fleeting; the work is more about style than substance. David is the opposite. The fact that he is really starting to kick it up stage style is gravy–just imagine the feasts to come.