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Ring in the season with Jingle Jam at Gwinnett arena

Jason Mraz swears he will be juggling poodles during his set at Thursday's Jingle Jam. The singer-songwriter, however, may not be telling the absolute truth about his upcoming performance at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

He'll definitely be singing songs from his latest album, "Mr. A-Z," but poodles are probably not going to be part of the show. Still, even if the singer doesn't appear onstage with trained dogs at the Jingle Jam, there may be poodles - or at least a song about them - in his future.

Mraz, who is part of an online songwriters' group that receives weekly challenges, could end up writing about pink fluffy poodles or something equally as random. No matter what word or phrase is assigned to the group, each member must finish a song about it within 24 hours.

"It doesn't matter what it is or how you record it, you just get it done," Mraz said during a recent phone interview.

Past topics have included the theme song from "Mork and Mindy" and sewing machines. The phrase "cold German" was another topic.

"That one, I absolutely hated, but I had to do it," Mraz said.

Though Mraz's cold German song probably won't appear word for word on his next CD, it may influence a lyric or melody. Mraz will definitely be using some of his songwriting assignments as source material.

"When I'm ready work on the next album, I'll go back to these," Mraz said.

Most of his work, however, is more personal than the random songwriting assignments. "Mr. A-Z," which was released in July, features songs that are all about him.

But even though Mraz writes primarily about his life, he doesn't share everything with the public. "There's a ton of stuff I'll never put out," he said.

Right now, he's concentrating on recording and performing songs that have an optimistic outlook. Still, that doesn't mean he never writes the blues.

"I do write miserable and sad songs when I'm feeling that way," Mraz said.

But don't expect to hear any of those at Thursday's show. "I don't want to tour with anything that's sad and depressing," Mraz said.

At the Jingle Jam, he will definitely be in the holiday spirit - even if there are no poodles.

If you go

•What: Star 94's T-Mobile Jingle Jam

•Who: Jason Mraz, Howie Day, Gavin DeGraw and Switchfoot

•When: 7 p.m. Thursday

•Where: The Arena at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.

•Cost: Tickets are $27, $37 and $42.

•Info: Call 770-813-7500 or visit www.gwinnettcenter.com or www.ticketmaster.com.