Brett Eldredge is a star. He's also 31, unmarried and a heartthrob. Yes, he's a single white male in country music, and that means he's not an underdog by any means, but he should be headlining concerts.
That became evident Saturday night when he opened for Luke Bryan at Starplex Pavilion in front of a rowdy, packed crowd. Bryan was Bryan, and if you love him — and a lot of people do — then he was everything you hoped for. He did that thing where he ground the air and shook his hips, and then he flashed that big, white, cheesy smile of his. He sang all of his hit songs, such as "Shake it for Me" and "Rain is a Good Thing," and then slowed it down. He even sang behind a piano for a small portion of the show.
Whether his grinding turns you on or off, Bryan is one of the biggest acts in country music, but Eldredge deserves the same recognition.
Rylie Johnson, a student of The Art Institute of Dallas, met Eldredge before the concert at his meet-and-greet. When Eldredge performed at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas earlier this year, he made his way to the audience and briefly sang to Johnson. Johnson captured the moment, signed the picture and presented it to Eldredge during Saturday's meet-and-greet.
"He actually said, 'I knew you looked so familiar,' and laughed," Johnson says. "He said, "This is amazing."
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Johnson says she has been a fan of Eldredge's for about five years and he is her celebrity crush. She has seen Bryan in concert three years in a row, but she says Eldredge has enough hits to be a headliner. Eldredge was the second act of the night, behind Dallas native Granger Smith. Because Eldredge's set was only 40 minutes, the audience missed out on a lot of potentially great moments from the singer.
When we spoke to Eldredge last month, he told us "Castaway" and "No Stopping You" are his two most personal songs on his third and latest album, which went No. 1 in all genres. But he didn't play either in Dallas; he only had time to play his biggest hits. The absence of "Haven't Met You" was also a missed opportunity. In the song, Eldredge sings, "You could be in Dallas or L.A.," to an imaginary girl.
For the few minutes when Eldredge wasn't singing, he brought out his dog, which has more than 85,000 Instagram followers, to perform a trick. A man in the audience said, "He's such a good boy." It wasn't clear to whom he was referring.
Some of the songs, such as "The Reason" and "Love Someone," were from Eldrege's third album. During these, the crowd stood and sang along. Eldredge has the stamina to belt the high notes and run around onstage. And he puts on a high-energy show without resorting to any corny moves.