Concert Reviews

Selena Gomez Proved She Is Pop Star-Worthy at American Airlines Center

Selena Gomez
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Saturday, June 18, 2016

What makes a pop star? There are plenty of young people who have talent. We see them each season on The Voice and American Idol. They audition, make a name on the show, release an album, and most of the time we never hear from them again. So what are they missing? What is the secret ingredient that draws thousands of teenagers into an arena to watch an hour-and-a-half-long set of pure pop music? 

Before reviewing the pop star in question, Selena Gomez’s, concert, I had it in my mind that she wasn’t going to impress me. She didn’t have Demi Lovato’s voice, Taylor Swift’s fanbase or Britney Spears’ dance moves. So what was the appeal? How did she manage to fill American Airlines Center on Saturday night?

Gomez, who grew up in Grand Prairie, is a put-together product in the best way. Starting her career as a child on Barney and Friends and then going through the Disney machine (TV shows, original movies and albums), she’s now all grown up and wants you to know it. Whether it was the videos that played in between songs of a nude Gomez barely covering herself with her hands, or the brief mention of her age (23), she was sure to remind the audience that this wasn’t a Disney show anymore. 
Whatever Gomez lacks (vocal range or coordination, for instance), she makes up for it with her intelligence. She’s smart enough to know to only play her big hits (even though “The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants” was noticeably missing from Saturday's setlist), Gomez knows when to join her 10 or so backup dancers and when to just rely on flipping her hair. She also knows that half a dozen or so costume changes will keep a crowd interested.

The concert was broken up into several sections, largely dictated by those costume changes. The beginning section gave the crowd a sexier theme as she sang “Same Old Love” in black pantyhose. The ending, meanwhile, offered a more rock 'n' roll theme with “Revival” (the namesake of the tour) and a large fur coat while she dragged the mic stand around the stage and tossed her long, wavy hair back and forth.

Many times when you go to one of these pop shows, the fans are half the attraction. But for whatever reason, the crowd who came to see the superstar in her hometown (Gomez mentioned more than once how happy and nervous she was to be playing at AAC) did not bring homemade T-shirts or signs, they showed up, sang some songs with her and went home. Gomez may have grown into a full-fledged star, but she hasn't quite hit the level of ravenous fandom.
"Same Old Love"
"Come And Get It"
"Good For You"
"Slow Down"
"Love You Like A Love Song"
"Hands To Myself"
"Who Says"
Cover of Hillsong’s "Transfiguration"
"Me And My Girls"
"Me And The Rhythm"
"Body Heat"
Cover of Eurythmic’s "Sweet Dreams"
"Kill Em With Kindness"
"I Want You To Know"
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner