Selena Gomez Delivers Pop Spectacle

Don’t call it a revival just yet, but it’s close

Selena Gomez and Joe Jonas have grown up. During their performances at the Frank Erwin Center on Friday, the two former Disney stars proved they’re no longer the young, awkward adolescents of Wizards of Waverly Place and Camp Rock.

Joe Jonas, right (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Joe Jonas, 27 in August, is no stranger to large stadium tours given his history with preteen millennial sensation the Jonas Brothers. Unlike his brother Nick Jonas, who ventured down the path of blue-eyed soul – the Justin Timberlake paradigm – Joe Jonas finds comfort as the frontman of a DNCE band. The group brandishes sugar pop buoyantly, their hooks translating well to an arena.

DNCE breezed through singles off their EP Swaay, including the ridiculously FM radio-friendly “Cake by the Ocean” and slick electro-kissed ballad “Toothbrush.” They also descending into a disco-funk rendition of Prince’s “Kiss.” Jonas’ boy band roots, ditched!

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Unlike him, Selena Gomez, 24 next month, grew up in public. Millions peered into her life both good and the bad, beginning with her Disney streak (2007-2012), then obsessive speculation over on-and-off flame Justin Bieber, body shame via party crasher movie Spring Breakers, a Billboard single churner with 2015 sophomore platter Revival, and now a Pantene-sponsored beauty campaign.

While the Texan from Grand Prairie broke into the music industry with 2011 glitz confection “Love You Like A Song,” she now has a full-fledged stage to back up her burgeoning pop star status: mountain-sized props, three high-rise screens, and confetti canons. In a black sheer leotard, she opened with Revival’s “Same Old Love,” her voice ricocheting between confident femme fatale to a muddled self-restraint that ultimately won out. Even in the strut of Bollywood jam “Come and Get It,” Gomez’s voice got lost in the crosshairs of jarring synths and overwhelming arena instrumentation.

She launched through another string of hits wearing a skin-tight black leather catsuit, crawling down a metallic chair center stage through minimalistic bedroom burner “Good for You” and a cabaret-themed “Hands to Myself.” Revved with sex appeal, her performance of oldie “Love You Like A Love Song” lost its original charm and doe-eyed innocence. Stuck between celebrity life and maintaining privacy while also maturing as an artist but keeping it PG appropriate for teeny-boppers, Gomez finds herself struggling to translate such complexity onstage.

“You’ve probably seen too much of my life,” she admitted before a cover of Hillsong Worship’s praise ode “Transfiguration,” the most intimate moment of her set. “Thank you for not judging me.”

Although moving, the song didn’t come without its awkward stares as an artsy and primal montage of her naked body covered in tar accompanied the performance.

Seguing into the last part of the 90-minute set, songs like the bombastic “Me & My Girls” and sensual “Body Heat” became a Dia De Los Muertos reverie filled with two giant balloon roses that cradled the stage with skull masks and Spanish bullfighting costumes. She may not have the star pipes of Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, but she’s having fun in her rave glitz spectacle filled with sequins, kinetic dance electronics, and confetti canons, employed for a cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” and Zedd-assisted banger “I Want You to Know.”

Not sold on a Selena Gomez revival? She is.

Full photo gallery.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

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Selena Gomez, Walt Disney, Wizards of Waverly Place, Joe Jonas, Jonas Brothers, Camp Rock, DNCE, Prince, Justin Bieber, Hillsong Worship, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Euryhtmics, Zedd

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