Nov. 28--MINNEAPOLIS -- Selena Gomez threw a party last week, and all her friends and fans were invited.
Gomez, 21, turned the Target Center into her own dance club, with loud thumping beats, neon lights, lots of choreographed dancing, all in a nice PG-rated event.
Over her 15-song, 75-minute set (including four costume changes), Gomez kept her teen-beat party going. Early in the set, she sang the pop hit "Round & Round," showing off her tight midriff in a white dress. She returned later in a sparkly purple outfit and belted out "Stars Dance" and "Love You Like a Love Song."
A bit later, she switched to a long black dress and sang her one ballad of the night, "Love Will Remember." Before the song, the video screen showed clips of paparazzi following her and talking about a breakup (without mentioning Justin Bieber by name). Her voice cracked a few times here, but it added to her performance, as it showed emotion that was otherwise absent during her set.
Of course, she saved the big dance numbers, "Come & Get It" and "Slow Down," to end the show, with confetti cannons and streamers filling the air with debris.
Most of her set list came from her new album, "Stars Dance," which was released in July. Thus, a lot of her bubblegum pop from her 2009 disc was skipped as she stuck to the dance-flavored tracks. I personally would have rather heard her sing "Naturally" or "Ghost of You" instead of the irritating club-number "Birthday."
Gomez, like her friend Taylor Swift, embraces her role model status. Her songs are clean and kid-friendly, and much of the audience consisted of teens and preteen girls. She didn't address the crowd much, but she encouraged the girls to embrace who they are and let them know they are all beautiful, before launching into her upbeat tune "Who Says." Sure, Gomez took a turn on the wild side this year in her role in the R-rated movie "Spring Breakers," but she has otherwise kept up her squeaky-clean image.
It's a sad statement that Miley Cyrus -- who also turned 21 this week -- dominates the headlines for pushing the boundaries of good taste. Gomez is far prettier and has a much better voice, but she refuses to sink to Cyrus' depths just to be in the spotlight.
Gomez has spent much of her life in the public eye, from the TV show "Wizards of Waverly Place" to her roles in movies such as "Monte Carlo" and "Ramona and Beezus."
I'd compare this concert to seeing Taylor Swift or Rihanna in concert, although without the gigantic, changing set pieces. Gomez did have a large S-shaped walkway into the crowd, allowing her to get closer to her adoring fans.
Perhaps 7,000 people attended the show Nov. 21, as the lower deck was full but just a light smattering of fans was upstairs. Opening for Gomez was a boy band dubbed Emblem3, who clearly want to be the next wave of Backstreet Boys or One Direction. They sounded all right, and the crowd dominated of teen girls definitely approved.
Vetter can be reached at 715-723-0303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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