18 Oct 2011

Disney princess Selena Gomez thrills tween crowd at Dome

Call it a cop out. Term it fear of a tween female planet. Or consider it merely savvy corporate relations (Illuminati, shmilluminati — Uncle Walt’s Empire is what really pulls the strings).

Whatever the case, putting finger to keypad and offering a critical take on Disney princess Selena Gomez’s sold-out Saddledome show Monday night is a fool’s errand and about as constructive and useful as shampooing instructions. So best to get out of the way of the wonderful, Waverly juggernaut and, instead, get a handle on what exactly it is that’s giving Ms. Gomez her magic.

Wandering around outside the ’Dome two-and-a-half hours before the show, there were already thousands of young Gomerz (if that isn’t a thing, it is now) wanting to warm up their young lungs by offering their takes on what it is about the 19-year-old actress and singer.

Actually, it was twice as crowded and festive outside the building as it has been for some other recent concerts the building has hosted, with the gaggle of predominantly preteen gals (inside men’s restrooms had been commandeered for the fairer sex) milling about expectantly, waiting in line to have their pictures taken in front of a cardboard cut-out of the star. Or — because, presumably, the Magic Kingdom is in need of some minor repairs and landscaping — they were waiting in an even longer line for the right to purchase everything from T-shirts at $40-bucks-a-pop or photo-heavy programs for a mere $25. (The lineups for the many merch booths inside, by the way, were even that much more redonkulous.)

Thirteen-year-olds Alyssa Gooding and her pal Tianna Haskell were two of the happy, placard-bearing souls seeking a souvenir prior to the performance, driven to town from Medicine Hat by mom Jane Haskell — who confessed to being a fan herself — and with elder sis Kajia Miller, 19. Their take on the whole Gomez phenomenon was sweet and succinct.

“She’s pretty and she has awesome songs,” Gooding said with a grin.

That was what had many of the fans in attendance — the performer’s family-friendly, saccharine dance-pop, which has yielded a number of hit singles with her band The Scene, including Naturally, A Year Without Rain and Love You Like a Love Song.

For her part, the young Haskell agreed with her friend but added another piece to the puzzle. “She’s, like, awesome, and she’s dating Justin Bieber, which is pretty cool,” she said.

Ah, the Bieber factor. Certainly not something to be taken lightly. The Proactiv power couple have been together for several months and Gomez has suffered both the wrath of the jealous, Justin-enamoured — actual death threats in texthand — and a little contact fame and goodwill.

There were many who were at Monday night’s show — and probably for every other one during the tour — who were hoping to catch a glimpse of the Canadian superstar.

“I was actually looking forward to seeing him, but he’s in South America on a tour,” said 10-year-old Calgarian Emily Marko. “So I was kinda bummed.” (Behold the power of social media and the online savvy of the kids: Most fans were not only aware he wasn’t there, but even knew he was in Peru. Did you even know what a “Peru” was at that age?)

Apparently, though, it’s a generational thing, as her concertmates, sister Olivia and her friend Eve Alexander, both eight, were soooo not about the Biebs. “No, I hate him,” said Olivia.

Well, that’s probably the best for 12-year-old Lance Gordon, one of the few males in attendance. Sitting in a cowboy hat, off to the side while his sister Kyla, 10, had her pic snapped with the two-dimensonal Gomez, he was asked if the whole reason he was there is because he was hoping to get a little residual goodwill and shrieked appreciation from those with Bieber-fever.

“Maybe,” he said sheepishly.

Actually, as Kyla was quick to say, her brother’s presence at the show was part of an even more significant passage into manhood, as it was the night before the celebration of his 13th year. “It’s a gift for me and a birthday gift for him,” she said.

True, their mom piped in from a distance that it was a punishment for how mean he’d been to his sister lately, but Lance admitted he was OK with the whole Gomez thing, even if it isn’t entirely his type of music. And that is?

“Country — so Brad Paisley,” he said, not surprisingly. “And Nickelback, I went (to see) here a couple of times.”

Sadly, that latter one is a puzzle that shall remain, like the Caramilk bar, forever a mystery.

As for Gomez, well, minus the boyfriend factor and even the marketing power, her show was exactly what you’d expect and what the 14,000 kids wanted — all lights and sparkly gowns and overly rehearsed dance steps, with her adequate voice buried under the musical equivalent of such trappings. In fact, well into the show, after boisterous versions of such material as A Year Without Rain, Hit the Lights, Round and Round and Love You Like a Love Song, it was hard not to see it as little more than another Disney attraction, a mechanical, well-oiled show. Kind of like Country Bear Jamboree. Except not country. And more bosomy.

And to go into further description would just be foolish.


Selena Gomez performed Monday night at the Saddledome. Attendance: Sold out.

No comments:

Post a Comment