On Tuesday, July 21, the fans at Darien Lake Center for the Performing Arts were treated to a great performance by none other than original “American Idol” winner, Kelly Clarkson. Kelly was in town promoting her latest album “Piece by Piece.” I remember being a little girl watching the deciding factor between her and Justin Guarini. Ever since that night in June, 2002, America has watched the songstress grow into a superstar.
I feel Kelly could have had better choices in her line up, but they each brought their own flavor to the mix. To kick the show off was Abi Ann, a country-esque vocalist, the highlight of the act was her back up singer Jennifer Waris, who is a Buffalo native which I thought was a nice treat. Abi was a delight to have on stage and she had great energy on stage and decent vocal range. She dazzled the crowd for the 20 minutes she was on stage.
Following right behind her was Eric Hutchinson, who did not impress me in the slightest. I went into his set with high hopes because I heard some good feedback from my previous research. I felt Eric may have been having an off day. It looked as if he was trying to give it his all but his voice didn’t want to match the body language. He was falling flat and seemed very out of key but had some moments that made my ears perk up and smile. For an encore he covered Taylor Swift`s “Shake it Off.” He made it his own in a good way and put a little twist to it but unfortunately it was not received well from the crowd.
Pentatonix opened up for Kelly and I had never heard of them until then. I must say I am hooked! They are an a capella group that covers songs from Ariana Grande to Christmas songs like “Silent Night.” They have such chemistry on stage and I was nothing but impressed by them. The notes the tenor Mitch Grassi hits are out of this world, he left my jaw dropped to the floor.
Then, as they left the stage and about a half hour past, then the lights dimmed and fans screamed. We knew exactly what was coming. Once Kelly got on staged and started singing you can almost see she was slightly uncomfortable in her own skin. She danced around barefoot on stage and seemed so full of energy. She didn’t seem like she knew what to do or where she fit in.
Past the body language Kelly interacted with her fans in an adoring manner and had this spunky personality that I couldn’t get enough of. There were a few highlights of the night that really stood out to me.
Kelly had one lucky YouTube winner perform a song of their choosing. A young Jamie Grace came to the stage and covered Taylor Swift’s “Trouble.” She was talented in her own right and made that song her own. I thought this particular things was a great idea and it showed some humbleness on Kelly`s part. The show became about Grace and not solely about Kelly for those four minutes.
Another special treat was Pentatonix cam and joined Clarkson for “Hearbeat Song,” which had wonderful harmonies and the crowd couldn’t get enough. Kelly had eventually opened up toward the end of the night and became more comfortable with herself. She put on such a strong performance and we can only see her grow from here.