Selena Gomez at Reliant Stadium, 3/9/2014

Selena Gomez Reliant Stadium March 9th, 2014

There are plenty of reasons why Selena Gomez may have mailed in Sunday night's performance at RodeoHouston. Perhaps she didn't take the Daylight Saving Time change well. Perhaps as a North Texas native, she has an irrational dislike of Houston. Perhaps she was bummed about all the social-media rumors of Justin Bieber making an appearance at the rodeo, and how it was stealing the spotlight from her performance.

Whatever the reason, Gomez was just sort of there, going through the motions the way they've been rehearsed countless times. She sang, but she didn't seem to have any energy in her voice. She danced, but she never seemed to be interested in her moves. She was there, and that made people happy, even if it wasn't particularly memorable.

It was a show that could have really used a Bieber sighting.

Not that that could have happened, of course. Gomez approaches things as sort of an Anti-Miley, a positive, clean, family-friendly 21-year-old who preaches loving yourself and chasing your dreams. It's wholesome, which is fine, but it doesn't exactly lend itself to appearances by "bad boy" Canadian pop stars. Anyone who thought otherwise was only setting themselves up for disappointment, even if it did make the preshow social-media speculation more interesting than normal.

Rumors aside, when it came to the actual performance, it wasn't bad; it just wasn't particularly engaging either. The lights went out, the fireworks went off, and then there she was, performing. And if you were waiting for some sort of explosion of energy or a spark of excitement from Gomez...well, you ended up waiting and really never receiving.

The only real sign of life came before she performed a cover of Priscilla Ahn's "Dreams" when she talked about getting to be herself in front of fans, no matter what the rumors are circulating around her at the time. It was an interesting peek behind the mask, but only because up until that point it felt like the entire show was one giant musical in which the star was playing the role of Selena Gomez.

Then she played harmonica for a bit, which was pretty neat.

Review continues on the next page.

Most shows build to a climax, that grand finale of energy and excitement that sends folks out the door on a high note. This show just sort of ended. She said she was going to perform one more song, so she performed one more song, then she performed another song, and then she was driven from the stage. It was only slightly more exciting than reading that previous sentence.

It's likely that most of the 73,397 folks in attendance walked away happy about the show, but a good chunk of those folks aren't allowed on the big-kid rides at the carnival or have probably never been to a "real" concert in their life. Good for them, for being happy with the show. Maybe when you can make people happy just by showing up you don't always have to put 100 percent into your show.

Or maybe she was just having a bad day. It happens to all of us, whether we have a Bieber in our life or not.

Personal Bias: I'm mostly ambivalent to Selena Gomez. I wrote this review listening to Ulver's Teachings in Silence.

The Crowd: Lots of young, tiny people running around.

Overheard in the Crowd: "That was not a dress," said one concerned 5-year-old about the nature of Selena's outfit.

Random Notebook Dump: Don't trust the giant corndogs. Yes, they look good. Yes, they taste good. Yes, they will do a number on your tummy. Stick to the fried cookie dough.


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