Will Young, Roundhouse, London
Thursday 18 December 2008
Last weekend, in a dramatic show filled with tears and self-importance, Alexandra Burke was crowned winner of The X Factor. On the other side of London town, the original TV talent show graduate Will Young was enjoying a quieter celebration of sorts. It was the final night of his month-long UK tour promoting his album, Let It Go, and he was in a playful mood. Let's not forget that winning one of these shows is by no means a golden ticket to fame and fortune (David Sneddon anyone?) but Young has managed to come into his own as an artist, casting off the shackles of Pop Idol, the show that made his name six years ago, to become one of Britain's most respected pop stars.
The facts speak for themselves. Four albums, 4 million album sales, 10 top 10 singles, two Brit awards and a movie (Mrs Henderson Presents): not bad going for someone who Simon Cowell once described as "distinctly average". His latest soul-pop album, Let It Go, is a deeply personal account of transition, prompted by the demise of a two-year relationship and the approach towards his thirties.
Young's unique soulful voice never faltered throughout the hour-and-a-half set that included "Who Am I" and "Love is a Matter of Distance". However, it was his performances of "Let It Go" and "You Don't Know" that provided the most poignant moments of the evening, both delicate ballads about the end of a relationship that rest on Young's controlled vocals. At other times he shimmied around the stage to the jazzier numbers including "Grace" and "Your Game". The closest Young has to an anthem is probably "Leave Right Now" but everything he tried his hand at, including covers of Joan Armatrading and Grace Jones, was well received by the adoring crowd.
Having tirelessly toured around the country for the past month, you might expect Young to be flagging by now. Not a chance. The rapport he created with his audience made it feel like he was playing a much more intimate venue than London's Roundhouse. In between tracks he entertained with jokes and anecdotes about the pressures of life on the road. At one point someone from the audience passed him a pink feather boa which he happily tossed around his neck as he introduced his alter ego, Patti Bourbon.
It may have been a much quieter affair than what was going on in The X Factor studio, but it is hard to believe that any of those contestants could bring as much personality, wit and warmth to a stage six years from now.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Cheeky' Nando's under fire for apparently coming onto a customer on Twitter
- 2 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 3 Playboy model April Summers speaks out about being a victim of revenge porn
- 4 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 5 iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
Jay Z's Tidal could be about to lose Beyonce's music in ultimate humiliation
Royal Academy of Arts' Tim Marlow: Bronze statue of lovers embracing at St Pancras station is a lesson in 'how not to do' public art
Britain's Hardest Grafter: Petition set up as Twitter reacts to BBC 'poverty porn' series pitting low-paid workers against each other
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
Big Brother contestant Aaron Frew removed from house for 'inappropriate behaviour' after flashing fellow contestants
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'