Surging onto the Arena stage, the Grammy award-winning powerhouse returns to Manchester with an evening of chart-topping hits. Celebrating her first UK tour in 13 years, the original live-action genie dazzles her fans with a collection of enduring, decade hopping tracks. With loyal fans who have followed her from her Disney debut to her Dirrty reinvention, Aguilera takes it back to basics, performing favourites from her original 1999, self-titled album before travelling through her eight-album catalogue.
Rising to fame with Genie in a Bottle (from the album that turns 20 this year), the long-haul success that has followed Aguilera has led to a cacophony of memorable hits hitting the diverse Manchester Arena crowd. Performed with power and presenting a bold cabaret focusing on female empowerment, Aguilera plays out the majority of her quadruple-platinum album Stripped to entertain with a new rendition of Beautiful launched alongside the unstoppable, Can't Hold Us Down. However, like Dr Who, Aguilera is not afraid of time jumping through the decades, jumping to fan favourites Candyman and Feel This Moment with sumptuous performances that focus on her active messaging of self-empowered and love, rather than with any smooth theme.
Fresh from her Las Vegas residency, the international artist imports her remarkably designed production of rapid costume changes and brilliant backing dancers, for the Arenas animated roll out of her music. Flaunting an inclusive deep dive that shakes up twenty years of her tracks, the quality of the X Tour sees Aguilera flipping between a red and black leather-clad costume, knee-high boots and a beret for Ain’t No Other Man before slipping straight into an airy kimono for Beautiful. With performances that balance a fresh revival of her classics, the show finds time to input a few of her successful collaborations. Ensuring all the accessories are included and everyone gets to hear their favourite Aguilera high notes, Lady Marmalade without P!NK, Mýa and Lil Kim and Moves Like Jagger enter the show.
Kicking off the X Tour with supporting act ALMA, the crowd are warmed up with a familiar fix of pop from the Helsinki based artist's playlist. After placing fifth on the seventh season of the Finish singing competition Idols, ALMA has collaborated with Charli XCX and Miley Cyrus, alongside featuring on the new Charlies Angels soundtrack under the dance track, How It’s Done. Offering similar messaging that resonates with Aguilera’s audience, ALMA performs a medley of songs that follow the singer/songwriter’s sexuality and devotion. Her electro-pop single tracks Dye My Hair, Chasing Highs and All Stars helps to frame the themes of the X Tour with honest artistry and love of otherness that is seen in Aguilera’s tracks.
The X Tour offers a score of highlights, favouring a prideful mashup of classics from the hitmaker who certainly deserves to take a victory lap for her energy and scope. Taking her time to incorporate her famous ad-libs and one-liners in between beautiful vocals, the X Tour definitely highlights the fighter within Aguilera and showcases her gritty pop stardom to Manchester Arena.