Christina Aguilera is a beautiful talent
In the beginning there were boy bands, Britney and Christina. While NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys were most effective singing in unison and Britney Spears’ voice had been coached into a not-so-innocent purr, Christina Aguilera’s success relied more on her singing than any of her teen-pop peers. “Powerful pipes” was a term often applied to Aguilera as she and fellow Mouseketeers Spears, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez and Ryan Gosling grew into mature performers, and fans were adamant then as now that she was the most talented of the pack.
As far as they’re concerned, it’s about time for Aguilera’s arrival as a Las Vegas resident headliner. By the time she launches Christina Aguilera: The Xperience it will have been 19 years and 10 months since she hit No. 1 with “Genie in a Bottle,” the first of five times she’d top the singles chart. She’d go on to become a five-time Grammy winner (plus one Latin Grammy) and pick up a total of 20 nominations, including two for songs from her 2018 album Liberation.
That album led to touring for the first time in a decade, which set the stage for what Aguilera calls “my most ambitious show yet.” During the years she wasn’t active live, she actively thought about what she wanted to bring to the stage for the next chapter in her concert career as far as songs, choreography, visuals and energy. The Liberation Tour allowed her to refine those ideas for a Vegas residency, which she announced to fans with a Jan. 31 live event at iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles. As with her Liberation Tour, she says she has her ears open to fans’ suggestions for The Xperience.
By the time Aguilera wrapped her tour in November, she was opening with “Maria” from Liberation before launching into a setlist of more than 20 songs from her catalog, including “What a Girl Wants,” “Lady Marmalade,” “Ain’t No Other Man” and “Beautiful.” She thrilled audiences with her version of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” which she had memorably performed in 2007 at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.
More importantly, Aguilera showed her voice possessed as much presence and power as it ever had. Aguilera’s style in her pop princess years was often compared to Mariah Carey’s, although she would give as much credit to singers from earlier eras such as Etta James. Both Aguilera and Carey had wide vocal ranges and a penchant for melisma, the syllabic somersaulting of lyrics that would become a convention of singers on television talent competitions (she was also a judge on The Voice).
Aguilera’s soaring, muscular vocal style is very much her own, though, while her drive and determination is a result of overcoming a tough upbringing. She is demonstrating solidarity with Southern Nevada’s women and children in crisis by donating $1 from every Xperience ticket sold to Las Vegas emergency shelter The Shade Tree. Aguilera may have reached the pinnacle of success, but she hasn’t forgotten where she came from.
Planet Hollywood Resort, 9 p.m. May 31, June 1, 5, 7-8, 13 & 15-16, starting at $60 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster