Ella Henderson might only be 19 but she’s already racked up three years in the industry and a handful of hits that defy her youth.
The X Factor alumni took to the stage at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire for the first of two sold-out nights. Despite making a huge impression, a 16-year-old Ella was controversially eliminated from the reality TV show midway through. But what made headlines at the time turned to be a blessing in disguise for it gave her the time and freedom to discover her musical artistry.
Ella’s debut album, Chapter One, reflected this growth with its delicate songwriting and the ability to mix between soaring ballads and breezy pop numbers. That album is performed in its entirety on this first headline tour.
The show opened with a rousing performance of Glow and was followed by Mirror Man – a song about ‘the most self-centred person’ she’s ever met. Ella is at ease on stage when it comes to bringing the perfect amount of charisma and personality into the performance. She never overdoes it like some of her contemporaries but remains engaged with the crowd throughout.
Another highlight from the album came in the shape of Rockets and mixing that with some of the Jackson 5’s biggest hits was a stroke of genius and showcased just how versatile a performer she can be. Everybody knows that Ella’s voice soars when tackling big ballads but it was the dance infused tracks that got the crowd at their most energetic with Sigma and Kygo collaborations boosting the tempo up a little.
An acoustic cover of Cher’s Believe became an euphoric sing-along moment and unsurprisingly, Ghost – one of the biggest hits of the past two years – was a rousing encore that finished the evening with one heck of a bang.
A teenager from The X Factor performing to a sold out crowd? Any critic should have a field day but Ella Henderson silences any doubts with just one thing – her flawless voice. She’s got one heck of a future ahead of her, just don’t take too long with that second album and tour!
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