Photos courtesy of Misa Okamoto

Arts and Entertainment

Commentary: Petite powerhouse Sabrina Carpenter brings her DeTOUR to Anaheim

Sabrina Carpenter has become Disney’s current “It Girl” and is easily becoming a household name. From starring in wildly popular and groundbreaking Disney Channel show “Girl Meets World” to debuting her sophomore album, “EVOLution,” at age 17, she is already seeing success grow from every single one of her endeavors. “EVOLution” debuted at No. 28…
<a href="" target="_self">Kelly Nguyen</a>

Kelly Nguyen

July 26, 2017

Sabrina Carpenter has become Disney’s current “It Girl” and is easily becoming a household name. From starring in wildly popular and groundbreaking Disney Channel show “Girl Meets World” to debuting her sophomore album, “EVOLution,” at age 17, she is already seeing success grow from every single one of her endeavors.

“EVOLution” debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard 200, and her tour, named after the album, easily sold out in a matter of minutes. Due to popular demand, the busy 18-year-old went on tour yet again, in a DeTOUR to thank her growing legion of “Carpenters.” Her Instagram boasts an impressive 12.5 million followers, and she is continually gaining national exposure through interviews from magazines like Seventeen, Glamour, and Vogue for not only her unparalleled talent, but also for her effortless beauty and class.

Her popularity has expanded beyond the boundaries of the U.S., and has performed for eager fans overseas in places like Japan and Paris. Everyone is obsessed with the growing star on the verge of blowing up to becoming an international superstar, and rightfully so. She has dominated the small screen and is ready to take on the music world.

I became a fan of hers around 2016. Her acting on the show has always impressed me, with the subtlety she wields in displaying emotions onscreen; she displays such intricate skills only seasoned actors could posses. Carpenter is a captivating actress who is able to flesh out her characters in such a mature way, you wouldn’t have thought “Girl Meets World” was aired on Disney Channel.

Her music is much of the same way, able to display raw emotion to connect with millions. On top of all her talent, she is incredibly kind and openly communicates with fans on platforms like Twitter and Snapchat.

The fans are committed to her for sure, with hundreds of accounts spanning Instagram filled with intricately drawn pictures of her. Many fans had told me that despite the fact the concert started at 7 p.m., they had begun lining up at 10 a.m., braving the California heat in order to simply be closer to their favorite singer.

Artwork courtesy of Misa Okamoto

Due to school and other commitments I, unfortunately, had to hang up my Carpenter hard hat in the past. However, after attending her Anaheim show at the House of Blues, I was quickly reminded of why I was a fan in the first place.

There is only one word to describe the atmosphere at the venue. Electric. The people occupying House of Blues held up handmade signs and were decked head to toe in Sabrina merchandise. At first glance, there didn’t seem to be many similarities with the audience, as it seemed every one of all ages were present at the show. Yet, as the concert progressed, everyone seemed to be in unanimous agreement of their unshakeable love for Carpenter, and it was an unspoken rule to scream aggressively whenever any hint of her coming onstage is present.

The show began with opening acts New Hope Club and Alex Aiono, multi-talented heart-throbs with unique voices covering songs and performing many of their own originals. They heavily interacted with the crowd through throwing water bottles into the crowd or deviating from singing to hype the crowd up. Both acts easily transitioned from high-energy performances to emotional ballads all within a few songs.

The overall energy was beginning to elevate as the crowd became more and more excited. Already, everyone was screaming uncontrollably from the opening acts; however, when Carpenter stepped on stage, I thought I would go deaf from the sheer amount of screaming and excitement buzzing around the venue.

Photo credit: Misa Okamoto

Backed by her band and with her sister in tow, Carpenter came on stage with the confidence rival to any pop act out there right now. Her surprisingly long set began with jazzy “Feels like Loneliness.” It was clear from the beginning that Carpenter has worked hard to bring such a quality show for her fans.

Critics at the beginning of her singing career, complaining about a nasally voice, should be left shaking in her wake as she easily belts out clear, high notes. She came on stage with addictive choreography while her voice remained steady despite her running across stage and her enthusiastic hairflips. Her black jumpsuit was illuminated not only by the diamond encrusted choker adoring her neck, but also by the aesthetic black and white stage.

Everything about the presentation of the stage was sleek, from her pin-straight blonde hair that seemed to be accentuated by precise lighting, to the ever-changing backdrop which projected scenes from her gorgeous music videos.

Photo credit: Misa Okamoto

I was impressed how each song was able to demonstrate her stage presence and her duality as a performer. When she held that microphone in her hands and began to sing, she does not ask you to watch and listen, she demands for it.

Her confidence and charisma onstage is unbelievable for someone so young and standing at only 5 feet. You could just tell by watching her perform, she loves to be on a stage and sharing her music. She has this compelling charm that just seems like she was born to be performing. With her dazzling smile and a microphone stand studded with rhinestones, she looked every bit the star she is.

Some highlights from the show include “Run and Hide,” a dance ballad with profound lyrics about choosing to love over hatred delivered with emotion and power behind the vocals on a beautiful and stunning track. Her airy notes were consistent and she brought forth appropriate emphasis where the song needed it.

Photo credit: Misa Okamoto

Carpenter consistently shows her affection for her fans, and asks her fans to “twiddle their thumbs” with her song “Thumbs.” The song had lyrics asking listeners to not abandon their dreams for a dreary desk job they’ll eventually hate. She begs for listeners to follow their dreams and passions.

With “EVOLution,” Carpenter had shown a more mature musical side and she became more willing to experiment with her sound and contributed to writing her own lyrics. She wants to tell more than a simplistic love story with her music, and her fans are listening.

With “All We Have is Love”, she continued her show’s running motif of celebrating love, and projected a colorful backdrop full of rainbows and throughout her song “On Purpose” toward the end of the show, she waved a pride flag. Her fans showed their love and support for her through a poster project during “All We Have is Love,” held up as she poured her energy into the song. Constantly throughout the show she told the audience “I love you”, thanked them, and even brought a fan up on stage to sing alongside her during “Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying”, one of her first releases at age 14.

With so many stars getting their start on Disney Channel as they approach adulthood, they want to shed their pasts as fast as possible. There’s something different about how Carpenter approaches her Disney affiliation. She is glad so many people have discovered her through it, and celebrates the fact. What’s more refreshing is how openly she appreciates and loves her fans, saying “I’m so lucky” with only joy in her voice. She treats her audience as if they were her friends, making puns and terrible dad jokes throughout the concert.

After telling everyone to put away their recording devices in time for the sneak-peek of the music video for her new single “Why,” everyone simply asks why they had to, to which she responded with a hearty laugh and “Don’t you dare make that pun.”

Photo credit: Misa Okamoto

It was so exhilarating to see someone loving what they do, and the smile she puts on stage isn’t one that’s faked for the ticket revenue. Anyone can easily tell she loves performing and it made the show enjoyable to watch.

With Carpenter showing a more mature musical side, compared to her previous work, she provides this indie take on pop music, and has discovered a vocal coloring and musical sound that is so uniquely her. In the show’s end with confetti in the air and the crowd’s energy still high, I am certainly impressed by the irresistible charm that only Sabrina Carpenter possess, making so many people fall head over heels for her.

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