Review: Cheryl at the O2
The O2 Arena, October 7
IN A NUTSHELL
Cheryl takes to the London stage for her first solo tour, A Million Lights.
There has always been a bit of a buzz around Cheryl.
And understandably so. From her days as a budding starlet on Popstars: The Rivals taking her place as one-fifth of Girls Aloud, her X Factor judging role, near-death malaria scare and public heartbreak, she's cemented herself as the nation's sweetheart - and we've followed her every step of the way.
And the long, winding road of her journey in the public eye this month culminated in her first solo tour, backed up by three successful album releases and a host of collaborations with artists from Will.I.Am to Wretch 32.
While her talent is a dancer is undeniable, criticisms levelled at her from certain corners have centred on her ability to juggle a fast-paced routine with live lyrics.
Often overshadowing her performances, those in question have, often unfairly, continually questioned the strength of her vocals, a doubt that was in danger of seeping into the atmosphere of the O2 Arena on Sunday.
For the thousands of Cheryl's 'soldiers' who crowded the venue, on the other hand, she really had nothing to prove.
They showed their unwavering love for their idol with outfits adorned with t-shirts blazing her name, banners and bags stuffed with posters, eager for the Geordie's girls grand appearance following a set-list from London rapper Tinchy Stryder.
And with an explosive entrance onto the stage for opening track, Sexy Than A Mutha, Cheryl without a doubt set the tone for things to come.
She was going to wow the O2, Cheryl-style.
The dance routines were slick, the infamous swan-dive executed with class and the live vocals - superb.
Rattling through tracks including super-hit Call My Name, Girl in the Mirror and Promise This, she showed her prowess as a popstar by engaging with the crowd through both her heartfelt lyrics and sentiments of gratitude.
In a nod to her Girls Aloud roots and the band's upcoming 10th birthday celebrations, she performed a montage of The Promise, Biology and Love Machine, followed up by Parachute, Under the Sun and Screw You, which had the crowd in full-song.
But it was on slower tracks Three Words, where she was joined by best mate Will.I.Am, A Million Lights and The Flood where her vocal strength was undeniable.
And, whipped up with an encore of dance-routine favourite Fight For This Love and a second rendition of Call My Name, she disappeared.
Three outfit-changes and a one-and-a-quarter hours later, Cheryl had firmly left her stamp on the North Greenwich arena.
With her vocals leaving a buzz in the atmosphere, a smiley-faced crowd made its way home chanting snippets of songs in the trailing crowds for the Tube.
It was, undeniably, a great show.
And the power of Cheryl's performance reached every row of one of the largest music venues in Europe.
Surely, that alone, should be proof enough to silence any doubters.