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A worthy idol: Adam Lambert’s powerhouse vocals dazzle

Special to the Star

A few of the most alluring voices in pop awed a capacity audience at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena on Thursday.

Adam Lambert, Pentatonix, Max and Daya entertained at radio station Mix 93.3’s annual Jingle Jam concert.

Lambert’s 45-minute headlining appearance was dishearteningly perfunctory.

Even so, the electrifying voice that propelled him to a second place finish in the 2009 of “American Idol” was dazzling.

Only a few of his ditties are memorable, but Lambert possesses an unforgettable voice.

The gleaming high notes he hit on the beat-heavy “The Original High” evoked Martha Wash’s piercing wail on C&C Music Factory’s 1990 hit “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).”

As his four-piece band played the straight-ahead rocker “Lucy,” Lambert howled with the power of the heavy metal icon Ronnie James Dio.

A snippet of “Another One Bites the Dust” reminded fans that Lambert regularly fills in for the late Freddie Mercury at Queen shows. His supple singing on “Shady,” one of several Lambert songs that seems to be based on Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” was equally impressive.

A tantalizing medley of Jackson’s hits that showcased the vocal gymnastics of Pentatonix was the highlight of the a cappella group’s 35-minute set that preceded Lambert.

Pentatonix consists of the industrious beatboxer Kevin Olusola and four sublime vocalists. The contributions of Mitch Grassi, an extraordinary singer introduced by band mate Scott Hoyer as “our tenor, alto and soprano,” received the night’s most enthusiastic cheers.

About a quarter of the audience of about 6,000 left the arena immediately after Pentatonix concluded its outing, a reflection of the somewhat incompatible pairing of the wholesome a cappella group and the brash pop star.

Hundreds of additional people departed as the break between Pentatonix and Lambert stretched to 40 minutes.

The arena was still filling up when a choir representing Blue Valley North High School made a charming appearance to open the evening.

Brief appearances by two aspiring pop stars followed the student ensemble. Daya, a 17-year-old from Pittsburgh, combined the angst of the 2013 sensation Lorde with fizzy sound of Jason Derulo.

Max offered a pleasing set of pop-punk and carefree dance songs. While Max looked and sounded like Lambert’s promising understudy, Lambert’s somewhat tepid outing nonetheless confirmed that his voice remains in a class by itself.

ADAM LAMBERT SETLIST

Ghost Town

Evil In the Night

The Light

The Original High

If I Had You

There I Said It

Another Lonely Night

Shady

Lucy

Trespassing/Another One Bites the Dust

Adam Lambert set list

Ghost Town; Evil In the Night; The Light; The Original High; If I Had You; There I Said It; Another Lonely Night; Shady; Lucy; Trespassing/Another One Bites the Dust

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