Dua Lipa has been amply rewarded for a job well done.
Last year, the British pop singer’s self-titled debut — a smart, cheeky collection of tunes about the promises and frustrations of modern romance — became a smash on streaming services like Spotify and YouTube.
At next week’s Grammy-equivalent Brit Awards in London, she’s up for five prizes, including album of the year. And Monday night, the 22-year-old played the second of two sold-out concerts at the Hollywood Palladium, part of a headlining tour before she spends the summer on the international festival circuit.
Cheering from the instant the lights went down, Lipa’s audience at the Palladium received her no less enthusiastically than have the listeners who’ve streamed her single “New Rules” more than 1.5 billion times.
But in this case, the reaction wasn’t earned: Unlike Lipa’s album, with its sharp writing and the singer’s low, throaty singing, Monday’s show had a dull, by-the-numbers quality. Often, you felt like you could easily have been watching Bebe Rexha or Hailee Steinfeld or one of the many other young singers for whom streaming, and its easy adaptability to social media, has provided a quick path to stardom.
The disappointing gig was a reminder that success in one field doesn’t necessarily guarantee success in another — and that the speed with which an artist can score a viral hit these days can leave her without the time (or the inclination) to develop performance skills that stars from earlier generations honed over years of practice.