RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH

Back to American Idol

Rayvon Owen performs as part of American Idol Live! tour

Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 9:55 pm
BY HAYS DAVIS Special correspondent


“All this time reaches such great heights,” go the lyrics to “American Idol” winner Nick Fradiani’s coronation song, “Beautiful Life.”


On Tuesday night at the Carpenter Theatre, the five finalists of “Idol” season 14 met a roomful of Richmond fans in that rarefied air and proved their talents to be even more impressive beyond the TV screen.


Under whirling lights, the Idols raced onstage and pumped up the crowd with “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” The Richmond area’s own Rayvon Owen led with the opening lines, much to the delight of his hometown fans.


Where previous “Idol” tours took the top 10 finalists on the road, this version pares down the group by half, allowing more time for each performer to bask in a solo spotlight. Each had a few minutes to speak individually with the audience, taking a star turn that also included solo performances. Clark Beckham was particularly amusing during his segment, demonstrating at the piano how he would play at gatherings and sneak in bits from State Farm and McDonald’s commercials.


A powerful and versatile four-piece band kept the show lively under a backdrop of the show’s familiar logo. Jax took full advantage of the musicians’ muscle, introducing herself with “My Generation” as she left the stage for a run through the audience.

 

“Richmond! I feel the love tonight!” shouted Owen, whose voice was temporarily washed out by a torrent of cheers as he introduced himself. Talking to the audience, he was the picture of natural charm, pointing out his mother and offering anecdotes from his Richmond childhood. He laughed about being among the voters’ bottom choices a few times, and his fans cheered like they might have been personally responsible for keeping him in the “Idol” race.


Some of the evening’s highlights came from ensembles. Owen joined Tyanna Jones and Jax next to Beckham at the piano for an imaginative arrangement of “Chandelier” that brought out the strength of their combined voices. Those four also shone on a bluesy “Lie to Me” that showcased Beckham’s impressive guitar chops.


Fradiani appeared here and there throughout the early part of the show before settling in later for an earned champion’s set that gave him plenty of room to explore a range of song styles and connect with his engaging personality. It was a performance that indicated Fradiani might have a shot at outlasting other “Idol” winners with the right songs.


By the end of the night, the Richmond crowd had come to know their Idols better than ever. And many may have felt strongly that they had not seen the last of their hometown hero Owen, a performer with a personality that suggests he might even find success beyond music in an entertainment career.