PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE

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Clarkson, Pentatonix impress the crowd at First Niagara Pavilion

By Kellie B. Gormly
Monday, July 20, 2015, 12:27 a.m.

The stage at the First Niagara Pavilion throbbed on Sunday with live music from two of Texas' finest musical acts.

Kelly Clarkson and Pentatonix, both originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, brought Texas-sized energy to an all-ages audience that enjoyed more than two hours of hits.

Clarkson, backed by a stage structure made of rotating panels showing video images, showcased the powerful voice that won the first season of “American Idol,” with her energy and sass showing in intense hits like “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and the lively opener “Dance with Me.”

During her set, Clarkson — who switched outfits several times, ranging from sequined knee-length dresses to an elegant floor-length black gown, yet remained barefoot — devoted a middle section to several sweet ballads, including “Because of You” and the touching “Piece by Piece,” the title track about fathers from her current album.

Some of the audience was surprised and disappointed that Clarkson's signature ballad, “A Moment Like This,” somehow didn't make the setlist. But she ended on a high note with a cover of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' fun megahit “Uptown Funk.”

Pentatonix, the popular a cappella band lauded for its unique covers of pop songs, gave a spectacular performance before Clarkson that could have stood on its own as a headliner. The way the four men and one woman harmonize from the highest tenor to the deepest baritone creates a unique sound without any instruments.

In a crowd-pleasing surprise later in Clarkson's set, Pentatonix members joined her on stage to sing “Heartbeat Song.”

Tickets sales appeared to be low, since the lawn at the pavilion was empty and the covered, assigned-seating area had a few empty spots.