Christine And The Queens performing at The O2 Academy Birmingham on Monday 26th November 2018.

Review by Kevin Cooper

With the X Factor coming to a close with its manufactured pop clones, French auteur Heloise Letissier stands out like a beacon because she is the smartest, most innovative and inspirational artist in popular music right now.

Those who have been following her will know that Letissier has given her alto ego an alter ego. Christine the persona she adopted in London, following the example of some inspirational drag queens, has now simply become Chris.

Touring to promote her second album, she was welcomed by a packed Birmingham O2 Academy as she opened with new song Comme Si as she and her four musicians together with six dancers staged something never witnessed before.

Her latest single, Girlfriend went down really well as did Le G whilst her dancers grappled with one another and with her as she delivered a sound that was polished, slinky, contemporary pop which was given an extra kick by crisp choreography.

At one point, between Feel So Good, one of the most dramatic moments of this superlative show and Tilted, one of the finest pop songs of the last decade, Letissier squeezed in between her static dancers, trying to find a comfortable gap. No music was played and so the interlude had a mime-like theatricality.

She oozed confidence as she led the crowd in a wonderful a cappella sing along of French ballad Nuit 17 a 52 before breaking into a delightful version of Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror.

Accompanied by an on point band and the odd special effect, Letissier enthralled this crowd. At one point she stood at the back of the stage, shirt off, facing away from the audience, rippling her whole body in slow motion. The result was hypnotic and a reminder that no matter how busy the stage, she is the show.

Her stage setting was as classy as her moves. There was a romantic oil painting of a mountain valley which formed the back stage. The band was on wheeled platforms and got pushed around as the show went on. The painting dropped to reveal a back drop of a stormy sea, strafed by lightning, which later fell away to reveal only blackness. The whole set was very dramatic.

There were many flashes of gorgeously playful choreography and staging, from a pretty shower of fake snow at the start of Goya Soda to the point where one of her dancers literally started smouldering during a particularly hot duet.

Finishing her set with The Walker she left the stage to rapturous applause. Back on for her encore, Saint Claude and Intranquillite the crowd went wild in appreciation for an enthralling performance. Last night, Letissier came to Birmingham to sing, dance and to conquer, and she certainly did that as she reigned supreme.