Belfast Telegraph

Olly Murs review: Essex boy proves he's left X Factor behind

Odyssey Arena, Belfast

By Andrew Johnston

Olly Murs notched up another visit to Belfast's Odyssey Arena last night - not bad for an Essex boy who came runner-up in a TV talent show nearly six years ago.

But Murs (30), has left The X Factor far behind him in a trail of sold-out tours, number one CDs and big-name hook-ups.

Only the most assured of performers could open a concert with a song entitled Did You Miss Me? and - despite Murs's black-and-white, workman-style jacket looking more high-vis than showbiz - the answer from the screaming throng was a resounding, "Yes!"

Nor did the be-quiffed singer have any reservations about strutting across a walkway to a smaller, second stage in the centre of the hall, waggling his bottom as he went. He even cheerfully donned his trademark trilby hat for the encore.

Murs's trick is to balance out his hammier tendencies with a disarming dose of cheeky-chappie charm.

So, after insisting he had only eaten "a little bit of chocolate" over Easter, joking, "I've got to look good for all you lovely ladies," he added: "I know I say it every tour, but the six-pack's coming."

Indeed, the turnout was comprised mostly of females of various ages, from small kids singing along with their hero's latest tracks to mums boogying nostalgically to the funk and disco medley.

It would have been easy for Murs to get lost amidst the sprawling stage set, the state-of-the-art video screens and the tinsel that punctuated proceedings at regular intervals.

Or he could have hidden behind the grand piano wheeled out for a stripped-down selection of 'oldies' from his days as a fresh-faced reality wannabe.

But at the heart of last night's show was a talented vocalist who co-writes his own songs, performs with a live band and isn't afraid to push his audience - relatively speaking, of course.

So, for every crowd-pleasing hit like Heart Skips A Beat, Dance with Me Tonight or Troublemaker, he threw a curveball such as the acoustic rendition of his collaboration with Paul Weller, Let Me In.

Such was his energy and enthusiasm that by the time he exited the stage via a trap door after nearly two hours, it was easy to imagine him singing and dancing all the way back to the hotel.

Four stars

Belfast Telegraph


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