'Bottomless charisma redeemed a lack of star quality' - Ed Power on Olly Murs in Dublin
The cheekiest of cheeky chappies, Olly Murs sprang from the traps at 3Arena with a point to prove: that he has tunes to go with the ITV Saturday night braggadocio.
This was a shock on several accounts. For one thing, unless you've been paying attention – and with his latest tour essentially a sell out, clearly a lot of people have – perhaps you were under the impression Murs (30) was television personality first, pop star second – a one man Ant 'n Dec, with a record deal on the side.
Moreover, the X Factor finalist's popularity is a surprisingly powerful argument in favour of reality television. For every Jedward or Frankie Cocozza, the format throws up someone like Murs – a natural born entertainer who might otherwise never have got past a record company receptionist. His success is, in some senses, a victory for the little man (this is not a gag at the expense of his diminutive stature).
That said, he occasionally threatened to live up to his popular designation as Poundland Robbie Williams. Murs can sing and can certainly strut - but those magical pop moments that are the hallmark of a genuine star were relatively thin on the ground.
Fortunately, bottomless charisma compensated for the absence of a soaraway smash. And besides, though it rarely dazzled, his repertoire didn't stink up the house either – Murs has worked with some smart writers and, for all their generic aspects, tunes such as Heart Skips a Beat and Right Place Right Time kept the quality control high.
The audience loved it anyway. They shrieked and swooned and Murs gave almost as much love as he received. Musically, the evening veered towards middle of the road. And yet world-class likeability carried Murs over the finish line – you could even say it was his 'x factor'.
Olly Murs plays the last of three concerts at 3Arena Dublin tonight