Anyone looking for a last minute dose of holiday cheer could be found at Chandler Center for the Arts on Friday to see the magical David Archuleta. The former American Idol runner-up turned soulful pop icon invited attendees to experience The More the Merrier Christmas Tour as he closed out the season in Arizona.
The stage (and the halls and the fans) was decked with LED screens, a throne fit for Kris Kringle himself and plenty of festive baubles as Archuleta emerged from the wings to pin the final touches on the tree. From there, not a single Grinch could be found in the audience- especially as he beamed his way through “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “White Christmas” to kick things off.
The set was a mix of holiday classics and original tunes from Archuleta’s catalog of Christmas albums. “Melodies of Christmas” felt both modern and nostalgic and had fans of all ages swaying in their seats. His sheepish charm between songs immediately endeared him to anyone in the audience not immediately captivated by his stunning vocals and genuine presence onstage. He told sweet little anecdotes about his holiday memories between songs and invited the audience to get up on their feet and join him for a dance party to *NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”.
There was a moment of “Magic” as Archuleta shouted out his collaborator Lindsay Stirling on their stunning original song and everyone got right back up to shake their hips to “Feliz Navidad”. The show closed with a chilling rendition of “Oh Holy Night” to a standing ovation of love and applause.
The holiday spirit was alive and well all night, but Archuleta also took a moment before his encore to speak about his experiences in the last year since coming out publicly as queer. Telling these stories in a roomful of more traditional, conservative folks has been a risk he’s taken all tour but he was resolute in his delivery and his tears of frustration and relief were heartfelt and more than a little moving. At the end of the night, the message was simply to live openly and spread as much love as you can- and that message was heartily received.
Archuleta ended the night with two of his own songs- the soul-searching “My Little Prayer” and the wholesome “Christmas Every Day”. Once again, the singer received a well-deserved standing ovation and attendees went home that night feeling holly jolly just in time for Christmas.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel