In general, the shelf-life of talent show winners isn’t a particularly long one. They may be able to squeeze a few top 10s into a short amount of time, but safe for a few appearances on ‘Strictly’ or ‘I’m A Celebrity’, they’re often known to fade into obscurity within a couple of years of their victory.
The exception to this rule when scouring the current pop scene is Little Mix, who seem to have been going unfailingly from strength to strength ever since they triumphed in the ‘X Factor’ finals five years ago.
If you’re looking for answers as to how they’ve been able to buck the trend, and stand their ground in the fickle and often unforgiving world of UK pop music, you need look no further than their show at Twickenham’s Stoop Stadium on Sunday (25 June). Here’s what you can expect from a Little Mix live show, based on their ‘Summer Shout Out’ concert...
1. Stage presence
Considering how down-to-earth Little Mix always come across in interviews, one of their defining traits is the fact they can command a stage far better than a lot of their contemporaries.
Given that the majority of the audience were young girls (there were a lot of bored cartwheels and clapping games going on in the crowd in the 45 minutes between their second support act and showtime), it speaks volumes that all Little Mix had to do was strike a confident pose at the opening bars of ‘Power’ to grab everyone in the stadium’s attention, which they held for (pretty much) their entire set.
2. The setlist
For a group who, in the grand scheme of things, haven’t actually been going all that long, Little Mix have amassed quite an impressively varied back catalogue, which was proved during their ‘Summer Shout Out’ show.
In the space of an hour and a quarter they went from frenetic and sassy tunes (‘Power’, ‘Down And Dirty’) to more heartfelt ballads (‘Secret Love Song’, ‘Nobody Like You’) before bringing the energy levels back up to 11 for the closing performances of ‘Touch’ and ‘Shout Out To My Ex’.
If I had one gripe, it’d be that perhaps there could have been more hits - ‘Your Love’ and ‘FU’ could easily have been swapped for ‘DNA’ or ‘Move’, and would probably have got a better crowd reaction.
However, given that the band was there to promote their latest album, it’s understandable they’d want to showcase their more recent offerings, and since they put so much into their performances, why shouldn’t they mix their personal faves with their older offerings?
3. Pure, unadulterated fun
Anyone who’s seen even just one interview with Little Mix will know that what makes them so great as a band is the fact they always look happy to be both doing what they love, and doing it with people they genuinely enjoy the company of.
This especially shines through on the few occasions they addressed the audience during their 75-minute set. Their moments of talking to the crowd were joyfully unscripted, which was refreshing at a time when everything that comes out of certain popstars’ mouths can be over-rehearsed to the point of boredom. Fans see through that sort of thing, which made it all the more joyful to see Little Mix actually making each other laugh up on stage.
4. One lovely dedication
Little Mix have never been shy about reaching out to support the LGBT+ fans they’ve acquired since the early days of their career, with Jade Thirlwall giving them a special shout-out before a performance of ‘Secret Love Song’.
Addressing the “beautiful LGBT+ people” in the audience, she praised them for always being themselves, dedicating the heartfelt ballad to them.
A small token, of course, but with so many young ears hanging on the band’s every move, it still felt like a gesture that could potentially do some good.
5. Embarrassing “the dads”
One moment the group particularly seemed to enjoy was an a capella sing-a-long section, during which they warned the crowd - specifically “the dads” in attendance - that their “candid camera” would be catching anyone out who didn’t know the words to tunes like ‘Change Your Life’ and ‘Move’.
Cue the sort of family-friendly lol-fest that you just don’t get from Glastonbury. In the wrong hands, a stunt like that could come off as cringey and insincere, but again, Little Mix give off such an energy of enjoying themselves it’s hard not to be sold.
One are Little Mix excel over the majority of British stars is when it comes to their energetic dance routines.
While a lot of it boils down to synchronised hair-flipping and strutting in unison from one end of the stage to the other, their live shows often include full Janet Jackson-esque dance breaks, which they put their all into, putting them head and shoulders above every other pop group in the game right now.