Gomez traded on a steady stream of manicured, up-tempo pop with which she had a difficult time competing vocally, starting with a blowout rendition of "A Year Without Rain." She shouted with composure to keep up with the pulsating "Hit the Lights," and took an equally insistent angle on the prefab, so-so hook of "Summer's not Hot."
Gomez delivered lyrics cleanly and without overdoing her role, but showed her limitations when it came to anything more than recitation in the plain and weepy "The Way I Loved You." Her body language and attitude were poised and professional, and she didn't miss a mark, but she ultimately was an average handler of songs that didn't do much to help her, as all came from the same bouncy, bland sonic vein.
She served as a cog in a smartly constructed machine powered by her six-piece band, less a driver of material than just keeping up through the bland bravado of "We Own the Night." The sprightly "Spotlight" found Gomez alongside a quartet of dancers in a midriff-baring outfit, one of many to accentuate her figure in the show. She was insistent without being enticing in the chugging "My Dilemma," and her medley tribute to Britney Spears was a frenetic jumble.
The show was largely a succession of same-sounding workouts, including a closing flourish of the sturdy "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" and the synthesizer-heavy "Naturally," where Gomez was swept along by the booming swell. A two-song encore turned into an extended sing-along for fans, kicking off with the springy "Who Says" before a finale that invoked Gomez's popular run on "Wizards of Waverly Place," when she extracted "Magic" from a related album and recalled a venue where her star quality is more fully developed.
Second-billed Allstar Weekend barreled through half an hour of collar-popping rock, sanitized anthems from clean cut lads in polo shirts. Its bouncy blasts kept to smooth edges as singer Zach Porter snapped at the sugary "A Different Side of Me."
The five-boy band's roll through "Do it to Me" was typical of the group's penchant for slicked-up energy bursts delivered with irrational exuberance. A cover of Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" made for a shiny foray into racy territory, but was at the same time wholly generic. Sturdy offerings of "Mr. Wonderful" and "Not Your Birthday" closed a set that sported as its primary appeals enthusiasm and substantial quantities of good teeth.
Popular YouTube attraction Christina Grimmie opened the show with a solo set of inflated pop, which saw her wringing the lyrics of songs such as Perry's "E.T." atop dramatic splashes of keyboard. Her approach to a song was as cookie cutter as the emotive stretching that overcooked her plow through the mechanical tech pop of her original "Advice."
Selena Gomez's Wednesday set list: "A Year Without Rain," "Hit the Lights," "Summer's Not Hot," "Round and Round," "The Way I Loved You," "We Own the Night," "Love You Like a Love Song," "Spotlight," "Bang Bang Bang," "When the Sun Goes Down," "Intuition," "Falling Down," "Super Bass," "Rock God," "Middle of Nowhere," "My Dilemma," "Off the Chain," "Britney Spears Medley," "Whiplash," "Tell Me Something I Don't Know," "Naturally," (Encore) "Who Says," "Magic."