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REVIEW: Swaggering Johnny Orlando brings The Ride tour to London – CelebMix


As the opening tones of ‘Boyfriend’ sound at the O2 Academy Islington, Johnny Orlando swaggers onstage with a grin. He’s a pop star who knows what he’s doing.

The Canadian’s rise from social media sensation into artist in his own right has taken place over a frenzied few years. From the It’s Never Really Over EP to record all the things that could go wrong and latest project The Ride, Orlando has earmarked himself as one of the genre’s most exciting voices.

Tracks from all those eras and well before are showcased as The Ride world tour comes to the UK. ‘blur’ and ‘you’re just drunk’ follow ‘Boyfriend’ for a breathless opening trio that sees the star whip up a fervour.

Once the 21-year-old has London hearts racing, he takes his foot off the gas and picks up a guitar for ‘if he wanted to he would’ before breezing through the likes of ‘terrible person’ and ‘July’.

It’s at those stripped back moments that the talent behind the viral persona come to the forefront. There’s a remarkable tone to Orlando’s voice and newer tracks show an artist whose lyricism is stronger every release.

That’s at its most evident on ‘coping (1631)’, an ode to a friend that Orlando chokes on emotion when introducing. The vulnerability in its tale is tangible as it comes to life on stage.

It’s been a long time since the star was in London, so some of those more intimate moments are shaken by the shrieks of an excited fan base. “This is supposed to be the quiet part of the set, not in London, hell no,” he laughs before a cover of Goo Goo Dolls classic ‘Iris’.

Orlando is ready to play the goofball too, bashful as he tries and fails to get a British football chant going – he has another go half an hour later to much more success.

As much as the singer’s musical landmarks have come in recent years, it’s easy to forget he’s been in the industry since a child. Before bopping fan favourite ‘See You’, a clip from a video posted as a kid recalls: “Right now I’m 10, maybe a little bit too young to do a world tour but maybe in the future.”

TikTok famous ‘What If (I Told You I Like You)’ is an unsurprising highlight of the night as noise levels peak. “You guys know this one?”, Orlando laughs.

Other moments to remember come in a genius curveball cover of Katy Perry’s ‘The One That Got Away’ and latest single ‘Vegas’, which sounds made for the live show.

The night begins to climax at the lovesick ‘leave the light on’ ahead of a final flurry. ‘Everybody Wants You’ is a stadium sized faux closer and he bounds back on shirtless to close on ‘someone will love you better’.

Wednesday night in London is a tribute to just how far Orlando has come over the past decade but one thing is clear – remarkably, the best is yet to come. 

Are you a Johnny Orlando fan? Let us know @CelebMix on X.


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