Adding Little Mix as an opening act to the Dangerous Woman Tour was a smart move on Ariana Grande’s part; the British girl group has a loyal following of fans who rarely, if ever, get the chance to see the band in concert in North America. Opening acts are meant to draw crowds to the tour and create a lively atmosphere before the headliner goes onstage, and Little Mix’s energetic choreography is a perfect warm-up for the audience.
Unfortunately, Little Mix are not doing themselves any favors with their selection of songs for the Dangerous Woman Tour setlist. According to fans who have attended early shows on the Dangerous Woman Tour, the Little Mix setlist consists of eight songs.
Songs like “Salute,” “Hair,” “Move,” “Wings,” “Secret Love Song,” “Touch,” “Black Magic,” and “Shout Out to My Ex,” which all have two things in common: they were all singles, and they all failed to make an impression on the American pop charts.
While all of these tracks were huge successes for Little Mix in other markets (every song listed reached the top 10 in the United Kingdom, except for “Hair” which peaked at No. 11), not a single one of them gained traction with American listeners. Of the eight songs Little Mix has selected to represent themselves to thousands of pop-loving American audiences, only three have even charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and none have reached higher than No. 67.
It is understandable that Little Mix would select the American-charting songs (“Wings,” “Black Magic,” and “Shout Out to My Ex”) for their Dangerous Woman Tour setlist. These songs made an impact, if a small one, on the American market. I cannot argue with the addition of “Black Magic” and “Shout Out to My Ex,” especially since both are relatively recent singles and “Shout Out to My Ex” has name recognition as a diss track about Perrie Edwards’ ex-fiance, Zayn Malik.
But “Wings”? “Wings” came out in 2012 — five years ago. If it failed to help Little Mix find success in North America in 2012, it certainly will not help them now. “Wings” is from Little Mix’s first album, and the band is already on their fourth. Shouldn’t they be promoting Glory Days, which they just released in November?
It is unfathomable that on their eight-track setlist, Little Mix have chosen to sing only two tracks from Glory Days. Presumably, they want to promote their current sound, and Glory Days features plenty of tracks that could help the group gain traction with American audiences. “You Gotta Not,” which was co-written by American chart-topper Meghan Trainor, would be a perfect start, as would “Down & Dirty,” which features a memorable drop and would allow Little Mix to show off their ability to rap.
Instead, Little Mix are sticking to the same songs that they have always performed. In 2014, when Little Mix opened for Demi Lovato on her Neon Lights Tour, the group performed “Salute,” “Wings,” and “Move.” The ladies also performed “Salute,” “Move,” “Wings,” and “Black Magic” in their set at the Billboard Hot 100 Festival in 2015.
Not only are these songs unsuccessful, they are also stale. North American Little Mix fans, including myself, get so few opportunities to see the band perform in the United States that they will try to seek them out whenever possible. However, when we do manage to see the group at a festival or opening for another artist, we are rewarded with the exact same songs we have already seen time and time again. Please trust me when I say that I love Little Mix but I could happily never hear “Wings” again for as long as I live.
The Dangerous Woman Tour setlist is not entirely disastrous. “Touch,” Little Mix’s current single, is a tropical-house bop that will impact U.S. radio in the coming weeks; performing the track live for Ariana Grande’s audience is a great way to promote the single. Additionally, mashing up “Hair” with Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” makes the track relevant and memorable for American audiences.
I respect and admire Little Mix’s showmanship, choreography, and incredible vocals. I want them to gain more opportunities to break into the American market. But if they continue to play it safe like they do on the Dangerous Woman Tour setlist, American fans might get more out of staying home and listening to Glory Days than seeing Little Mix live.
[Featured Image by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images]