April 16, 2016


Ellie Goulding Makes Her Case for Pop Dominance at Coachella

Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

As an English pop star whose stateside success has been sporadic, Ellie Goulding once again proved she has the charisma and precision to stack against the top-shelf artists scaling the charts at a consistent pace during her Coachella main stage performance on Friday night (Apr. 15).

Goulding's showmanship is an immediate selling point. In a cropped white long-sleeve top and fitting shorts, she was on full display from the start on Friday night. Within the first three songs, including "Burn" and "Holding on for Life," she shredded an electric guitar and banged out a mean rhythm on the drums. It's a versatility that only added to the allure, conveying a grasp for the music at hand and her ability to maneuver through it.

For Goulding, the set was a run-through of proven hits that only embolden her standing. It was a reminder that she's a hit factory who keeps winning: "Anything Can Happen," "On My Mind" and a stripped version of "Lights" only backed it. 

What she's missing is the razor choreography of Britney Spears, and the cult prominence of Taylor Swift. Goulding is the working woman's pop star. There are no bells or whistles, just strong footing, an exuberance for the guilty-pleasure gems she's produced and a hearty, arresting presence.

"I just want to say this is a dream come true for me, to play on this stage. I appreciate it so much," she said, sliding into Calvin Harris' "I Need Your Love." It was fitting: Goulding’s earned it, even if the rest of the world needs to catch up.