ATLANTIC CITY - In this decade, a cute female singer with a great deal of energy and catchy songs can make it pretty far in the music business.
Exhibit A: Former Christian artist Katy Hudson, better known today as pop singer Katy Perry.
The singer-songwriter-guitarist made her Atlantic City casino debut Thursday in a close to sold-out concert in the Event Center at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
Perry performed in front of more than 2,000 fans, mostly females ranging from preteens to mothers.
As soon as the lights went down and before Perry, 24, even came on stage, the digital cameras and cell phones were hoisted into the air from the crowd, which was standing in front of the stage and filling up the front half of the Event Center.
For someone known for her pop hits, Perry began her concert in rock mode with a track, "Fingerprints," from her million-selling CD, "One of the Boys," released last year.
With drums, bass and two guitarists, Perry gave a musical reminder to those who forgot that she did embark on the punk-rock oriented Warped Tour last year.
Perry's voice is more appealing on her recordings compared to the live setting, but her songs are undeniably catchy, which is her saving grace. That and an Energizer bunny-like enthusiasm, humorous wit and engaging stage presence.
With a stage decorated with pink flamingos and plastic strawberries, Perry encouraged the crowd to clap to the title track of her major label debut, "One of the Boys," which was the show's second song.
Afterward, Perry asked to see the craziest person in the building.
Somehow, a guy in a pink-collared shirt named Adam from Pennsylvania caught her attention. He had her name tattooed on his back.
As soon as Perry launched into one of her four big hits, "Hot N Cold," which reached No. 3 on the pop charts this year, some of the girls, who were sitting in seats on the risers in the middle of the Event Center leapt to their feet and headed to the general admission section in front to sing and dance.
Adam was good - he knew all the words to the song and was dancing like he was in the music video. He knew all her moves. She let him sing a line of the song and hugged him before he left the stage.
The only time Perry stopped moving on stage was when she strapped on a guitar for some of her songs, including "One of the Boys," "Mannequin" and her ballad "Thinking of You," which she performed on stage by herself with an acoustic guitar. It was her best vocal performance of the first half of her show. Her voice isn't very distinctive, anyway, and when her band turns up the volume, she comes off as nothing special vocally.
Perry said she recognized some of the fans up front from previous shows.
"About a year ago, I would have been playing the lobby, or outside, and not here," said Perry showing self-awareness of the amazing success she has had during the last year.
From the stage, Perry said she was going to start making her next CD after the Borgata show. If she can come up with more memorable songs such as "I Kissed a Girl" and "Waking Up in Vegas" for her next release, there will be another crowd of girls and women waiting for her return here.
E-mail Vincent Jackson: