Published May 25, 2019Mikaela Straus, crowned King Princess, is a regular heartthrob. At a prompt five-to-nine, she strutted onstage to actual screams, which were preceded by a theatre-wide chant for "KP, KP, KP." Each time she flicked her hand through her resilient hair, there was clamour, right on cue.
And there is something special, of course, about a young queer person having such an easy smirk, a worn-in slouch, Tiger Beat nonchalance. Straus is the fantasy a lot of people couldn't shriek the first pre-pubescence around; it's remarkable that her younger fans can.
But there's a cost too, to this kind of glimmering adoration. When Straus tried to introduce a new song, so many people were shouting her name, eager to recount their particular something, that she pulled out her in-ears and traded her story for stage banter. The crowd loved it, of course, when she chuckled at someone telling her to answer their DMs, but it also meant that she didn't get to talk about the reason she was there: her art.
That said, it could be argued that the cult of personality is what ended up saving the show. Strauss is touring on an album that still has yet to be released, so she played only four recorded and released songs (Mind you, they knew the others, and shrieked the words back to her, stadium-style). The rest of her set was unfamiliar, jerky ballads, which Strauss called "mad as fuck" to match her mood lately.
Even her encore was all-new, which felt like a strange move, but the crowd was just so elated to hear her always-earnest voice, and to clutter the stage with their tossed desires: roses, letters, bras, pride flags. Someone even offered her a cigarette, which she slow-dragged and stamped out mid-song. I just hope her album comes out soon, and that when it does, it's treated like the work of an artist, rather than that of a celebrity.