It's called the Back to Basics Tour, but Christina Aguilera's upcoming North American outing will be anything but basic.
In fact, fans can expect 10 costume changes (all courtesy of Roberto Cavalli), 820 pounds of confetti and at least 600 moving lights on the stage — but who's counting?
"I don't think it would be fair to my audience to just sit on the stage with a mic," Aguilera explained Tuesday. "If I play in an arena, I want my audience to look around and enjoy a show from all aspects. ... For me, whenever I go to see a concert, I really enjoy being taken out of my element for a moment and really being able to use my imagination and enter this whole different world. We do bring sort of a larger-than-life feel to this old concept, so for me it wasn't about literally going back to the old and doing it that way. It's important to me to do my own interpretation of that and kind of bring a modern-day feel to that."
For Aguilera, that means transforming the venues on her tour — which kicks off February 20 in Houston (see "Christina Aguilera's Heading Back On Tour For 41 North American Dates") — into a three-ring circus (see "Christina Tells Fans To Expect 'Amazing Circus,' Throwbacks On Tour"), complete with a carousel horse.
"My dancers went into training. I'm so proud of them," Christina said. "They learned how to stilt-walk, how to trapeze, fire-throw. There are so many different circus elements that are involved in the show, and it's just super fun."
With her 20-member cast of musicians and dancers, Aguilera is also bringing elements of church and cabaret clubs into the show.
"We start out with kind of a jazz/ big-band-era kind of feel, but trying to make it as big as possible," she said. "My band gets involved with some of the choreography. ... We go into a sort of juke-joint feel, and then with the song 'Makes Me Wanna Pray,' it kind of opens the doors to go to that real soulful 'Let's go to church' kind of place. Then we open it up to a circus element, so there's quite a journey that goes onstage for my audience and the performers, but it all does tie together."
Joining Aguilera on the tour will be the Pussycat Dolls and "Making the Band" alums Danity Kane. "It is nice to have a girl-empowered kind of show," she said. "I'm happy that we are all able to do it together and be in support of other women. There's so much press trying to pit people against people, especially females, and trying to instigate catfights. Trust me, I'm not a stranger to being a victim of that in the press. ... But I hear these girls have really positive things to say about what I do, so I'm sure it'll be really fun to go out with them."
After releasing Back to Basics last summer, Christina considered launching a tour of small clubs like the Blue Note in New York, but the arena tour came together more quickly.
"But it gives me more time to work the bigger show and then completely strip it down to something super raw and organic," she said. "I think there is something really special about doing a performance like that and feeling the energy of a more intimate audience, and that is something we are definitely, definitely going to entertain in the future."
It's the smaller venues, however, that are more intimidating for the pop star. "It makes for a more vulnerable approach for your performance. You can't hide behind anything," she explained. "It's just you, and your audience is right in front of you, but I still love it. I love to perform more than anything else in the world, being on that stage and feeling the energy of the crowd enjoying your music."
Before launching her tour, Aguilera will perform Sunday at the Grammys (see "Aguilera, Blige, Timberlake Solo Performance Added To Grammy Lineup").