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One megahit — even one your kids play too often — does not a pop star make.

Even if John Travolta makes you world famous by mispronouncing your name on the Oscars. Or you sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl. Or every little girl on the planet sings your song.

Let go of the notion that Idina Menzel is a pop star. She's not. So what if "Let It Go" from the Disney blockbuster "Frozen" won an Oscar and a Grammy, sold more than 10 million copies and has received more than 470 million views for the YouTube clip from the movie.

Menzel is a Broadway star, a big-voiced belter who can turn any number into a showstopper. But when she dialed it down on Thursday at sold-out Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis, she suggested she could be a pretty good pop star.

Menzel earned her first whoop-de-do reception of the night not after "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked" (her Broadway signature) or after her brassy Ethel Merman medley. No, she received a rousing ovation after she kicked off her high heels, let her hair down figuratively, knelt on the stage and delivered "Creep," the Radiohead slow-burn rocker about being an outsider who yearns to feel special. She seemed totally out of her artistic comfort zone but got completely inside the song and made the 2,400 people feel her loneliness and yearning.

Menzel's version of Joni Mitchell's "River," while neither definitive nor distinctive, showed that she can emote sadness without raising her voice.

Even when she tackled tunes from "Rent," which frankly sound more like 1980s pop than show tunes, she manifested the depth of her emotionalism on "No Day But Today" and "Take Me or Leave Me," which she turned into a series of duets with audience members that showed off not only her musical chops but also her humanity and humor.

While much of her patter was either self-deprecating, self-aggrandizing or self-indulgent, making her seem like a young Barbra Streisand trying to channel a PG Bette Midler, the 44-year-old New Yorker seemed real whenever she got the crowd involved. For "Take Me or Leave Me," she asked for singers to be bold more than good and the first two met her requirements.

But then Joe was so impressive that Menzel pushed him to the front of the stage. Later, she praised him for not taking the song an octave lower like a man might but staying with his high voice like Prince.

Speaking of voices, Menzel has usually shown an ability to sound both girlish and grand. On Thursday, the girlishness was mostly missing and the grand was quite good, missing the shrillness that has come when she goes for those long-held high notes. She hit them, held them, but didn't shriek.

Near the end of her 110-minute set, Menzel delivered a one-two knockout punch on which she was fully invested emotionally — "Always Starting Over" from her most recent musical "If/Then" with its bravura final note and "For Good" from "Wicked" done a cappella and without a microphone.

Too many of her other show tunes showed off the songs, not the emotion. And all of the songs from her earlier pop albums, including "Still I Can't Be Still," showed how difficult it is to find original material for pop singers with big voices.

But Menzel found a winner with "Let It Go," which she turned into a marathon on Thursday. After a couple of verses and choruses, she invited the crowd to sing along with her, which they dutifully did. But she knows who melts over "Frozen" — kids. She invited about two dozen of them to join her at the foot of the stage for a singalong, holding the mike in front for their individual mouths. If that wasn't the move of a pop star, it was the instincts of a mother.

Twitter: @JonBream • 612-673-1719