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MANILA, Philippines - American performer-celebrity Jennifer Lopez is a dancer, a singer, a choreographer, a movie star, a perfume and accessories magnate, a product endorser, a fashion designer, a television personality and producer, a philanthropist, (was) an American Idol judge, (was) a wife, a lover and a mother.
Just about the only things she isn’t are Filipino and anonymous. (She was married to a half-Filipino, though.)
This native of Bronx, New York is tenacity personified. She managed to build up her discography, filmography, videography, fame and fortune in just a little over two decades, despite the supposed limitations of her parents’ Puerto Rican roots ― making for a classic tale of a hard-knocks gal who, against all odds, was hell-bent on living the American dream.
Not only did Lopez seem intent on rising above her middle-class roots and persona, she evolved into a consistent alpha female amassing one prominence-pushing, money-making pursuit after another.
Consequently, this 43-year-old part-Hispanic has also managed to broaden the norm of American celebrity, which has heretofore been limited to stars of Caucasian and African-American descent.
Jen of all trades
Diversification appears to be Lopez’s chief modus operandi.
Her dancing, often sensual and sensational, furious and feisty, bears hints of Latin, jazz, flamenco and disco.
Lopez’s music albums, despite their general pop sensibility, have run the gamut of R&B, funk, Latin, dance and hip-hop.
Her cinema roles have had even more range, as she is able to swing from romantic-comedy damsel to action-flick tough chick, from singer or dancer in certain dramas to familiar central figure in one or two tasteful, peculiar outings, in the process jamming with big-name and no-name directors and actors alike.
J.Lo’s business endeavors have not been limited to a single product, either: She has at least 14 perfumes to her name (named in part after that 3-letter, fan-coined nickname of hers), has lines of clothing and home accessories, and has signed up for high-profile endorsements, including cars and cosmetics.
Millions of global admirers and even detractors have thus been visual or aural witnesses to Lopez’s body of work at least once, be it from her Fly Girl stint on the TV comedy In Living Color, as the titular star of the biopic Selena (her first time to parlay both her singing and acting skills most visibly), her memorable turns in Out of Sight, The Cell and Anaconda, or simply through the catchy likes of “Waiting for Tonight,” “Jenny from the Block,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” or “On the Floor” thanks to incessant radio, MTV, club and car-stereo play.
From the looks of it, the tireless Lopez is not just determined to keep moving her (high-heeled, natch) feet on the dance floor; she likewise seems firm on outdoing ― or shall we say, outdancing ― anyone else who’s into high-profile multi-tasking.
As the title of her Woody Harrelson-Wesley Snipes co-starrer puts it, Lopez has become a money train. And who wouldn’t want to get onboard, so to speak ― as proven by her ongoing Dance Again world tour (her first-ever intercontinental trek), whose November 26 stop at the SM Mall of Asia Arena has a wide array of sponsors and partners, led by Vista Land, Zenea and PLDT Fibr as “presenters.”
She ain’t all that but…
For all of her commercial and creative triumphs, Jennifer Lopez and her career are not without blemishes.
Her foray into the movies, which preceded her singing career and which has its share of praises and box-office success, has not been without the errant financial loss or critical disdain, as primarily embodied by Gigli, her big-screen team-up with then-boyfriend Ben Affleck and whose repute as one of the worst films of all time have kept people from even checking it out for free on cable TV.
Her vocal skill has its limits, incapable of soaring pitches or the kind of mad solo breaks that she does when dancing. Lopez may trump, say, Paula Abdul as dancer, singer and even AI judge, and can carry a tune on record or while sashaying away onstage, but her singing has largely been serviceable as opposed to commendable.
In exchange for her popularity as well as propensity for courting controversy (such as via her infamous, very-plunging green Versace dress at the 2000 Grammy Awards), J.Lo has been a paparazzi’s pet, her every move and milestone (including the rumor of her getting a billion-dollar butt insurance) resulting in brisk business for tabloids and gossip media. Her own biopic and memoir should be inevitable.
And Lopez’s songs, teeming with killer hooks to match her killer looks, have been devoid of lyrical depth, alternating largely between expressions of love and romance or calls to cut loose under the proverbial mirror ball.
If anything, though, such imperfections can only help fuel Lopez’s constant yearning to not rest despite her laurels ― the way her primary predecessor, Madonna, continues to keep proving herself despite increasing age.
In Lopez’s case as well, complexity may be absent from her lyrics but not in her dancing, which seems to be a 60-moves-per-minute dynamic that enthralls as much as entertains.
Show of the year?
The Philippines has been showered with hundreds of good to great gigs this outgoing year, featuring local or foreign talent or both, ranging from musical to theatrical to both, utilizing showstopper artists or effects.
That said, Jennifer Lopez’s Dance Again gig this Monday night (the extravaganza unfolds around 8 pm with the hiphop dance troupe Philippine Allstars as the opening act) promises to at least take a shot at being the Show of the Year.
This is thanks not only to a 16-track greatest-hits type playlist and the lead lady’s expected dance-junkie demonstrations but also to a reported torrent of dazzling theatricality, covering mammoth-screen video interludes across the set list (itself divided into four thematic segments), and impressive costume and set changes ― which helps explain the hefty ticket prices sold by SM Tickets.
As Lopez, the mother of twin 4-year-olds with ex-husband Marc Anthony, does her feverish song-and-dance bit amid our humid weather (no lipsynching, here’s hoping), the Arena audience would very likely be doing some multitasking themselves: dancing and singing along, shooting pics or vids with their phones, cheering and applauding loud, and more quietly, expressing amazement at how Jenny from the block became queen of the world. - Rappler.com
Per organizers MMI Live which had also brought in Morrissey and the Smashing Pumpkins this year, the J.Lo show is for the benefit of UN Women National Committee Philippines, a gender equality and women empowerment entity.
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