It seems appropriate that the first single from Luis Fonsi's English-language debut should be called "Secret." Although the video suggests the song is about a beautiful model/singer/movie star who must hide her love for our little hottie -- tucking him away in a warehouse where he must execute stylized hip-hop moves with a corps of background dancers -- Fight the Feeling forces out into the open the secret that there's not anything all that exotic or foreign about being Puerto Rican, Ricky Martin's hips and J.Lo's butt notwithstanding. Not that Fonsi can't shake his bon-bon; it's just that there appears to be no difference between Fonsi's Anglo turn and anything put out by, say, 'N Sync or the Backstreet Boys.
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Which makes perfect sense. "There's so many Latins hiding that people don't even know," says Fonsi, outing in the process Backstreet Boy and fellow Boricua Howie Dorough. Keeping in mind that Fonsi's best bud in his Orlando high school was 'N Sync's Joey Fatone -- who co-directed and shows up in a cameo on the "Secret" video -- what seems strange is that Fonsi was first snatched up as a Latin balladeer for his first two outings, Comenzaré (1998) and Eterno (2000). "Yeah, it was strange at first," Fonsi admits. "I had to brush up on my Spanish. Now I have to kind of brush up on my English after doing all those interviews for years with the Latin media."
With the simultaneous release of Fight the Feeling and the Spanish-language version Amor Secreto, he indulges his inner Latin lover and boy-band crooner in equal, impeccably produced parts. On Amor Secreto he even ventures into serious artist territory with his version of the Pablo Milanes classic "Para Vivir." A stretch? "I always try to include at least one song that's a little deeper than what my listeners expect," he explains. But don't worry, teenyboppers, Fonsi won't let himself go too deep for too long. "Basically, I'm a dork," he says happily and frequently. Try translating that into Spanish.
Luis Fonsi opens for Britney Spears
The National Car Rental Center, NW 137th Way, Sunrise
7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, Tickets range from $41.25 to $77. Call 954-523-3309.