Enrique Iglesias has always been proud of the fact that his dad never spoiled him as a kid, and that Pops never helped him in his singing career. True, but that says more about Julio's genius than Enrique's self-reliance -- however insufferable Enrique's music is, you can't blame Julio for it.
There is one aspect, though, that's all Julio: the moaning and rapid-fire delivery in key parts of the song, only comparable -- oddly enough -- with Marty Scorsese's cab scene in Taxi Driver, or Quentin Tarantino's cameo in Pulp Fiction (you know, that nice little kitchen scene right after Vince blows Marvin's brains out in the car). That's how these guys sing, both Julio and Enrique. Just when they can't get any cornier ("I love you ... I love you ... I love you"), they stop cold in their tracks and pull a machine-gun Scorsese on us ("loveyouloveyouloveyou ..." Damn, I wish this was a radio).
Another similarity between father and son is that neither one can dance. But if Julio comes off suave and still, Enrique is just ridiculous. With fame, success, and Anna Kournikova, he's grown even more wooden. But then he knows he can't dance, and uses his arrhythmia like the best aikido master, faking his way through a surreal motionless state. You gotta love this dude!
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The American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd.
Performs at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 2, Tickets cost $25 to $95. Call 305-358-5885.
Things began changing, though, when Enrique started to sing in English. Until then, his old-fashioned Aunt Jemima syrup was business as usual: That's what these guys do! However, his Anglo side (after all, he grew up here) had some punch to it, even if "serious" critics find it hard to admit. Now Enrique is in a difficult spot -- he must please everyone, the gringas and the chicas. And even though he's just released his first all-Spanish album in five years (the best-ever showing for an all-Spanish disc in the Billboard 200), at least during his stop in Norfolk, Virginia he started off singing in English. To make things worse, he followed a powerful opening act by Paulina Rubio, who, ironically, has an all-English album but began the show singing in Spanish, introducing herself as "Paulina Rubio, Made In Mexico" (Go, girl!).
The worst thing about Enrique Iglesias is not that he sucks. No. The worst is that he single-handedly seems determined to destroy the axiom that says it is we, Latinos, who have the groove. Judging by his now-bilingual shows, it seems the other way around -- the gringos have Motown, we have dick. Bottom line: You're in Miami, Henry. Get an English-edge transfusion into your bland Spanish repertoire. Or, at least, fake it.