Ricky Martin, Crossfade's favorite author, recently performed in front of about 200 people at a special mini-concert for an upcoming MTV Tr3s series called Studio Tr3s. We were lucky enough to be at the studio for the production, and saw firsthand how a bicultural, bilingual variety show comes to life.
The painstakingly long process began at around 7 p.m. when we arrived at Miami's Comtel Studios.
Fans were already lined up at the building's gate, waiting to pass through a metal detector and into the tricked-out TV studio. While many of the people in attendance won tickets through a radio promotion involving Martin's Twitter account, others simply had connections.
Crossfade managed to nab one of the concert goers and asked him how he scored tickets for the special performance. "I have a friend that used to work here at MTV," said Mario Garza. "And she sent me an email saying that Ricky Martin was going to be here." "You're a big fan though, right?" we asked. "I mean, I like him. But it's not like I love him," he replied.
Determined to find a true Martin obsessive, we skipped the line, walked past security, and straight onto the sound stage. At first, we simply watched the crowd shuffle through the doors hoping to find someone wearing a Ricky Martin t-shirt. But no one showed up in Ricky regalia. So after wandering aimlessly about the studio for a few minutes, we settled into a spot near the back, next to some people that looked like industry folks -- producers, managers, groupies, etc.
Shortly after 7:30, the director cued the audience's "energy, applause," and yelled "music." In came Martin holding a microphone and singing "Mas," the first track off his upcoming release, Musica + Alma + Sexo.
It was loud and poppy. But Ricky sounded out-of-sync with his backing band. "I want it to rock," Martin told the crowd after the first attempt. "So we're going to do it again."
After a short break and a little crowd rearranging, Martin was ready to make his entrance all over again, thanking the crowd members for their patience before walking through the audience and onto the stage to join his band. He wrapped up "Mas" and the director gave the go-ahead for a Q&A with the show's hosts, Carlos Santos and Karelix Alicea.
A few segments later, Spanish pop star Natalia Jimenez joined Ricky on stage for a special performance of "Lo Mejor de Mi Vida Eres Tú," and it only took one take. But when it when it came time for the Puerto Rican prince to perform "Shine," he had to rely on a teleprompter for the lyrics. He told the crowd that there were a lot of "tongue twisters" in the song after the first take. And just when Ricky launched into a second attempt, Crossfade decided it was the perfect time for a trip to the shitter.
Following our tour of the men's room, Crossfade was back just in time for a revised version of "Cup of Life." And though it felt more like a jazzercise class than the 1998 World Cup, we were happy to hear a familiar song. Sadly, "Livin' la Vida Loca" was not on the set list.
Running well behind schedule and the planned 9:30 wrap time, we left the studio immediately following the second take of Martin's performance with reggaetoneros Wisin Y Yandel, and the audience Q&A portion of the show.
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It was after 10. And we had already learned that a night with Ricky Martin as a featured guest on an MTV Tr3s variety show may sound fucking great on paper. But it's about as exciting as watching Crossfade write this blog. The magic of television isn't so magical after all.
Studio Tr3s, featuring Ricky Martin with special guests Natalia Jimenez and Winsin y Yandel premiers February 12 on MTV Tr3s.