We've always had a love-hate relationship with Channel 7, whose local news programs best represent the kind of town Miami is -- loud, obnoxious, superficial, sometimes ridiculous, but family, you know? Lynn Martinez, a WSVN reporter and anchor for the past twelve years, is adept at handling the station's split personality. At 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. she's professional newscaster Lynn, delivering her lines with a snap and polish that would hold up nicely at the networks. But at 7:30 we get a glimpse of Lynn the mischievous wag as she trades barbs with co-host Belkys Nerey on the silly and thoroughly enjoyable Deco Drive, which would be nothing more than a half-hour ad for the entertainment industry were it not for the evident glee with which Lynn (and the impish Belkys) finesse the clever writing.

Readers Choice: Dwight Lauderdale, WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

While her specialty remains thrashing the school board, teachers' union, and classroom chaos, this "Pitbull in Pumps" (a nickname from her days in Tulsa television) has branched out recently. She's looked into everything from failing police radios in Miami Beach to prescription drug prices to medical fraud. For her fans, Jilda knows how to cut to the chase. To the retired dentist whose "resonator" had no tangible medical value, the relentless investigator asked, "Have you cured AIDS?" Does she have detractors? Of course, and she's proud of the long list. "Why do I have to explain it to Jilda Unruh?" one of the teachers' union members demanded of her when she questioned him about his bloated contract. Well, sir, because if you don't respond, she might just sink her teeth into you.

Some of América TeVe's shows are the boobiest in boob-tube history. Thanks to Tania, Rocio, Isis, Taymi, and Kathy's. Wrapped in shimmering, colorful, skin-tight outfits, they make even the dumbest variety shows exciting. Well, how else are you supposed to get people's attention? Fights about politics is another way. Let's get to the punch: Maria Elvira Confronta, the show with two impacting boxing gloves as a logo. The debate show, hosted by Maria Elvira Salazar, is the contact point between many real issues of the day and the viewing audience. The discussion (always in Spanish) often devolves into the talk-show equivalent of white noise because all four guests and Salazar herself are shouting at once. But at least it's relevant white noise. Is El Nuevo Herald a serious newspaper? Is the U.S. embargo against Cuba a failure? Is plastic surgery a necessity or vanity? Are beauty pageants exploitation or promotion? These are the kinds of questions that can provoke heavyweight bouts of rhetoric any given weeknight from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Salazar has also drawn crowds with her solo interrogations of Varela Project organizer Oswaldo Payá and chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation Jorge Mas Santos. The station's programmers give viewers a one-two punch at night. After Salazar, Gilberto Reyes and Miguel Gonzalez (a.k.a. Los Fonomemecos) enter the ring to lower the blood pressure with El Mikimbin de Miami. This live studio show mixes serious talk with comedy, reality with make-believe. To wit: A guest like FIU president Mitch Maidique can suddenly end up face to face with Alejo Campuzano, a silly, tacky, and impertinent character performed by Gonzalez (when he isn't doing one of the best Fidel impressions in la yuma).

Readers Choice: WPLG-TV (Channel 10)

Sun may scorch our skin. Heat and humidity can blanket us. Heavy rains could bombard. Tornadoes might threaten. Hurricanes may barrel our way. No sweat. Don Noe's presence -- calm, cool, reassuring -- and his finely tuned forecasts are all we need. As chief meteorologist at Channel 10 (WPLG-TV), Wisconsin native Noe, a fixture on the South Florida airwaves for 24 years, is the consummate pro, confidently standing in front of his map and carefully explaining fronts, fog, barometric pressure, rip currents, and the like to a more-than-skeptical viewership. Telling it like it is, was, and will be. And more often than not, he's right.

In 1977 Elvis Costello burst onto the musical scene, earning a well-deserved reputation as an angry, guitar-wielding young man. Penning punk-rock songs that were both literary and lacerating, he was pretty surly himself. Twenty-five years later it seemed only appropriate that the rocker's latest album would be dubbed When I Was Cruel. Cruel and Costello went together like punch and pie -- a punch in the nose and a pie in the face. So imagine our surprise at the kinder, gentler Costello who took the Gleason Theater stage this past November. Smiling, charming, and in better voice than he's ever been, the 47-year-old rocker -- backed by his band The Imposters (featuring former Attractions keyboardist Steve Nieve and drummer Pete Thomas, plus veteran bassist Davey Faragher) -- tirelessly pounded out a two-hour, twenty-song set that included new tunes and old stalwarts such as "Watching the Detectives," "Deep, Dark, Truthful Mirror," "Pump It Up," and "Alison." The young and mostly older crowd began excitedly dancing in the aisles and even rushed the stage, where they remained throughout the show.

Forget, for a moment, the clichéd MOR ballads ("To All the Girls I've Loved Before") and think about that famously memorable voice. Julio Iglesias is the sound of romance. Soft and mellifluous, his voice seems to lilt instead of sing, fluttering into our ears like vowels falling into words. Beautiful, memorable, and rarified, it almost redeems all those cheesy ballads he's famous for.

Readers Choice: Lee Williams

You have to get past the awkward hip-hop lingo of the University of Miami's collegiate disc jockeys, but once you do, The Hip-Hop Shop is good listening. Songs range from classics to new (and occasionally self-indulgent) indie hip-hop, but even when the going gets goofy, it's always fun, and always better than the latest commercial hip-hop that floods the rest of the FM airwaves.

Forget, for a moment, the clichéd MOR ballads ("To All the Girls I've Loved Before") and think about that famously memorable voice. Julio Iglesias is the sound of romance. Soft and mellifluous, his voice seems to lilt instead of sing, fluttering into our ears like vowels falling into words. Beautiful, memorable, and rarified, it almost redeems all those cheesy ballads he's famous for.

Readers Choice: Lee Williams

Those who forget the Eighties are doomed to repeat them: How else to explain the surge of local interest in electroclash, that much-hyped remodeling of European New Wave music and its accompanying oh-so-kitschy fashions? Shoulder pads and leg warmers have yet to be spotted, but just about every other once-maligned Eighties fashion marker has returned with a vengeance as a growing number of Miami venues hop on a national trend, shunting aside their traditional beats for the stiffer grooves of electroclash. A mass of studded wristbands and belts, sleeveless T-shirts, skinny ties, and even skinnier sunglasses have all hit the dance floor to the tune of Fischerspooner and Peaches's updating of the chilly synthesized shuffles once pioneered by the likes of Kraftwerk, the Normal, and the Human League. It may have been introduced in these parts by mainland Miami's Revolver, but now even crobar's Back Door Bamby, once a bastion of eminently slinky house, has made room for this genre -- and its fans -- in its opening hours. You could scratch your head over electroclash's appeal -- how can its barely twentysomething adherents be so nostalgic for an era they're too young to actually recall? And just how do you properly dance to a style better suited to a spasm than the funky chicken? But perhaps it's best to just enjoy this new sonic option and its burst of fresh energy while it lasts. After all, like drum and bass before it, the first law of clubland thermodynamics means electroclash's days in the spotlight are already numbered.

You have to get past the awkward hip-hop lingo of the University of Miami's collegiate disc jockeys, but once you do, The Hip-Hop Shop is good listening. Songs range from classics to new (and occasionally self-indulgent) indie hip-hop, but even when the going gets goofy, it's always fun, and always better than the latest commercial hip-hop that floods the rest of the FM airwaves.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®