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.

Entertaining and experimental, handsome and talented, Roberto Poveda has always been a musical Miami gem, but he hasn't always been easy to hear. Gigs come and go in this dismal live-music town. But now Poveda can be heard pretty regularly at One Ninety, the funk-hip joint just north of the Design District. Really, it's Poveda's voice that pulls in the quality-starved crowd, crooning out his own particular styling of Cuban music called son or nueva trova that washes over you like our warm turquoise waves. The Cuban-born singer with a famous brother plays his Saturday-night stand with a band, so you can dance, sway, hum, or simply listen. Welcome back to the live scene.

Beginning his love affair with percussion at the seemingly late age of eighteen didn't set Sammy Figueroa back one bit. His unshakable sense of tempo and astounding ability to improvise clearly indicated that playing percussive instruments was his destiny. He would go on to perform with an eclectic roster of musical superstars including Miles Davis, Chet Baker, David Bowie, Marc Anthony, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion. With partner Rachel Faro, he'd produce records for Cuban a cappella group Vocal Sampling and Puerto Rican cuatro player Yomo Toro. A onetime resident of California and New York, Figueroa packed up his congas and his stellar credentials to live in South Florida two years ago. He's been making his rhythmic presence known ever since, sitting in with the occasional jazz combo, showing up from time to time alongside young hipsters like DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars, and accompanying gal vocalists such as Nicole Henry and Rose Max. Recently the combustible conguero formed the appropriately named Latin Jazz Explosion featuring Carlos Averhoff, Grammy Award winner and nineteen-year veteran of Cuban fusion band Irakere, on saxophone along with Mike Orta on piano, Nick Orta on bass, and Goetz "Santiago" Kujack on drums. The Explosion may just blast itself right out of South Florida, so enjoy the beat master while he's still ours.

Readers Choice: Mumbo Jumbo

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®