x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

All that glitters is not gold

Fans may have snapped up tickets to the singer's Dubai concert, but one reviewer says they are not in for much of a show.

Consider yourselves warned: Jennifer Lopez's Dance Again concerts promise sparkle but deliver stodge.

JLo, as she is best known, is on her first world tour at 43 - and making her Middle East debut in a sold-out show at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre tonight.

Her shows so far have featured an army of dancers that included her current boyfriend of one year, 25-year-old Casper Smart. Of the clunky pop music, the less said the better. Her vocals, a little on the shrill side, are satisfactory, not show-stopping. Instead the shows focus on - and unashamedly exploit - her famous curves, with a large portion of her hit I'm Into You sung with her back to the audience.

Yet, body shape alone isn't enough to explain JLo's success. She's a shrewd player in the world of show business: a Hollywood actress, a former judge on American Idol and a performer who has sold more than 70 million records. She maintains an astute portfolio of liaisons with international brands, in fashion and beyond, including her own range of perfumes.

The glamorous photos in the tour programme, the diamond painted stage curtain and the video sequence of luxury goods that accompanies Love Don't Cost a Thing suggest dazzling entertainment. Instead, the show offers cheap and hackneyed staging: not much more than a flight of steps that sometimes light up, like a 1970s light-entertainment television show set.

The choreography, barring a brief salsa blast for Let's Get Loud, lacks set-piece spectaculars. We get Broadway-on-a-budget chorus lines and dubious hip-hop gymnastics.

When Lopez first came to pop prominence, hip-hop and R&B dominated the US; a slick groove and a hollered hook were key components of chart success. She jumped on the bandwagon. With 10 years' perspective, 2002's Jenny From the Block sounds generic and uninspired.

On the Floor is a hellish mash of blunt dance beats, with Llorando Se Fue (infamously known as the "Lambada") fused with second-hand lyrical cliches about generic "party people" who - no great surprise - are "in da club".

All would be forgiven if the music was up to scratch. But the paltry 90 minutes of the show, encores included, suggests otherwise. - Bloomberg News