On Wednesday, Jennifer Lopez will turn 50.
On Monday, she defied age, gravity and any normal human being’s capacity for exhaustion when she stormed Atlanta’s State Farm Arena for one of the final U.S. dates of her “It’s My Party” tour.
The celebratory run, which kicked off in early June and will wrap Saturday in Miami, is her first major outing since 2012 and will continue to globe trot through September.
When everything looks and sounds this great, why not showcase it for the world?
Lopez’s commitment is admirable, her talent as a dancer astounding and her abilities as a singer commendable.
Has it really been 28 years since the Fly Girl with the pretty smile morphed into this multi-threat beauty, capable of starring in network TV shows, headlining in Las Vegas, filming rom-coms, raising a family, and now navigating a high-profile relationship – while still finding time for what must be a million ab crunches a day?
And, as Lopez reminded during a stylish “Godfather”-esque video between costume changes, “I’m from the Bronx. I can do what I want.”
Indeed, “It’s My Party” is 100 percent Lopez’s unbridled ambition, from the circular chandelier that delivered her onstage for the opening “Medicine” - her current dance hit with French Montana - to her fierce delivery of Selena’s “Si Una Vez,” to her homages to her New York roots (“I’m Real,” “Jenny From the Block,” the latter performed with silver sequined baseball cap intact).
For more than two hours, the force known as J. Lo deployed numerous costume changes – most of them showcasing her toned physique (hey, if you’ve got it…) and her penchant for fringed, knee-high boots as she rolled through 22 songs that spotlighted her heritage and career.
While her canned patter was a bit disappointing (“It’s my birthday suit!” she said, uh, cheekily of her derriere-baring body suit at the start of the show), whenever Lopez opted for natural engagement with the mostly sold-out crowd, her charm was palpable.
Backed by a five-piece band and three backup singers, Lopez definitely had some assistance with backing tracks (the buzzy bass-driven “Dinero” and sassy “Ain’t Your Mama” were more about performance), but she can sing.
Her pretty tone was substantiated on the Sara Bareilles ballad “Gravity” and the 2018 piece of pop perfection written by Sia, “Limitless.” Is it clichéd? Well, yeah. But when prefaced by Lopez expressing her love for her fans (“Thank you for getting into fights with people when they say bad things about me,” she said, and then quickly added with a smile, “But I don’t condone that kind of behavior!”) and her pep talk about never giving up, the song thrived live. And what Lopez fan wouldn’t get a kick out of seeing 11-year-old Emme join her mom onstage in a matching red chiffon dress to sing (quite well) the refrain of the song?
A couple of portions of the show dragged on a bit longer than necessary, such as the “Hustlers”-inspired lap dance bit with an audience member, set to a sultry reworking of “If You Had My Love,” and anything having to do with Lopez’s annoying DJ/hype man.
But Lopez is a star, and she knows how to intensify the energy. It was always a kick to watch her young cadre of insanely acrobatic dancers working to keep up with HER, whether she was bouncing on her quads of steel during “Get Right” or swiveling her hips around the small, circular platform extended from the stage for “Te Guste,” her reggaeton hit with Bad Bunny that turned the venue into a laser-filled nightclub.
Balloons, obviously, were a major part of the show, beginning with Cirque du Soleil-inspired crowd walkers, all bearing white balloons, to the ending celebration, which Lopez clearly earned.
For her, it’s more than just dedication to entertaining. Lopez looks as if she genuinely enjoys every tricky dance routine, every costume swap and every shriek from a fan.
She’s a true pro – at any age.
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