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When the stars come out to play

Shakira had every move in the book down pat, and it was hot, hot, hot. -myp
Victoria Barker

Mon, Sep 26, 2011
my paper

WHAT: Shakira Live

VENUE: 2011 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, Padang Stage

ATTENDANCE: 40,000

WHEN: Saturday night

Just when you thought the Singapore Grand Prix Season couldn't get any hotter, along came Shakira. In all her uber-sizzling, Colombian sex-siren glory, no less.

Indeed, if the singer had had intentions to send temperatures soaring with her 90-minute set, it must be said that she succeeded in her mission a thousand times over.

Never mind that she had brought the gig last Saturday night forward by almost three hours at the last minute.

She came on at 8.30pm, leaving some race-goers oblivious to the change in scheduling.

The blonde bombshell had reportedly done so in order to catch her beau, Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, in a match airing on television.

No, that didn't stop some 40,000 people from thronging the main Padang stage to witness the gal's sensuous Latin charms live.

Decked out in black pants so tight they looked like they'd been sewn on a la Olivia Newton-John in Grease, and a midriff-baring metallic blouse that showed off her rock-hard abs, Shakira proved incendiary.

The 34-year-old, whose full name is Shakira Mebarak Ripoll, worked the stage like a pro - perhaps a little too much at times, if you catch my drift - shimmying and sashaying like her life depended on it.

The males in the audience must have been glad of that fact, as the hip-shaking continued on and on as the Grammy-winning songstress belted out hits from throughout her illustrious career, from Whenever, Wherever (2001) to She Wolf (2009).

Simply put, she had every move in the book down pat, and it was hot, hot, hot.

But if her slinky sex appeal hooked the men, it must have been her confidence and sense of fun that drew the women in attendance.

At one point, she decided that her two dancers, energetic as they were, weren't enough.

She ceremoniously pulled up four ecstatic female fans for a spot of booty-shaking.

Good on the girls, too, for gamely giving it their all.

They were rewarded with hugs from a beaming Shakira, who was headlining the second night of F1 festivities in a line-up that also included 1980s British pop icons like Boy George and Rick Astley.

She also handed out roses to lucky fans during a quieter moment of the show.

As for her voice, which can admittedly be a little grating with its nasal, Muppet-like tone, it was, nevertheless, in fine form.

She displayed an impressive stamina, hitting all the right notes even as she danced.

It was a far cry from Mariah Carey's performance last year, during which the superstar, who later revealed she was pregnant at the time, frequently struggled to catch her breath.

But if there were awkward moments during the show, it would have been when the popstar broke out the cover versions.

Her baffling selection?

Metallica's Nothing Else Matters, which came across as random, out-of-place, and altogether weird.

Her piecemeal rendition of 1980s classic Unbelievable, by British dance-rock band EMF, fared slightly better.

Thankfully, she chose to close the show on a high note with her biggest smash hits, Hips Don't Lie (2004) and last year's most infectious official World Cup theme, Waka Waka (This Time For Africa).

Let's put it this way: The massive crowd could be seen attempting to emulate those signature hip-swirls long after the woman herself had bade her goodbyes.

vbarker@sph.com.sg


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