Jennifer Lopez has been so many things since her career's start that it's hard to remember what she actually does best.
Lopez, 43, is a multi-hyphenate at a time when doing one thing well means little. Luckily, as her song goes, she's doing it well.
She's renowned as a well-choreographed dancer. She's judged other singers (for two seasons on American Idol, a gig she left just weeks ago) and been judged in mixed reviews for her own slight, sprightly dance music hits, big ballads and light soubrette vocal éclat. And she acts, although she's been called out for her relationships and romances more often than she's been tagged an actress.
She has it all and does it all. How well she does the singing and dancing thing was on display Sunday night at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall and her Dance Again tour with smoldering co-headliner Enrique Iglesias.
Dancing boys in top hats and tails and feather-fanning girls ushered Lopez - resplendent in a white fur chapeau and body-clinging spangles - to the wide stage. "Ya lookin' just a little too hard at me," sang Lopez through the repetitive sax-honk of "Get Right" at the night's start.
Brandishing a cane, flailing away and focusing on her signature booty pop through her first songs (the jazzy piano riffing "Love Don't Cost a Thing," the slinky "I'm Into You") made Lopez's voice breathy and small.
Once she got into her dancing and singing stride, Lopez's live voice sounded rich, supple and strong on flashily stuttering cuts like "Hold It Don't Drop It." While her vocal talents were happily surprising, it wasn't too shocking that during her less luminous tunes (e.g., the droning house music of "Goin' In") the live image of J-Lo, looming large on the screen behind her, reminded you of her omnipresence, as if she were selling shampoo.
Luckily those moments were few. Lopez warmly reminded the audience of her Puerto Rican birthright through the swanky, Latin-laced stammer of "Let's Get Loud" and the hip-house of "Papi," as well as heading back to her old Bronx neighborhood with a brisk hip-hoppity medley including the cool mid-tempo "I'm Real" and the jiving "Jenny From The Block." With that, she proved that for all her gloss, Jennifer Lopez is still a home girl made good. Very good.
Though Iglesias gets less of a review after having played Philly in May, his set was no less potent. Bookended by G-rated and X-rated versions of the hi-NRG house hit "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" and centering on stately anthems ("Hero") that showed off his robust baritone, Iglesisas was as much an on-stage buddy as he was a lover man, dragging audience members of both sexes on the stage to share in his bump-n-grind routine.