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Superstar just a bit too comfortable
By Steve Knopper / rockymountainnews.com

For an immensely talented singer who has sold 50 million albums around the world, looks immaculate in a suit and inspires women to stand up and mouth every word, Luis Miguel sure worries a lot about his earpiece. He spent a large portion - well, enough to be distracting - of his near-two-hour show pointedly gesturing to stagehands and sound engineers.

It's hard to say exactly what was troubling him before roughly 3,300 people at the University of Denver, but Miguel seemed to be miming: "Turn me up! Turn everyone else down!" That's OK. Perfectionism can be entertaining, too.

At age 33, the Puerto Rican-born, Mexican-raised Miguel is an international superstar. He patterns himself after crooners such as Julio Iglesias and Frank Sinatra, and while he overloads his set with goopy, shimmering ballads, his charisma is commanding. Miguel has perfect teeth, a perfect tan and perfectly thick, straight hair pulled back into a bun.

He also knows his way around a crescendo. Rather than firing all his weapons early in a given song, Mariah- and Whitney-style, Miguel starts O tu o Ninguna and Dame tu Amor casually then builds to a huge, sustained shout.

On the former song, he supplemented the vocal climax by dramatically spreading his arms and staring pointedly into the audience.

Opening with Vuelve, from his 2003 album 33, Miguel showed equal command of both self- penned pop hits and souped-up standards. Before 33, Miguel put out four straight albums of classic material, and Amor, Amor, Amor (now the theme of a Mexican soap opera) epitomizes this approach - happy and modern, solemn and respectful.

A little too respectful. Miguel seems uninterested in changing music. His big Latin-jazz number, Eres, had the feel of a '70s game-show theme, and even the swinging Suave and Con Tus Besos eventually dissolved into bland smooth jazz.

Miguel deserves respect for sticking to his cultural blueprint.

No Ricky Martin crossover move for him.

But the former child star (who performed some early-'80s hits toward the end) also gives the impression that any kind of crossover, even one into more adventurous jazz or rock, would be too much of a stretch.