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Balladeer reigns for two-nights at Dodge Arena
By Rose Ybarra / The Monitor

When you are an international superstar like Luis Miguel, fending off the paparazzi is a part of daily life. Authorized or not, stories are printed and aired even if they are nothing but rumor and innuendo.

Many celebrities surrender to the paparazzi while others live by the motto, “no press is bad press.”

But Luis Miguel is relentless about keeping his private life under wraps. He isn’t the sort to make the rounds on the talk show circuits. His publicists at D. Baron Media Relations Inc. said he rarely does interviews of any kind.

He has been called “reclusive” or a “hermit” by several media outlets.

Luis Miguel keeps a low profile because interviews foster questions about his love life and his relationship with his mother, topics he refuses to discuss publicly.

The son of Italian-born model Marcella Bastieri and Spanish singer Luisito Rey, Luis Miguel recorded his first album in 1982 and became a teen icon with a hit "1 + 1 = 2 Enamorados."

Luis Miguel is followed by Spanish-language media around the clock.

His stellar career, interesting background and choice in women keep the paparazzi chomping at the bit. The Latin crooner dated Mariah Carey for years and has also been linked to other beauties such as Sofia Vergara, Thalia and Daisy Fuentes. He is currently dating Myrka Dellanos, co-host of the widly popular Latin show, Primer Impacto.

But when the media comes on too strong, Luis Miguel comes on even stronger.

“I am very adamant about keeping my private life private,” Luis Miguel said in a recent news conference in Cancun. “I don’t prefer to talk about my family.”

While Luis Miguel said he is grateful for the media’s support, “I maintain my sanity by keeping my distance.”

But the stage is a different story altogether. It is where the 33-year old really shines. It is where Luis Miguel expresses himself best.

Simply talking about live performances makes Luis Miguel smile — really smile. “The most enjoyable part of my career is singing live,” he said.

That comes as no surprise. Aside from his Don Juan-esque qualities, the balladeer is best known for his strong live performances.

His 21-city U.S. Tour kicked off on Oct. 8 in Palm Springs and ends in November in Puerto Rico. The jaunt includes a two-show stop at Dodge Arena in Hidalgo on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

In March 2002, Luis Miguel performed two sold-out shows at La Villa Real Special Events Center in McAllen with a total audience of 5,000.

As of Tuesday, more than 7,000 tickets had already been sold to fans from both sides of the U.S.- Mexico border.

“It should be close to a sellout,” said concert promoter Nano Ramirez. “Get your tickets before show day.”

Luis Miguel said concert-goers can expect him to perform a wide variety of songs from his lengthy career.

“I’m really looking forward to my U.S. Tour,” he said. “I will sing several unforgettable songs in the concerts. A lot of songs I haven’t sang in while.”

Luis Miguel’s latest CD, 33, was released on Sept. 29 and already has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

The album title bears his age, 33.

“I wanted to name it 23, but they said nobody would believe me,” he said, spurring a chorus of laughter from the press.

He touched on several topics during the rare news conference, including piracy.

“Piracy is important to talk about,” he said. “It’s harming the music industry. It hurts all of us. The public needs to understand every time they buy a pirated CD, they hurt the industry. The only ones who can change that are the fans and the people that buy CDs. It’s everybody’s responsibility to prevent it.”

Reporters also asked Luis Miguel why he sticks with his classic bolero style when other great artists are successfully incorporating rap and rock into their music.

“I don’t like rock,” he said. “Honestly, I like to listen to it, but it’s not for me. There’s a lot of musical genres that I find interesting, but they don’t suit me. It’s one thing to listen to different genres, but to perform a genre that isn’t yours is counterproductive.”

Luis Miguel also talked about a possible duet with legendary ladies man, crooner Julio Iglesias.

“We’ve had a good relationship for many years,” he said.

Luis Miguel was asked if he had any chapters in his life that he would like to rewrite or erase altogether.

“I think we all wish we could erase some dark times in our lives,” he said. “But all of life’s experiences, bad and good make you who you are. Erasing any of life’s experiences would be a great mistake.”