The Wondering Latina: Jenny from the Block, Queen of Vegas

I headed out to Sin City this weekend with friends to catch “All I Have” JLo’s Vegas residency debut at the AXIS in Planet Hollywood.  I don’t know if it was selective memory but I swear there was an extra added high to the normal Vegas buzz just knowing that JLo was in the area. So what is the big deal about this concert, why are we losing our minds? Here were some of my thoughts…

wpr for Latin Billboard Awards - Selena Tribute
Selena tribute gown – Latin Billboard Awards 2015

Selena Factor
For many of us growing up in Texas, Selena was “IT” she was one of us, Mexican-American Latina, born and
raised in Texas. When she tragically died we all mourned her loss. It was then announced that a movie would be made about her life; I still remember the serious fights that erupted over who would play Selena in the film.

There would be a young unknown actress, Jennifer Lopez, who would emerge to fill those shoes. Lopez (as we all now know) would go on to forge her own distinct, impressive, successful career in music.

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However, being that she and Selena were nearly same age, both Latina, both cross over stars, for many of us Selena fans, the two women will always be connected and where one story ended, the other began.

I love that Jennifer has always acknowledged and paid tribute to Selena. It was pretty awesome to hear that Chis Perez, who was married to Selena, was there to support Jennifer this weekend.

Growing Up with JLo
2 years after the release of the film “Selena” Jennifer Lopez hit the airwaves, the first big song “If You Had My Love” off her debut album On The 6, took us all by storm and what I remember about this video, was watching it on MTV and then right before the end, there was the Latin remix part of the song!

I know it had been done before my time, but I had never heard our Latino sounds infused into a mainstream “pop” song. They marked it the “Latin Explosion” in pop culture and she was a part of it, so it was a perfect pick that she chose that song as the opening for her Vegas debut and it immediately took me back in time!

Everyone singing our lungs out “you said that we, could possibly, spend eternity…” Everything is decked out in silver and sparkle during this set of songs, (which is exactly how I remember my wardrobe in 2000’s all that was missing was my puka shell necklace!)

20160123_212546We then moved on to my personal favorite section, the JLo years! The set change takes place and the curtains pull back and you’re transported to a subway (the 6) in the Bronx.

Dancers are fully decked out in Yankee gear and she goes into all the favs, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” “Jenny from the Block” “Get Right” and the crowd LOST IT when Ja Rule got on the mic for “I’m Real” YAS!!!!


Right as everyone is ready to pop out their seats, Jennifer jokes that we might be getting a little too “thuggish” and we need to bring our sexy back.

Boy did she deliver, the next set is – just JLo – a solo, preforming an intricate burlesque routine on a giant chaise lounge.

Between the stunning outfit and the acrobatic moves, that has to be one of the most sensual artistic dance teases I have ever witnessed, I couldn’t even blink for FOMO (fear of missing out.) The night steamed on consisting of a total of about 20 or 22 (I lost count) of her top hits. Which brings me to the next highlight…

Vegas Show20160123_213153girl Style
Vegas is all about showmanship. That means you have to have to be able to sing, dance, AND entertain. All I can say is, Jennifer Lopez BROUGHT IT.

We all know JLo started out as a dancer before becoming a singer, and her show is filled with intense choreography. Song after song she doesn’t stop. I could barely blink and keep up with her moves.

The entire show was filled with nods to true classic Vegas style and glam, there were  can-can dancers, burlesque, multiple set changes, tons of costumes, but everything told a synchronized story.

on display at the AXIS - JLo iconic gowns
on display at the AXIS – JLo iconic gowns

The outfits were part of the set and they should have their own full article. So much beading and detail went into each and every one. I tried to take pictures but half the time I was lost in the moment and would forget.

Not to worry though, we know JLo (like Selena) is a fashion trend setter and I would not leave you guys in the dark, I found an article with HD photos of all the outfits. ENJOY!

In the end, JLo’s show had something for everyone; even dedicating her rendition of the beautiful Lee Ann Womack country song, “I Hope You Dance” to her children, and paying tribute to the legendary Celia Cruz as well. She really does pour her heart into this show and gives us her all.

What I loved most was that it was an epic glamorous show, and it was also like catching up with a favorite friend, we sang our voices out (literally,) and with each song, remembered our own journey along the way. The entire night was sultry, classic, vibrant, energetic, and filled with her essence.

In the moments before the show started I remember both my friend and I started to get teary eyed and it was for the same reason. We were talking about how somehow it felt like one of “us” had made it.

Those of us that have grown up with Jennifer Lopez, have sang all the songs, watched all the movies, back to Mi Familia, Money Train…still buy the clothes and jewelry, bought GLOW, etc… she’s been like an unofficial BFF and we’re proud of our girl!

I will leave you with some words from her opening remarks “…in order to achieve my dreams, some took the elevator, I took the stairs.” She may have started out as Jenny from the block, but this weekend she lit up the boulevard as the newly crowned, Queen of Vegas.