The West

J-Lo does the world
Jennifer Lopez

It's hard to believe that the artist who has sold 70 million albums and appeared in more than 25 movies, including Maid in Manhattan, Out of Sight and What to Expect When You're Expecting, is only now doing a world tour.

More than a decade on from her On the 6 debut album, Jennifer Lopez is nearly two months into her almost 70-date world tour and has just announced she will be coming to Australia to perform for the first time.

She will open her Aussie tour in Perth on December 6 with what is touted as one of the dance parties of the year.

The Dance Again World Tour is being directed by J-Lo's current squeeze Casper Smart and Jamie King, who has worked with everyone from Prince and Michael Jackson to Christina Aguilera and the Spice Girls.

Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad created the costumes, including a red robe-meets-plunging- catsuit and sparkly gold harem pants with a crop top and sneakers.

Footage from the first show in Panama in June shot for J-Lo's new single Goin' In (featuring Flo Rida) sees her arrive on stage to a Rocky-style theme, dressed in a hooded robe with a boxing ring set up and her dancers in boxing trunks.

"I feel more comfortable up there," Lopez, 43, says about being on stage, compared to being on the other side of the action when she was on American Idol. "It's like Steven (Tyler) and I always talk about, it's just something that's natural to me. I'm glad to be doing it right now and I'm doing a show I'm really proud of."

Chatting last weekend from a tour stop in Kansas City, Missouri, the mother of four-year-old twins Max and Emme says it's not that she hasn't wanted to do a world tour in the past. But after putting out an album and doing some shows, she'd usually get called away to work on a movie and that cycle just seemed to be the way things happened.

"It takes so much time to do a world tour. We will have spent nine months on this tour between rehearsals and travelling. I just never had time to do that. It was a big decision."

The world's most powerful and influential celebrity, according to Forbes, says Twitter and Facebook allowed her to check in directly with her fans and the one thing they were asking for after eight albums was a world tour. She admits it was a powerful enticement.

"This is something I really needed to do for the fans - and for myself," J-Lo says. "I've been making music for a long time and it seems to be a shame not to do it."

The singer and dancer found the idea daunting, especially when extra dates started being added around the world but her commitment was made and the moment she was back on stage, any fears evaporated.

She loves the ability to communicate with an audience through song, and the fact that no two shows are ever the same.

"I just feel we're getting better and better every night," she says. "There's a growth happening with me and the band and the dancers. We're gelling as a group; it has become like a travelling circus and we have each other's backs.

"There have been a lot of defining moments so far but at the end of the day, my job is to make sure everyone has a good time and every night is a different experience."

Lopez says the special moments are not about perfection. A dancer might bump into another during a routine, hopefully with no disastrous effects, but Lopez says "goofy things and amazing things" can flow on from that.

"We're sharing a moment with the audience and they can see how it affects you if a song really moves me and you can see it on my face."

J-Lo says she's "pretty sure we have covered everything" in choosing the set list which will span her career right through to the newest singles Goin' In and On The Floor, the track featuring Pitbull which has sold more than 8.4 million copies, ranking it one of the best-selling singles of all time.

After the Dance Again World Tour completes the US leg, Lopez heads to Europe and Asia before heading Down Under. The Australian shows end in Brisbane on December 18, in time for the singer to head home for Christmas. The twins are slated to join their mum here but it will depend how they cope with the travel on the European leg.

The West Australian

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