Aguilera wows in recent Philly concert

Nicole Smith

I probably wouldn’t like them as much if I hadn’t seen “Making the Band 3,” but the members of Danity Kane, one of two opening acts for Christina Aguilera, really proved they were worth coming early for. Of course, it’s hard not to know their hit “Showstoppin’,” a catchy tune that sends a message that girls can do what guys can, and in style. But it was the precise and difficult dance moves that really awed me, because not only do I know that if I attempted to do them, I’d pull a muscle, but I also know that I have a hard time singing and walking up the stairs in Tolentine, let alone with choreography.

And speaking of choreography, the second act to take the stage was the infamous Pussycat Dolls, who are known for their showgirl antics and amazingly firm and sexy bodies. They performed all their hits, including “Don’t Cha,” and “Buttons,” but it was their dance skills that really impressed me. One girl was able to do a split standing up! Lead singer Nicole Scherzinger has an amazing vocal range that carries the group in all its songs. It was a great warmup to the main event; even though it took almost 45 minutes for Aguilera to come on after the Dolls left the stage.

However, when she finally did come on, the Wachovia Center shook with tremors that you definitely wouldn’t feel at a basketball game. Aguilera took the stage with a 10-piece live band and three back-up singers and opened with the first hit off her new album, “Ain’t No Other Man.” I sat there in disbelief as this petite frame in a white suit took center stage and hit notes with such force; you’d think she had the diaphragm of a giant.

The new album, titled “Back to Basics,” is a compilation of modern lyrics with old school melodies. The show featured a special tribute to soul artists such as Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight, as well as pyrotechnics and a special guest appearance from David Arquette. Songs performed off her old album were remixed, including “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You),” which was put to a reggae beat. Aguilera sang a song dedicated to her mother, which tells the tale of the domestic violence they both endured.

Equally emotional was “Hurt,” which is sung to a father-figure, forgiving and asking for forgiveness. However, the show ended with a bang – well, actually, confetti – as Aguilera sang “Fighter.” And she really does prove that she is a fighter, through domestic violence, deceit and the basic wear and tear of fame. Overall, I gave the show five stars.