Industry Weekly

New Strip residents continue a pop music flashback

Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life debuts at the Axis March 1.

Britney Spears has logged too many memorable career moments to list, but there’s no question her breakthrough came in 1999 when her ...Baby One More Time album came out, she appeared on her first Rolling Stone cover (on the phone, remember?) and basically took over the pop-culture world. Jennifer Lopez, whose Las Vegas resident production shares the Axis theater at Planet Hollywood with Britney’s show, was a dancer before she was an actor in Selena, but J.Lo truly became J.Lo when she rode the wave of the Latin music craze with debut album On the 6 ... also in 1999.

The spark for that pop explosion was lit by Ricky Martin’s electrifying performance of “La Copa de la Vida” on the 41st-annual Grammy Awards broadcast 18 years ago, along with his subsequent English language crossover smash album, Ricky Martin, released in May 1999 and equipped with “Livin’ la Vida Loca.” The global pop star is one of the newest Vegas Strip resident performers, launching an all-new show this April.

And let’s not forget the other new residents, all five of them. The Backstreet Boys’ Larger Than Life kicks off this week at the Axis, opening March 1 and continuing in April and June. The boy-band juggernaut has sold more than 130 million albums worldwide, and though the group formed in Florida in 1993 and debuted with an international album three years later, it was 1999’s Millennium that gave them superstardom and us the ubiquitous “I Want It That Way.”

Time will tell if Martin and BSB succeed on the Strip the way their predecessors have, but at least they’ll be in familiar company.

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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