Americano Idol

Marc Anthony's rabid fans divulge the key to his Latin-pop crossover triumph, and the rules of salsa

On the other hand, some moms actually introduced their girls to the sensual salsero. "I first heard of Marc in my house when my mother would blast his music while cleaning the house," offers Clarissa, a fan who goes by the nickname Lovablexc online. "Oh boy, did I hate me some Marc then! Every Saturday morning, my mom and her Marc drove me crazy — I was into house music and freestyle at that time."

It was a personal connection that finally won Clarissa over. "My father was sick with Alzheimer's disease," she explains. "But while he was still okay he told my mom that El Ultimo Beso' [one of Anthony's early Latin hits] was his song to her if anything ever happened to him. When he passed away, my mother played Marc's music at his funeral, and when that song was played, Marc's singing hit me like a brick. There aren't any words that can explain the feeling that I had with that song, and Marc was in my life forever."

It's those personal connections Anthony manages to make with his fans, both through the aching ballads he specializes in and the atypical attention he shows his supporters in person, that seems to secure those lifelong devotions.

Even Anthony's recent divorce from Miss Universe Dayanara Torres was handled in a most un-pop-star-like manner.
Even Anthony's recent divorce from Miss Universe Dayanara Torres was handled in a most un-pop-star-like manner.

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Scheduled to perform on Saturday, August 10. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $38 to $68. Call 602-379-2800.
Dodge Theatre, 400 West Washington

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"I was at a concert in Tampa, Florida," recalls Will, one of the few vocal male fans in the MAF community. "Marc just finished performing Hasta Te Conoci,' and an elderly lady managed to make her way to the side of the stage and was stopped by security. Marc stopped the music and in front of everyone told the guards that it was okay."

In the end, maybe it's Anthony's reluctance to cater to those American pop ideals that keeps his international legion of fans close by his side. After all, how many crossover sensations would choose to follow up a triple-platinum-selling English-language debut with a return to Spanish salsa, as Anthony did on 2001's Libre (which nonetheless managed to sell in healthy numbers)?

And even his recent divorce, from former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, was handled in a most unsensational, un-pop-star-like manner.

"They're still friends and they love each other and they love their child," went Anthony's official statement.

Didn't pop success teach Anthony anything about milking personal drama for publicity? Hadn't he learned anything from Pamela Anderson, who managed to parlay her breakup with Tommy Lee into so many magazine covers? Or Tatum O'Neal, who scored seven pages in People and her own 20/20 segment following her messy divorce from John McEnroe?

Apparently not. And Anthony's fans are grateful for that.

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