Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Rickygate

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Rickygate

Article excerpt

Ricky Martin's latest moves suggest his sexually ambiguous days may be numbered

HAS RICKY MARTIN traded in la vida loca for la vida straight and narrow in order to juice his faltering popularity? Consider:

* Martin's most recent album, Sound Loaded, slipped out of Billboard magazine's top 50 albums in less than two months.

* While both of Martin's Loaded videos go to great lengths to emphasize the singer's appeal to the ladies--"She Bangs" has his naked torso fondled by female hands; "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely" features a long, sensual embrace with a scantily clad Christina Aguilera--neither song has come anywhere close to repeating the success of 1999's hetero fever dream "Livin' la Vida Loca." "He's never going to have a hit that big again," says Billboard talent editor Larry Flick. "That song was an intangible--it just kind of captured people."

* The man who competed in six Grammy categories last year has just one nomination for the 43rd awards on February 21. And while he's not likely to give yet another fiery performance of cross-gender appeal at the 2001 ceremony--as he did in 1999 and 2000--he has been seen on national TV at such white-bread events as a January 27 pre-Super Bowl special and, nine days earlier, as part of the celebration of the inauguration of President George W. Bush.

"Sound Loaded is by no stretch a flop," says Flick, "but it's not selling as well as the last one, so Ricky's compelled to show up wherever there's a camera to promote it. …

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