Ricky Martin another no-show [pg. 24]

ricky martin 88 (photo credit: )
ricky martin 88
(photo credit: )
Ricky Martin won't be shaking his bon-bon in Israel after all. After weeks of speculation, the platinum-selling Latin pop star officially canceled his first Israeli concert Saturday night, apologizing to fans and promising a visit to Israel at an unspecified future date. Full refunds were promised to fans who had bought tickets for Martin's June 3 show, which was moved earlier this month from the Rishon Lezion Amphitheater to the smaller Rana'ana Amphitheater due to sluggish ticket sales. Just 300 tickets had reportedly been sold for Martin's Israeli debut when the change in location was announced, and fewer than 1,000 additional tickets were sold by the time of the cancellation. Several factors likely played a role in Martin's weak ticket sales. The Puerto Rican singer's career has slowed markedly since his 1999 English-language breakthrough, "Livin' La Vida Loca," with follow-up singles like "Shake Your Bon-Bon" and last year's "I Don't Care" failing to match the global success of his earlier hits. The singer also caused alarm among some Israeli pop fans last summer - albeit unintentionally - by donning an Arab headdress during a visit to Jordan marked in Arabic with the words, "Jerusalem is ours." The 35-year-old singer later met with Israel's consul-general in New York to smooth things over, explaining that he hadn't been aware of the garment's message and pledging to perform in Israel. The concert was officially announced in late March. Bearing the greatest responsibility for Martin's weak ticket sales, however, may be the Black Eyed Peas, the American pop group making its own Israeli debut June 3. With the Peas' show set to begin an hour before Martin's, local pop fans were faced with the unusual challenge of choosing between two performances by prominent foreign stars. The Peas proved the decisive victors in the showdown, quickly selling all 17,500 tickets to their concert at Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium, which is still set for 6 p.m. Saturday. Martin's is the second high-profile concert cancellation in the last two months. Citing throat problems, American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson was forced to call off or shorten concerts on her world tour, including Israel. Clarkson also pledged to appear in Israel at a later date.