By RUSSELL BAILLIE
After weeks of rumours, is-he-isn't-he speculation, it's finally been confirmed - Ricky Martin, the hottest pop star on the planet is heading Down Under.
The Puerto Rican pin-up is playing one New Zealand show only at Ericsson Stadium in mid-October.
The exact date is still to be confirmed but Australian promoter Paul Dainty says Martin has signed up for a New Zealand-Australian tour which includes an outdoor show at the Auckland venue.
Martin, who is expected to be on stage for three hours, will be accompanied to New Zealand by an entourage of 150 including 12 band members and 11 backing singers and dancers.
His lavish production requires 38.5 tonnes of equipment, including a triangular shaped stage which juts out into the audience, a stage set complete with hydraulically-powered props and lifts, its own speaker system, videowall and lights, all of which will require a small fleet of jumbo jets to carry it.
The production is one of the biggest live pop shows mounted in New Zealand, its size on par with the 90s concerts here by the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson.
Already a Latin star for his four Spanish solo albums which have sold 15 million copies worldwide, the Miami-based former member of Puerto Rican boyband Menudo and General Hospital soap actor made his breakthrough with his self-titled debut English language album of last year.
Sporting the runaway smash hit Livin' La Vida Loca, the album turned Martin into a global pop phenomenon selling seven million copies in the United States and proportionally making him just as popular in New Zealand with 120,0000 copies sold.
The tickets are expected to go on sale sometime next month via Ticketek. Their price was unavailable at time of E.G. going to press.