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R&B Meltdown

2010-05-05 11:23
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Stevie Wonder saw it as soul seduction. Luther Vandross reckoned it was romance. Marvin Gaye knew it was sexual healing. Barry White found his answer between the sheets. R. Kelly's response was booty calling bump ‘n grinds. Michael Jackson patented it as urban pop. And what about an R&B gentleman like Ne-Yo?

Well, if his urbane performance at the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town last night was any indication, then for the Grammy-winning hunk, R&B is all about choreographed romance. For a Grammy-winning, Billboard chart buster, the production was surprisingly unspectacular. No extravagant special effects, just a simple song and dance routine.

Of course, Ne-Yo’s so damn sexy he doesn't need too many pyrotechnic extras. Like bedroom balladeers, Barry White and Luther Vandross before him this soul stud focuses on the seduction of song. So how come watching the 30-something hunk serenade his way through a slick, seamless repertoire of ladies jams including "So Sick", "Sexy Love", "Miss Independent", "Single" and the odd hit penned for the likes of Beyoncé and Rihanna wasn't the erotic master class in soul stud seduction many of us hoped for?

Was it simply that we'd seen so many of Ne-Yo's conveyor belt of posed winks and pelvic thrusts before? Paying homage to Michael Jackson is par for any urban contemporary pop crooner's course, but if you're going to mimic the deceased king of pop's signature dance moves, you're inevitably going to come up short.

Not that the single ladies in the audience gave a damn. Nope, they were too busy swooning over his choreographed cocktail of provocative sexual posturing, casual in between song pick-up lines and virile, yet silky smooth falsetto. By the time the lights came up every woman in the house was utterly enraptured and their bemused boyfriends left wondering whether they would be able to match up in the bedroom back at home. 

What did you think? Is Ne-Yo an R&B original? Or still standing in Michael's shadow? 

While single ladies swooned to Ne-Yo's R&B choreography, his Cape Town concert wasn't an erotic master class in soul seduction for everyone.
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