Ricky's renaissance: the superstar finds a new life in La Banda, along with Alejandro Sanz and Laura Pausini.

AuthorJordan, Judi

RICKY MARTIN'S massive 32-year musical career has been an auspicious series of 'waves'; building success upon success, with well-timed breaks to parent, travel, write an autobiography, and do humanitarian work with his Ricky Martin Foundation.

After launching the Latin pop crossover 'wave' in '99, and setting sales records with his monster single CD Livin ' La Vida Loca [8 million copies sold], and album Ricky Martin [22 million copies sold], he went on to release seven more albums, including 2015's #1 Latin Billboard and Latin American Music Award-winning album, A quien quiera escuchar.

Ricky's successful Broadway run of "Evita" was followed by a stint on "Glee" as the Spanish teacher, and a quiet time as he settled down to raise his twin boys, Valentino and Matteo. He was livin' la vida tranquilo, it seemed. Things began to take a new turn as he took on high-profile TV gigs coaching singers for The Voice Australia, and The Voice Mexico.

A call from American Idol's tough judge Simon Cowell brought on the next big wave with an idea for a talent show that would discover the next great boy band a la Latino. Ricky would star, executive produce it and even manage the winners' band. Univision jumped on board and "La Banda" was born.

The show launches live Nov 1, 2015 in Miami, and the details are what make it unique; an intimate panel of three supportive superstar judges, Alejandro Sanz, Laura Pausini and El Martin; a runway-like stage; and a large, live, all-girl audience with voting power, with results that show up on a massive screen, via a smart-phone pre-screening popularity contest. To move on to the next step, contestants need a score of 75% or higher; the results are instantaneous.

The bonus for the band members is being managed by Ricky himself. Having come up in the boy band world, Martin knows the pitfalls and dangers for boys on the road. As a devoted dad, he's embraced the nurturing like a natural.

"I'm not a 'tough-love' judge, I don't believe in tearing down talent." In a protective and experienced role as mentor-manager, he will oversee the band's career. Some lucky kids are going to have the chance of a lifetime, discovered by La Banda, and coached by the original crossover king of Latin pop.

LATINO LFADERS: What is going to be different about this band?

RICKY MARTIN: This band is going to be based on every kid to be able to determine their own identity. When I started out with Menudo, thirty some years ago, we had no say. We...

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