The teen music craze continues onwards (wasn't there supposed to be only 15 minutes of fame?), as Britney Spears is still making headlines in US Magazine, N'Sync actually has an IMAX feature now in release, and Christina Aguilera headlines the "Moulin Rouge" soundtrack. Aguilera's new DVD release also takes teen pop to a new level of audio/video presentation thanks to Image Entertainment.
This concert event, filmed in 2000, offers Aguilera playing many of her hits, including Reflection, Genie in a Bottle, Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You), What a Girl Wants, So Emotional, I Turn to You, At Last, Contigo En La Distancia, Climb Every Mountain, Falsas Esperanzas, Alright Now, Merry Christmas Baby, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Christmas Time.
Through the DVDs that I've reviewed of Spears and Aguilera, both are impressive live performers, although Aguilera is able to show off a seemingly more extended vocal range during this concert. Things get a bit corny when the singer makes a speech about "believing in yourself" while standing next to a children's chorus during "Climb Every Mountain", but otherwise, I really enjoyed the show a lot. The concert is a mix of upbeat dance numbers and some ballad-driven solo numbers by the singer. In-between songs, there's behind-the-scenes footage with the singer with interviews about her music in general as well as some pre-show footage showing the singer getting ready.
It's a very entertaining concert, presented quite well by Image Entertainment, which I'll discuss further in the DVD review portion below.
VIDEO: Although Image Entertainment usually is able to present even their concerts in anamorphic widescreen, apparently that wasn't possible with this show. Still, although the concert is shown in full-frame, Image still does a really high-quality effort with the release to make it look as strong as possible. Sharpness and detail are excellent throughout - the picture looked consistently well-defined and crisp throughout the entire concert - every strand of Aguilera's multi-colored hair was often clearly visible. Although some of the backstage footage looked a bit lacking in comparison, at no time did the concert performance itself look less than great.
The stage lighting looked crisp and well-rendered, not muddled. No pixelation or edge enhancement was noticed. Another fine work from Image Entertainment.
SOUND: "My Reflection" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio, along with a Dolby 2.0 presentation for those who don't have the capability to play the other two tracks. Both 5.1 versions are actually very lively and involving mixes. Where the presentations for both of Spears' DVDs have offered very good sound quality but rather uncomplicated audio presentations, "My Reflection" offers both excellent sound quality and a very professional audio presentation.
The set-up is generally the usual "concert" audio, where the music is mainly offered by the front speakers, while the surrounds offer crowd noise and music re-inforcement. What was impressive though, was how open and natural the front three speakers presented the music. The singer's voice really carried into the room and when Aguilera attempted to reach the high notes, the DVD's audio presented them clearly and comfortably, sounding rich and detailed.
Audio quality remained wonderful throughout the performance. Aguilera's voice again remained clear and distinct above the music, captured clearly. The music from her talented backing band also was very well-rendered. I also liked how convincing the crowd noise was between songs - I heard several people shouting praise for the singer - and how the crowd noise also took a backseat once the song started. Bass was also strong, but kept to appropriate levels.
Both the DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 presentations provided a highly entertaining experience, with excellent clarity and warmth, but the DTS presentation offered very slight improvements in these elements. Either way, this is a superb recording that does a stellar job at capturing what the "front row live" experience at being at one of Aguilera's concerts must be like.
MENUS:: Image Entertainment almost always provides fun, animated menus and this release is no exception, with a clip from the concert behind the main menu, as well as a nifty animated function when chosing the extra music videos that offers clips from the videos.
EXTRAS: Videos for "Genio Atrapado" (Spanish language version of "Genie In A Bottle"), "Por Siempre Tu" (Spanish language version of "I Turn To You", "Ven Conmigo" (Spanish language version of "Come On Over") and "The Christmas Song". It would have been nice if the English language versions of the videos could have also been included, but rights issues may have come into play.
Final Thoughts: I don't see any reason why fans of the singer wouldn't be thrilled by this release. It's an excellent, high-energy performance, shown here on DVD with terrific audio/video quality, courtesy of Image Entertainment. Highly recommended.