I can't say that a Charo concert was on my bucket list. But the prospect of her and her cuchi-chuchi did draw me to Busch Gardens this weekend, where she was the final performer in the Tampa theme park's Real Music Series. It was remarkable in a number of ways, not the least of which was her constant pacing/running in place/cha-cha-cha sort of movement in high-high heels. (Charo says she's 60, although other sources say 70.)
If you're too young to see Charo in her "Love Boat" heyday, it's hard to explain her appeal -- or even her genre. At Busch, she was introduced as "international star Charo." Her performance incorporated songs -- including a cover of Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" and accompanying shimmy-ing with audience members -- and a couple of her guitar solos. During Charo's costume change, a couple danced Latin numbers.
The act had stand-up comedy thrown in, much of it making fun of herself and her accent. But she said she didn't want to be on "Dancing With the Stars" because she didn't like judge Bruno Tonioli. "His accent sucks," she said.
Charo, who was on her way to Europe to promote her single "Sexy, Sexy," said this was a mini-version of her Las Vegas stage show, where tickets are $250. I liked the price we paid instead: Included in theme park admission.
Busch Gardens: Cheeky Charo puts on a show