Thursday night on The Tonight Show, New York bachata king Romeo Santos performed giant love jam "Eres Mía" with his full band and showed why he is quickly becoming America's sweetheart.
"Eres Mía" is a paean to an ex from a man who can't believe she's moved on. In theory, that could sound creepy, but in Santos' capable hands, and with his sweet and quivering delivery, it sounds like the kind of thing he's whispering to himself in order to get over it, trying to convince himself he's okay while watching his one true love marry another man.
That's what he's best at, and why he's so beloved: the former Aventura lead is not the best singer in terms of range or tone, but he sinks himself into his songs with full emotional commitment, giving them the kind of depth and yearning that the Dominican music known as bachata demands. As Jimmy Fallon says at the beginning of this clip, Santos sold out two nights at Yankee Stadium this summer, historic concerts that brought together Latinos from every origin, united in our desire to be romanced by one of the biggest American Spanish-language artists since like, Selena. I actually have no idea how impactful he is with non-Latinos, but I do know that for a New York artist in a country where the Dominican population is mostly concentrated to certain hubs, he is famous and beloved across the diaspora.
His latest album, Formula: Volume 2 has a single with Nicki Minaj and another with Drake, and by collaborating you got the sense that he was doing them a favor, and they knew it: giving them more credibility among Latino communities (even as they delivered lines in hilariously El Bloombito-style Spanish) rather than the other way around as most non-Spanish speaking music fans might see it. (Regardless, "Animales," with Minaj, is my jam, and she rhymes "toda la noche" with "get me right out of my Dolce," which is hilarious.)
In short: Romeo Santos, and I don't understand y'all's Cumberbatch obsession.