Today’s news that Pamela Anderson and Mike Tyson have joined the cast of Bailando Por un Sueño (Argentina’s version of Dancing with the Stars) got us thinking about the best shows that have been done in both Spanish and English. Here are some of our faves!
1. English/Spanish: Ugly Betty/Betty la Fea
Ugly Betty & Yo Soy Betty, La Fea
It all began with Yo Soy Betty, La Fea – a popular Colombian soap opera that sparked the creation of more than a dozen other versions in countries such as India, Russia, and Turkey. Yo Soy Betty, La Fea ran from 1999 to 2001 and centered around Beatriz Aurora Pinzón Solano, a geeky-looking yet brilliant economist who works as a secretary for a fictitious Colombian fashion empire, EcoModa. The ABC spin-off Ugly Betty revolved around America Ferrera’s character, 22-year-old Betty Suarez from Queens, New York who suffers from a severe lack of fashion sense. Suarez is thrust into the fashion magazine world when she accepts a job as personal assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of Mode. After premiering in 2006, Ugly Betty ran its course until April 2010, but gave us memorable characters (Ana Ortiz’s Hilda, Tony Plana’s, Ignacio, and Mark Indelicato’s Justin) that’ll live on in our hearts forever!
2. English/Spanish: American Idol/Objectivo Fame
Objetivo Fama & American Idol
Fans of Univision’s Objetivo Fama consider the singing competition to be the Spanish version of American Idol – even though the official Spanish version of the show is Latin American Idol, on Sony Entertainment Television (which premiered in 2006 and airs in 23 countries throughout Latin America). Objetivo Fama, which originally started in Puerto Rico, has been on the air for over five years. In the show, 20 or so contestants live together in a studio/house in Puerto Rico for a few months. Viewers call in every week to “save” their favorite contestant from getting cut. The winner of Objetivo Fama receives a one-year record deal from Universal Music Latin Entertainment. Although AI and OF are similar, we’ve noticed the music on the latter tends to stay within the salsa and merengue genres—which we love, but the musical variety on American Idol is what keeps us coming back. And what could top J.Lo as the fabulous judge with a bleeding heart?
3. English/Spanish: ANTM/Nuestra Belleza Latina
Nuestra Belleza Latina & America's Next Top Model
One is an official beauty contest in the style of Miss Universe and the other is a search for the next runway star. One culminates with a supermodel selected by industry leaders and the other is chosen by the viewers to become a Univision personality. But in the end both winners earn instant recognition in their industries and take home a prize/title that accompanies their achievement. We love that Nuestra Belleza Latina shows us Latinas from different backgrounds, each with her own unique story. Take the current season's Miriam Hernandez, a 22-year-old mexicana from Brownsville, Texas, who is determined to succeed in life in order to bring back her mother who was deported years ago. Then there's 27-year-old Maribel Santiago from Las Vegas, who works as a court interpreter helping those who have difficulty speaking English. These are just two of the 12 finalists living in a Miami mansion and competing for the top spot.
5. English/Spanish: DWTS/Mira Quien Baila
Mira Quien Baila & Dancing with the Stars
The first season of the Univision version of Dancing with the Stars in late 2010 featured celebrities like singers Jon Secada and Rogelio Martinez. MQB has the same flair of ballroom dancing as DWTS with an extra touch of Latin sounds like the Mexican western, el baile duranguense. We also love that the judges are some of our favorite people, too: Gordo y la Flaca host Lili Estefan and Broadway star Bianca Marroquin (Chicago). The show has been confirmed for a season two return this summer. Here’s to hoping telenovela hotties like William Levy will join the dancing.
6. English/Spanish: Desperate Housewives/Amas de Casas Desperadas
Desperate Housewives & Amas de Casa Desesperadas
Wisteria Lane became Manzanares Street for the Univision series Amas de Casa Desesperadas, shot in Argentina for a U.S. Hispanic audience. Also narrated from the afterlife by housewife Alicia Arizmendi, the show portrays four friends – Gabriela, Susana, Leonor and Regina – who find themselves solving daily mysteries around the neighborhood. As much as we like Eva Longoria's antics on Desperate Housewives, we could always use some more Latin flavor. And it’s even better when it’s narrated by Mexican actress Lucia Mendez, whose own personal drama just makes us more interested.