Aguilera set for Middle East debut

The singer says she decided to perform at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi as it was the "hot new place to go".

Christina Aguilera, seen, during a press conference at the Emirates Palace Hotel, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Carl Abrams) *** Local Caption ***  ABU102_Emirates_Christina_Aguilera.jpg
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ABU DHABI // Pop star Christina Aguilera said she decided to make her live Middle East debut in Abu Dhabi, as it was the "hot new place to go". And the diminutive singer, known for her love of the party lifestyle, said she was looking forward to exploring the city after tomorrow's concert at the Emirates Palace Hotel. "I am only here a few days but I plan to have a few nice dinners and possibly see what the night life has in store for us," she said. "The city is really building up. There are great places to eat, great night life as well as beaches. It seems to have everything to offer." Aguilera is expected to perform in front of an audience of 20,000 on the lawns of Emirates Palace although, unlike previous artists including Justin Timberlake, tickets to the event are still available. They are priced from Dh295 to Dh890 (US$80 to $222). The concert will be the biggest-budget music production the country has ever seen with a 14-piece backing band, a light show and a fireworks display. The Abu Dhabi show is part of the singer's Back to Basics tour, to promote her latest multi-platinum-selling album. More subdued and sophisticated than some of her earlier shows, the tour has seen Aguilera return to her soul roots, the genre she has said most inspires her music. The singer, who in February gave birth to her first child, Max, also spoke of her new life as a working mother and claimed her child had become her inspiration to take up more vigourous campaigning for children's rights and against domestic violence. Aguilera, a former child star, rose to fame after a string of hit songs including Genie in a Bottle and What a Girl Wants.