‘Like Oil and Water:’ How Divas Alejandra Guzmán and Paulina Rubio Made a Tour Work

Las Perrísimas Tour. That’s what Latin pop and rock icons Alejandra Guzmán and Paulina Rubio named their co-headlining U.S. trek. The literal translation for that audacious name is “The Bitchiest Tour” — or better yet, call it “The Bad Bitches Tour.” Either way, the run of shows they launched last month are bringing together two queens who have both been lauded as pioneers for an event like no other.

Long pitted against each other as rivals, Guzmán and  Rubio, who are both in their early fifties, met for coffee before the pandemic and began to discuss how they could bring their two forces together — Paulina on the Nineties pop side, and Alejandra with her roquera vibes. As live concerts started up again last year, bringing their stacked discographies on the road for a tour seemed like the right thing to do.

“We have everything different from each other, but it works,” Guzman says. “Each of us has our own world.” On stage, Rubio adds, the two combine and bring that “spicy girl power.”

They say their supposed rivalry was mostly concocted by Mexican media, thanks to a certain famous ex — Erik Rubin of teen pop group Timbiriche, which Rubio was also in — who was flirting with both women at the same time at the peak of their success. “It was a long time ago that we had a boyfriend in common,” Guzman says with a laugh. “It’s all very funny.”

Last month, they kicked off their countrywide trek, bringing such hits as Guzmán’s “Eternamente Bella” and “Hacer el Amor con Otro” and Rubio’s “Ni Una Sola Palabra” and “El Último Adios” to audiences that range in age from teens to grandmas.

“Even the bottom of our tongues hurt,” Rubio says. “We’ve been preparing our minds, body and soul for this tour. It’s not only our voices.”

“I’m feeling good with my titanium hip replacement,” adds Guzmán with a laugh. “I am enjoying dancing and being on stage.”

Unlike some other co-headlining tours, the two singers start their sets together, before taking turns performing their laundry list of hits. They end the show with a “versus” medley that taps into the drama surrounding their friendship, with songs from early in their careers that alluded to the rumors of competition between them. Together, they perform Rubio’s “Mío” — “Don’t even get close to him, he’s mine/He’s with another girl, but he’s mine,” she sings on the track — and Guzman’s “Hey Güera,” or “Hey Blondie.” (Think Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” vibes for that one.) Rubio also does a medley of Rubin’s Timbiriche hits, a silly dig at the old tea.

“This tour is not about us, this is about a whole generation that can relieve some pressure from their shoulders,” Rubio says. “It’s really cool to break the mold of the preconceptions of the past.”

Rubio and Guzmán are transparent about what it’s like being on the road with each other: “It’s been like oil and water,” admits Rubio. “But at the same time we have a lot of things in common: We are women, we are mothers, and we love music. That allows oil and water to get along. It’s like throwing firewood to a flame… It’s a privilege.”

Guzmán agrees, and says that lately, their relationship has been “beautiful.” “I can understand the many things she is going through, and I’m trying to be a kind partner as much as I can,” Guzmán says. “Sometimes there are differences, but the stage is sacred. I was taught to respect that.”

Guzmán knows a thing or two about sharing a tour. Before this year, she made a collaborative album and went on an accompanying tour with fellow pop-rock singer Gloria Trevi. That experience seemed to bring the two artists closer. This time, things are slightly different.

“The concept, the music, the personalities… but that’s the wonder of working on projects with different stars, because they are two very different artists,” Guzmán says. “I’m proud of being able to share the stage with people that already had their history… I don’t know, when you are a woman, it’s different. You can see how much they’ve had to work. The love for the stage, the love for life prevails.”

Their tour comes as the two celebrate large milestones for some of their greatest hits. This year, Rubio’s debut album, La Chica Dorada, which inspired her nickname, turns 30. “When I sing them at shows, it doesn’t feel like these songs are 30 years old,” she says. “I think they were part of a revolution, especially with the mix of [genres] like ranchero and hip-hop.”

As for Guzmán, even with her decades of experience since releasing her iconic debut album, Eternamente Bella, in 1990, she says she’s always ready to learn. She even started taking vocal lessons for the first time recently.

“I’ve learned to have more discipline. I had never taken vocal lessons before, so it is incredible that I never learned how to sing until now,” she says with a cackle. “I don’t understand how I made it! Now I have a coach, and that is something that amazes me. I do warm-ups, I lubricate my throat — things I never had any idea of — to make my life easier. I think I’m a little late!”

One thing’s for sure: both women are ready to have their audiences rock on.

“I want you to be wild and furious. I want you to shake your head and believe in new beginnings,” says Rubio. “I want you to go to the concert and forget about your problems for two or three hours and just be yourself. Like a wild Friday, even if it’s a Thursday.”

Remaining Perrisimas Tour Dates:

May 12 – El Paso, TX @ El Paso County Coliseum
May 13 – Tucson, AZ @ AVA Amphitheatre
May 14 – Rancho Mirage, CA @ Agua Caliente Casino
May 15 – San Diego, CA @ Pechanga Arena
May 18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Federal Theatre
May 20 – San Jose, CA @ SAP Center
May 21 – Las Vegas, CA @ The Theater at Virgin Hotels
May 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Microsoft Theater