It would have been near-impossible for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show to sink to the depths of mediocrity of last year’s Maroon 5-led snoozer.
But in a mere 14 minutes, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez (joined by pals Bad Bunny and J Balvin) demonstrated exactly what these spectacles are supposed to be – pure fun. (Watch below via Tidal.)
If there is any quibble about what was one of the most joyfully caffeinated presentations in recent years, it was that between these two Latina lovelies, their catalogs only allowed for snippets of their myriad hits.
Birthday girl Shakira (yes, she’s 43, so feel bad about yourself now as you sit on the couch) kicked off the Super Bowl LIV extravaganza at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium clad in red with an army of dancers for the slinky “She Wolf.” She dovetailed into a slice of Led Zeppelin while possibly playing a guitar and gyrated her famous hips for a tassle-shaking dance before “Whenever, Wherever.” And while much as been made about her tongue-wagging into the camera, the expression was a cultural one, an Arabic expression of joy called a zaghrouta (the name Shakira, FYI, is Arabic for “grateful”).
Latin trap star Bad Bunny popped onstage for a segue into the 1994 pop crossover hit, “I Like it Like That” before the Colombian megastar ended with her global smash, “Hips Don’t Lie,” which saw her briefly carried into the sea of (carefully orchestrated) bouncing fans.
Shakira delivered an undeniably captivating segment, but you couldn’t help but think, the queen is about to arrive.
Lopez arrived in glorious form, atop a pole in body-baring black leather later discarded for silver sparkles (and if your body looked like that, you’d also happily bare it) to bounce into her ageless “Jenny From the Block.”
The indefatigable 50-year-old might have been deprived of a deserved Oscar nomination for “Hustlers,” but at least her impressive pole dancing skills could be utilized in front of 100 million game watchers.
An awesome troop of dancers in black and white outfits fell into lockstep behind her during “Get Right,” which also included a Springsteen-esque slide from the limber Lopez (speaking of Springsteen, how lovely that Lopez’s adorable and talented daughter Emme joined her mom on stage for a chorus of “Born in the U.S.A.” while Lopez was draped in a feathered cape of the Puerto Rican flag – a subtle swipe at those who forget that Puerto Ricans are Americans – but by this point, shouldn’t everyone know what Springsteen’s anthem is really about?).
A brief appearance by another reggaeton star, J Balvin, spiced up “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” – really more of a dance-a-thon than a song – before a taste of Lopez’s beat-pounder “On the Floor” led into the finale of a bi-lingual “Let’s Get Loud,” a hit from her 1999 debut album.
After Lopez was joined by Shakira (who briefly played – perhaps – the drums), the two Latina sizzlers ended the performance with synchronized rump shakes.
The performance not only perfectly encapsulated South Florida culture, but crowned the pair as bold, definitive MVPs.
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