Capri Scarcelli | Staff Writer
Super Bowl LIV celebrates the first victory in 50 years for the Kansas City Chiefs, just as it celebrates the brilliance of women in Latino culture by featuring worldwide sensations Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
It takes stellar enthusiasm to be worthy of performing in pop culture’s biggest event of the year. The audience ranges from those who are solely watching the football game for football, all the way to the viewers who would much rather munch on buffalo chicken dip during commercials until the halftime show comes on. Whoever you are, you are watching the halftime show regardless of where your priorities lie.
Shakira, 43, and Lopez, 50, produced a stellar performance that had audiences convinced they were still in their 20s. With their high-energy rhythm and intense choreography, the duo had the audience locked in and engaged the entire show.
Adorned in an all-red, sparkly dress topped off with thigh-high boots, Shakira had an amazing first impression, taking the stage with fierce confidence. She began her part of the setlist with “She Wolf” followed by “Empire” and “Ojos Así,” where she wrapped a rope around herself like a snake and we all went wild. She then transitioned to her smash hit “Whenever, Wherever,” which was paired with fireworks and lasers perfectly in-sync with the music. Then with her powerful belt range, Shakira turned the stage over to bilingual rapper Bad Bunny for 2019 chart-topper “I Like It,” and ended the set with her showstopping classic, “Hips Don’t Lie,” which had every family living room in the nation going absolutely nuts.
During this final number, Shakira crowd-surfed, then went right up to the camera and did a high-pitch whoop with a flickering tongue, which has taken grip of the Twitter meme world as much as Katy Perry’s infamous “left shark.” However, it has since been made known that this was a celebratory Arab exclamation known as a Zaghrouta that was in tribute to her dad’s Lebanese background.
Overall, her enthusiasm throughout was truly a marvel to watch; it was flirty, fun and made you want to dance right alongside her.
The lighting then completely changed from bright red to a dark blue as Shakira bowed and J-Lo takes the stage.
Hanging from a pole that mimicked the Empire State Building, Lopez majestically slid to the floor and got down to business. Starting her side of the set list with “Jenny From the Block,” Lopez excitedly shouted to her audience before delving into the music.
Her confidence was radiating, and it was infectious.
Wearing a sparkly silver one-piece, fans were amazed to see that Lopez has not aged one bit.
She absolutely demolished the performance; the floor was all hers. She and her backup dancers suddenly made me want to be coordinated, but only she could pull off a stunt like that.
J-Lo continued to hash out all of her classics, including “Ain’t It Funny,” “Get Right,” “Waiting for Tonight” and “Booty” featuring J Balvin.
Lopez ended her set with Bruce Springsteen classic “Born in the USA.” Accompanied by little girls all dressed in white, her own daughter, Emme Maribel Muñiz, had a stellar solo, getting to duet alongside her mother, who was brimming with pride.
Like many others, I noticed that the kids started this number in glowing cages. This was a political allusion to the current immigration issues, which I think was subtle, yet masterfully done to get the point across.
For the grand finale, Shakira came back onstage, joining J-Lo and the rest of the cast for “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa).” This number exuded so much unity, it felt like the world was being embraced with a care-free kind of love.
Shakira and Lopez ended the act in a tight hug, flashing a smile of pure victory and pride to the audience.
This halftime performance was not monocultural in the slightest. Both Shakira and Lopez brought forth a bilingual setlist that showcased their Spanish-speaking roots, whilst also giving a nod to the sociopolitical debate of ethnic representation in the music industry.
With the nation-wide split over the Colin Kaepernick kneeling incident, some celebrities, such as Rihanna and Cardi B, voiced that they turned down the offer to perform unless Kaepernick was given back his quarterback position for the 49ers. The racial tension for Super Bowl performers has been unnerving; hence why Maroon 5 had to be bribed into performing last year since nobody wanted to do it (Not to mention, they gave such a lackluster performance that I zoned out at least twice).
Beyoncé and Jay-Z, for instance, were found sitting during the National Anthem. This sparked some controversy for sure, but nobody could take Demi Lovato’s performance away from her. I was in absolute awe; in fact, I sobbed and I am not afraid to admit it.
Overall, how does this compare to the iconic halftime performances that have graced the Super Bowl timeline in years passed?
I would personally rank this performance as one of the best to come in our era.
Everything from the choreography to the transitioning of songs was incredibly fluid — the show flowed so smoothly, but with power and vigor.
Nothing in my eyes, however, can beat show-stopping debuts such as Prince, Madonna, Beyoncé or Lady Gaga, though there are some close contenders.
Even if you’re a well-received artist, you have to use your set wisely to keep the audience engaged (Unless you’re Prince. Then you get to be Prince).
For recap, Madonna was carried in by Roman soldiers and left by disappearing into the fog. Lady Gaga fell from a roof. Katy Perry rode a giant electric tiger with glowing eyes.
Performing is nothing without the magic behind it; you have to be over-the-top to appease the audience at hand.
Shakira and Lopez did just that.