Shakira, J-Lo steal the show with electric Super Bowl Halftime performance

The most exciting part of Super Bowl LIV was the halftime show. 

The Pepsi Halftime Show was headlined by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez—two passionate and electrifying Latina artists. 

Last year, many Americans threatened to boycott the halftime show in Atlanta in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest. This year, the NFL made sure to avoid the same public relations nightmare by signing two Latina women to headline arguably the most-watched gig in the world.

This isn’t the first time women have headlined the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry have performed in the past. However, it is the first time two Latina women headlined the Pepsi Halftime Show.

This year’s Super Bowl was held in Miami, the “Capitol of Latin America.” Picking an artist that can identify with and more importantly, accurately represent Miami’s demographics was a great choice by the NFL. 

Shakira kicked off the show with renditions of  “Whenever, Wherever” and “She Wolf.” Her performance was outstanding, yet her song lyrics didn’t have the same “kick” that they have when sung in Spanish, her first language. She crowd-surfed and, of course, performed her signature belly dance moves. 

Towards the end of her segment, Bad Bunny joined Shakira for a brief rendition of “I Like It” by Cardi B. Normally I love Bad Bunny’s performances, but it felt as if he was out of place during his 20-second run. After he sang, he rapped parts of his hit songs. 

J-Lo picked up right where Shakira left off. Her electrifying performance was accompanied by lots of pyrotechnics and great LED production. 

Unlike Shakira, J-Lo usually performs her songs in English and therefore nothing was lost in translation. 

One thing that stood out during J-Lo’s performance was the use of all-male backup dancers during two of her songs. Usually, many Latinx artists use female backup dancers, but this wasn’t your usual show.

During J-Lo’s segment, J Balvin abruptly appeared on stage singing “Que Calor.” Balvin remained off the main stage until he joined J-Lo to perform “Mi Gente,” a song dedicated to all Latinx people. 

The highlight of the show was definitely the closing act. Shakira played the drums. J-Lo wore a robe with the Puerto Rican and United States flags on it. A hint of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” was sprinkled in. Children in white, illuminated cages were shown as J-Lo sang “Let’s Get Loud,” essentially a back-hand slap to the president and his administration, and a reminder that Latinx people are also American. 

In a country whose president often promotes white supremacy, both Shakira and J-Lo promoted unity. In a country who scapegoats and locks Latinx people in cages by its borders, Shakira and J-Lo temporarily broke that bondage. In a spectacle that celebrates football, two Latina women took center stage and stole the show away from America’s game.