Shakira, who is Colombian, and Lopez, a Puerto Rican from the Bronx, both called attention to the fact that two Latina performers would be sharing such a major stage; Shakira called the gig “a true American Dream.”
“I’m so honored to be taking on one of the world’s biggest stages in the company of a fellow female artist to represent Latinos and Latinas from the U.S. and all over the world,” Shakira said, adding that the performance would happen on her birthday.
This is the first Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show since the NFL and Jay-Z announced a partnership last month that included having the rapper and his agency, Roc Nation, co-produce the entertainment event.
The news of the performance adds to the budding J. Lo renaissance. Last week, Lopez trotted out at Milan Fashion Week in her iconic green Versace dress, the same one that inspired the creation of the Google Image search function in 2001. Nearly 20 years later, the flowy garment still managed to set the Internet on fire, albeit now through social media platforms that didn’t exist when Lopez first donned the gown.
She’s also getting serious Oscar buzz for her critically acclaimed role as Ramona in “Hustlers,” which shows off her still-strong acting and dancing chops.
The Academy Awards ceremony takes place Feb. 9. If nominated for an Oscar, Lopez will have just a few days between dancing her heart out at the Super Bowl in Miami and hitting the red carpet in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Shakira has been touring internationally in support of her mostly Spanish-language 2017 album, “El Dorado,” which won her a Latin Grammy.
Lopez recently addressed rumors that she’d perform at the halftime show. Ryan Seacrest pressed her on the question weeks ago, telling her that performing at the event would be “a great thing to say ‘yes’ to in theory.”
“In theory, yes,” she replied. “It’s something that we’ve talked about for many years, and, you know, it would be nice. It would be nice. I can’t say I wouldn’t love it.”
The Super Bowl halftime show remains one of the last bastions of television monoculture, with more than 100 million viewers usually tuning in to watch the game. As such, the performance is a high-wire act for musicians. As Washington Post pop music critic Chris Richards wrote after Maroon 5’s widely panned 2019 headlining performance, “there are only two ways to survive a Super Bowl halftime show in this day and age: Be unforgettable, or be entirely forgettable.”
We’ve seen both types at halftimes past. Unforgettables understand the magnitude of the event — they know that they’re performing for the biggest audience of their life — and they treat it as the momentous privilege that it is. Forgettables might grasp the stakes, too, but they’re ultimately counting on half the Super Bowl viewership to stumble off into the kitchen to throw another plate of nachos in the microwave. Unforgettables want to make history. Forgettables don’t want to embarrass themselves. Unforgettables cannonball into the deep end. Forgettables swan-dive like experts, barely making a sploosh.
Although neither Lopez nor Shakira has had recent hits in the United States, the halftime show has done well when playing up the nostalgia factor, such as with 2015’s Missy Elliott retrospective.
But even taking the gig has become fraught in recent years, in light of former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick’s protests against police brutality. Rihanna was among the high-profile artists who reportedly turned down the NFL last year.
“I said ‘no’ to the Super Bowl,” Jay-Z rapped as recently as 2018. “You need me; I don’t need you.”
A year later, he teamed up with the NFL. While the partnership includes expanding the league’s social justice initiative, Inspire Change, the business pairing was controversial among many of the rapper’s fans, as well as the league’s critics and supporters of Kaepernick.
NFL safety Eric Reid, a close friend of Kaepernick’s, tweeted that “it looks like [Jay-Z’s] goal was to make millions and millions of dollars by assisting the NFL in burying Colin’s career.”