5 Ideas for Jennifer Lopez, Shakira's Halftime Show - Rolling Stone
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5 Ideas for Jennifer Lopez, Shakira’s Super Bowl Halftime Show

A modest list of suggestions and predictions for Super Bowl LIV’s Latina headliners

Shakira, left, and Jennifer Lopez, right, are slated to perform at the 2020 Super Bowl.Shakira, left, and Jennifer Lopez, right, are slated to perform at the 2020 Super Bowl.

Shakira performs at the WiZink Center, Madrid, Spain, July 3rd 2018; Jennifer Lopez performs at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Los Angeles, USA, February 10th 2019.

Rob Latour/Shutterstock

On February 2nd, 2020, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will co-headline the halftime show at Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Both artists are circling three decades as entertainers, making this the perfect showcase of their individual global successes and record-shattering leaps for Latin pop artists.

There are no concerns about what the pair will be able to do with the too-short amount of time on stage: these are seasoned performers who have put on some of pop’s greatest stage shows and have hefty back catalogs of hits and beloved deep cuts worth choosing from. However, that also means the possibilities are endless: Who, if anyone, will join them on stage? Will J. Lo give a hat tip to her film career? How far back will they go in their catalogs? Here, we humbly offer some suggestions to the superstars as they begin preparing for the show.

J. Lo Reenacts her Hustlers Pole Dance

2020 is truly shaping up to be J. Lo’s year, especially since she has been getting a healthy amount of Oscar buzz for her role as Hustlers’ stripper queenpin Ramona. It’s still early in the Oscar game, but the Super Bowl just happens to be taking place one week before the ceremony. According to the award show’s official page, voting for the 92nd Oscars telecast ends on February 4th, just two days after the Super Bowl.

With that in mind: J. Lo should let this televised event be her final and second-most important appeal for her Oscar (after her actual Hustlers performance, of course). Therefore, future Oscar nominee Jennifer Lopez should re-create the acrobatic pole dance set to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” where the audience meets Ramona. The standing ovation alone would delay the whole game!

A Stacked Guest List

Although Lopez and Shakira are superstars in their own right, they’re also known to thrive in a team environment. Lopez could pick any one of her co-stars from hip-hop classics past: from Ja Rule to Fat Joe to LL Cool J. Or, she and Shakira could help further the reggaeton agenda by inviting their more recent collaborators, like rising stars Bad Bunny, Ozuna and Maluma.

Yet it would be pure sacrilege to omit Cuban-Americans, who comprise Miami’s largest ethnic group. Luckily they’re well-represented in pop music: there’s 2019 Latin Grammy nominee Camila Cabello, who’s dominated the U.S. charts with hits like “Señorita” and “Havana.” Then of course there’s Miami’s global ambassador, Pitbull, who’s played partner in crime to J.Lo in “On the Floor,” and to Shakira in “Rabiosa.”

But above all, what would be more epic than the return of Gloria Estefan, who became the first Latina to headline a Super Bowl halftime show in 1992? Together onstage for the first time ever, Gloria, Shakira and Jenny would complete a formidable trifecta of living Latina American legends. It might be the rarest phenomenon to ever take place in Miami — but no rarer than the Dolphins winning another Super Bowl.

A Cross-Cultural Dance-Off

J. Lo and Shakira are both known for their gravity-defying moves, many of which have become inextricable from several of their hits. Sure, they both have a ton of songs to pack into the always too-short halftime set — but why not spare a couple minutes for some friendly competition? Think of it as an updated version of Shakira and Beyoncé’s “Beautiful Liar” video: they can mirror each other along with showing off some of their individual talents that have always made their live shows thrilling. Plus, maybe this could be an exchange of their backgrounds: let J. Lo show off her best Fly Girl moves while Shakira serves up some barefoot belly dancing and hip-shaking.

A Nineties Throwback Medley

Sustaining a music career for over two decades is no small feat, and if anyone in pop has proven their longevity, it’s Lopez and Shakira. For the loyal fans who followed their respective journeys from the beginning — before Lopez became J.Lo, and Shakira made her English-language crossover with 2001’s Laundry Service — it would behoove the divas to bring back some of their Nineties megahits.

For Lopez, the show begs cuts from her debut album On the 6, which turned 20 this year. First, blend the genre-defying dance break from “If You Had My Love” with her Nuyorican Latin house anthem, “Let’s Get Loud.” Then chase it with a sweltering rendition of “Waiting for Tonight,” outfitted with a jungle diorama and laser light show.

As for Shakira, nothing would stoke the Miami crowd like a revival of her era rockera: or that sweet spot in the Nineties when she was as much of a shredder as she was a pop singer. Take her 1995 breakout hit “Estoy Aqui” — or ¿Dónde Estan Los Ladrones? highlights like “Inevitable” and “Ojos Así,” a Spanish-Arabic masterpiece that would break the brains of sentient M.A.G.A. hats across the country.

No Diet Latinidad

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most-watched televised events in the United States. And with Latin music reaching a historic number of listeners across the globe, J.Lo and Shakira’s upcoming halftime show represents a ginormous milestone for the Latinx community, and further crystallizes the importance of Latinas and their role in shaping American pop culture. Translations be damned: Whether you speak English, Spanish, Spanglish, or any of the five languages Shakira happens to sing in, the international pop megastars are bound to put on a show that will be fun and accessible for people in the States and beyond.


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