After two years of mediocrity, the NFL finally redeemed itself by recruiting Jennifer Lopez and Shakira for its Super Bowl halftime show on February 2. The co-headliners turned the Miami stage into a fiesta with showstopping hits, choreography, and visual projections.
“Hola Miami!” shouted Shakira, who kicked off the spectacle with her 2009 hit “She Wolf.” Flanked by more than two dozen dancers in matching ruby red leotards, the 43-year-old Colombian superstar strutted across the stage before reminding audiences of her rock and roll roots on “Empire” where she riffed on a guitar. She then remixed her number one hit “Whenever Wherever” with Cardi B’s “I Like It,” inviting Bad Bunny out to perform his verse. The Latin trap star seemed to channel his inner tinman for the appearance, wearing head-to-toe silver. One Spanish song wasn’t enough to satisfy audiences, so Shakira threw in the sexy reggaeton hit “Chantaje” (sans Maluma) before closing out her set with global smash “Hips Don’t Lie.”
Not to be outshined, Lopez made her grand entrance on top of a fake Empire State Building to “Jenny from the Block.” Dressed in studded black leather and knee-high boots, Lopez descended from a lit-up dancer’s pole onto a mini staircase surrounded by an army of mini-skirted back up dancers. She segued into the romantic comedy rap track, “Ain’t It Funny” then quickly transitioned to her 2005 hit “Get Right,” which was punctuated with a fierce floor slide that had the crowd going wild.
Channeling her Hustler’s character, Lopez ascended the pole once more as lasers shot around the stadium and dancers circled her. Straddling upside down on the pole, she performed “Waiting for Tonight” while her dancers boosted her on their shoulders. Colombian reggaeton singer/rapper J. Balvin was then summoned onto the stage to guest on “Booty,” before blending his 2017 smash “Mi Gente” with Lopez’s famous hit, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.”
Lopez then slowed down the pace, inviting her 11-year-old daughter, Emme, on stage for a reworked version of “Let’s Get Loud.” The song was interspersed with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” while children sat in lit-up cages—an explicit reference to the immoral immigration policies by the Trump Administration. As the tempo increased (thanks to Shakira assisting on drums), Lopez rejoined her daughter on the stage in a massive furry cape with an American flag exterior and Puerto Rican flag interior (a nod to Lopez’s heritage). “Latinos!” she yelled in celebration alongside her daughter—the scene was heartwarming and challenged the “keep politics out of sports” rhetoric that has come to define the league.
The 14-minute performance ended on a high note, with Shakira engaging in a dance battle with Lopez while also trading songs. Lopez sang the opening line of Shakira’s “Waka Waka” before the latter showcased her quick-stepping skills on the track. Lopez returned for Salsa showdown with “Let’s Get Loud” before rising on top of the stage beside Shakira who shouted “Muchas gracias” as fireworks went off in the background.
Although the show felt like two separate entities at times, it was an exhilarating showcase of unity and girl-power. Lopez and Shakira bridged cultures and performance styles to create a seamless spectacle that left audiences with little time to breathe in between songs. They embodied the message of representation and opened audiences to worlds that extend far beyond Miami.