You come to this website for hot takes on Super Bowl halftime shows, and have since SB IV in 1970, when Carol Channing caned Doc Severinsen to death in her Tribute to Mardi Gras.
“Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend,” I wrote at the time, “but the Severinsen family sure wouldn’t kick a good life insurance policy out of bed right about now (The Funk Soul Brother).” You still remember my trenchant commentary about the Black Eyed Peas debacle in 2011 (“You were already retarded”) and the Coldplay/Beyonce’/Bruno Mars show in 2016 (“The whole goddamn world needs to consciously uncouple from Chris Martin”), and now you are here for my important and original views on the performance of Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, which I alone provide because I alone am capable of generating scholarly and compelling thoughts on the matter.
I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I thought this exuberant, commanding, and bilingual pair finally united America after the tragedy of the Patriots’ loss to the Titans in the AFC Championship. Colombia’s Shakira, the first halftime headliner from South America, dazzled in an effortless English/Spanish medley of her hits, and even played a few seconds of electric guitar and drums. Yes, both she and J Lo lip-synched through most of their dozen vignettes, but there was so much strutting, dancing, sliding, and crowd-surfing that the only room for live-mic content was pure, gleeful acknowledgment en Espanol of Miami, Lopez’s native Bronx, and her ancestral Puerto Rico. The pair wiped away the national ugliness that was last year’s Maroon 5 halftime show (“I’ve got to move my bladder,” I enthused).
Believe it or not, Shakira’s and Lopez’s flawless performance has its detractors. Ohio Christian David Daubenmire told Newsweek that “soft pornography was pumped into homes of God-fearing people without the approval of their parents.” On his podcast Pass the Salt, Daubenmire wondered aloud if he should sue the NFL. “Were there any warnings that your 12-year-old son … was going to … get sexually excited?”
Where Daubenmire misses the point, of course, is that everyone knows soft pornography can’t be pumped—it can only be folded and prodded into homes, and then only with regret and shame.
Concerns for our (let’s face it, white) children and adult men also surfaced in critics who seemed to have no problem with the NFL’s tradition of spousal battery and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Christian group One Million Moms stated that Lopez wore nothing more than a “glitter maxi pad” and decried tableaux of children in cages while saying nothing about the administration that actually puts children in cages.
This 14-minute entertainment used raw talent, ropes, poles, and thighs to showcase diversity, growing older fabulously (Shakira is 43 and Lopez is 50), and cross-hemisphere cooperation while also shining a light on the shame of the Trump administration’s family separation policy and shockingly poor response to hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico.
If we can use near-nudity to raise awareness of income inequality or the gender wage gap or healthcare reform next year, I’m all for it, especially if Shakira returns to give Coldplay a Colombian necktie.