The Super Bowl halftime show is the single most important thing to watch on Sunday night if you’re someone who doesn’t like football. A high-production, ludicrously lavish stadium concert pumped directly to your TV while you scarf down wings and seven-layer dip.
Every single year something happens that becomes the talk of the night, and moments tend to stick around far longer than memories of the game itself. Lady Gaga jumping off a stadium, Janet Jackson’s nipple, Prince playing “Purple Rain” in the rain, Left Shark — without question we will get something memorable.
This year the show is headlined by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. Honestly, I don’t have especially strong feeling toward the lineup. I think it will be fine. That said, there are questions that remain, and I’m here to answer them.
No. 1. Why Lopez and Shakira?
Because Miami. Look, you can be really cynical about the choice as pandering to the city’s Latinx population, but it’s better than what we got last year. Having Lopez (who’s Puerto Rican) and Shakira (from Colombia) as the headliners makes the show feel more authentic than in 2019, when Maroon 5 played in Atlanta for some ungodly reason.
Last year we implored Pepsi and the NFL to actually recognize Atlanta musically in some way. Ludacris, Outkast, Run the Jewels — the list goes on. While Big Boi did make an appearance, it still felt Atlanta light. In 2020 instead of getting some milquetoast top-40 artist, we are at least getting a show that has some sort of significance to the city.
No. 2. Pitbull is 100 percent going to be a surprise artist, right?
Yes and no. For a while, this seemed like a slam dunk guarantee, until it was announced that Pitbull, Dan + Shay, DJ Khaled, and Yolanda Adams would be participating in the Super Bowl pregame show.
Although this doesn’t preclude Pitbull from pulling double duty, it definitely hampers the potential he’ll make a surprise appearance during the big show itself. Honestly, that feels a little weird. Pitbull might be Mr. Worldwide, but he’s so indelibly linked to Miami that it feels like this has to happen.
No. 3. What songs can we expect?
The Super Bowl halftime show is all about familiarity and reliability. To this end, there’s a good chance we’re going to see J. Lo perform “Let’s Get Loud” and “If You Had My Love,” alongside her new single “Baila Conmigo.”
Shakira will likely bust out “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever.” There’s also speculation the two might team up to perform the Spanish language song “La Tortura to Dinero.”
No. 4. Will Lopez do a Selena cover?
This would likely be the performance of the show. The Mexican-American pop icon was tragically killed in 1995, making this year the 25th anniversary of her death. Lopez already has both an affinity and a link to Selena, playing the titular role in the 1997 movie Selena.
While the impact of Lopez covering Selena might get lost on a chunk of the audience, it would be an appropriate and fitting tribute.
No. 5. Are we going to get something Miami Vice themed?
Oh, I’m sure. This is Miami after all, and we’ve hit the sweet spot where Miami Vice plucks those nostalgia strings. With an army of over 100 dancers, I’d be disappointed if we didn’t see at least one set of dancers in white suits and pastel T-shirts busting out their moves.
No. 6. Are they going to show Alex Rodriguez?
Yes, 100 percent guarantee it. Blame me if your prop bets go wrong. A-Rod is a part of Fox Sports’ MLB team, Fox is airing the Super Bowl, and he’s engaged to Lopez. Consider this a lock.