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J-Lo causes controversy with World Cup theme

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez took to the stage with rapper Pitbull to perform at the World Cup opening ceremony last week. The official World Cup theme has divided opinion thanks to its controversy over lyrics, artists and general poor taste.

J-Lo teamed up with rapper Pitbull to create We Are One (Ole Ola), featuring further vocals sung in Portuguese from singer Claudia Lette.

The song sees Pitbull inviting listeners to put their flags up to the sky, while the Aint It Funny singer Jennifer Lopez warns us that a million eyes will be watching the famed tournament.

Despite the team spirit, the song has caused controversy for a number of reasons – namely, its lack of Portuguese lyrics, despite the World Cup’s setting for 2014. Little known vocalist Claudia Lette has just five lines in the song, while Pitbull himself even adds a little bilingual (albeit Spanish) flair to his rap efforts, declaring: “Invitamos a todo el mundo a jugar con nosotros.” (We invite everyone to play with us.)

In fact, the song’s lyrics have been universally slammed by critics, with many natives claiming the song “reinforces stereotypes with smiling, barefoot children and semi-naked, samba dancing women.”

Brazilian composer Leonardo Martinelli also had his two cents on the anthem. “[We Are One] is void of local color and the regional musical element was used only as a very light seasoning with the right amount of clichés and stereotypes usual with commercial music.”

Such damning reports could have been the reason for the song almost losing out to a number of other competitors, including Shakira’s 2010 World Cup anthem Waka Waka, which would be an interesting choice given its predominant lyrical focus on South Africa.

Shakira must have made quite an impression in 2010 however: a Twitter campaign to make her tune this year’s World Cup theme had the support of thousands of followers.

Bum note for J-Lo

After causing controversy with the possibility of not performing at the ceremony, the last thing J-Lo needed was more bad press.

She did turn up in the end, but it’s likely that she wishes she hadn’t – her sweeping entrance most probably had viewers cringing rather than crying out with excitement. As the ascending floor catapulted her and Pitbull onto the main stage, the hydraulics failed, causing the pair to stop, go down again and stop altogether. Thankfully, knight in shining armor Pitbull was on hand to help her onto the stage despite her massive stilettos, and the less said about his pants, the better.

Regardless of the public opinion however, it seems that We Are One is still appealing to the masses: the tune currently boasts 69 million hits on YouTube, which are sure to rise once the tournament begins.

Whichever tune is preferred, it’s a welcome sound not to hear a vuvuzela.

Photograph by Ana Carolina Kley Vita

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