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J.Lo, Shakira to perform as NFL tries to reboot Super Bowl half-time show

The NFL had trouble attracting well-known artists to perform at the Super Bowl last year because numerous musical acts, including Jay-Z, said they would decline as a show of support for Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who has been unable to find a new team since he became a free agent in March 2017.

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Kaepernick accused the league of blackballing him because of his protests during the national anthem. He and safety Eric Reid, now with the Carolina Panthers, settled collusion cases against the NFL for several million dollars in February.

The NFL hoped the deal with Jay-Z would ensure that it can book the best possible entertainers and help the league move past the controversy. The challenges booking a halftime act last year, and the lukewarm reception for Maroon 5 and Travis Scott, who were eventually chosen to perform, disturbed some executives at the NFL.

Lopez, 50, gives the NFL the star power it craves at the Super Bowl. She has been earning some of the best of reviews of her career for her role as the ringleader of a swindling group of strippers in Hustlers, driving speculation that she could earn her first Academy Award.

Last week, she continued to light up the internet when she strutted down the runway at Milan Fashion Week in a new version of the Versace jungle print dress she wore to the Grammys in 2000.

Throughout her career, Lopez has struck a balance between crafting infectious dance pop and acting on the big screen. Her music often blends English and Spanish language, with lyrics that hearken back to her childhood in the Bronx. Lopez recently finished an international arena tour, where she sang older hits like “Jenny from the Block,” so she is well prepared for a singing and dancing extravaganza of this magnitude.

Before Hustlers, Lopez starred in romantic comedies like Shall We Dance? and Maid in Manhattan. For a while, she served as a judge on American Idol.

Shakira, 42, is known for her electronic dance music hits and her famously gyrating hips. Fans will almost certainly demand her ubiquitous 2006 hit, “Hips Don’t Lie” at the Super Bowl show. Her 2009 album “She Wolf”, with its electronic club beats, reached the Top 10 in the United States.

In the last few years, Shakira’s star power in the United States has waned, so the Super Bowl performance will be an opportunity for the pop star to raise her profile. More recently, the Colombian singer shifted her musical direction from mainstream dance music to songs sung primarily in Spanish and with what she described as part rock, part romantic, part Latin.

Controversy over the treatment of Colin Kaepernick (centre) impacted last season's showpiece event.

Controversy over the treatment of Colin Kaepernick (centre) impacted last season’s showpiece event.Credit:AP

Her latest album, “El Dorado”, won a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album last year. Shakira has been most visible in recent years as a judge on the reality show The Voice.

Jay-Z, one of the most influential artists and executives in the music industry, did not rule out performing at the Super Bowl in the future.

The New York Times

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