Who Won The Battle Of The 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Stage?

Two Latin superstars — Jennifer Lopez, who was born to Puerto Rican parents and Shakira, who hails from Colombia — blew fans away at the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 2, 2020. It was a fantastic combination, to say the least, paying a beautiful tribute to the host city of Miami's Latin communities. But despite their similarities and shared goals, the music icons brought different strengths to the table. 

"This show will have very important repercussions," Shakira explained in a pre-game chat with ESPN Español (via Billboard). "We are a mix of cultures and we conserve so many idiosyncratic cultural traits that make us unique. Our music is a reflection of that." In other words, you can't compare apples to oranges, and that was made clear when each powerhouse performed an individual set before joining forces at the end of the show.

So who won the battle of the 2020 super bowl halftime stage? As one might expect, fans have very strong opinions about this epic matchup.

Shakira rocked her diverse skill set

Shakira – who boasts a net worth of $300 million and has won three Grammys — had high hopes going into her Super Bowl LIV performance. "I want this to be a big celebration and a big party. An inclusive party," she said on her Instagram Stories before the show (via Billboard). "I want to inspire many men and women and Latinos and people around the world to dream as big as they can." The performance fell on her 43rd birthday, adding another layer of specialness to the event. 

Speaking of sparkle, the singer wowed fans with her versatility, proving she can sing, dance, play guitar, and rock the drums in a mere six minutes. Shakira seamlessly slipped between her rocker and pop star personas and even threw a little belly dancing into the mix an homage to her Lebanese heritage. As for the hits, the mom-of-two performed "She Wolf," "Empire," "Whenever, Wherever," a mashup of "Chantaje" and Cardi B's "I Like It" alongside Bad Bunny, and of course, "Hips Don't Lie." The medley was a beautiful tribute to her mixed heritage, complete with an Afro-Colombian dance to drive home her message of inclusivity.

"I want to thank Colombia for giving me the mapalé, the champeta, the salsa, and the Afro-Caribbean rhythms that allowed me to create the Super Bowl Halftime Show I dreamed of more than a decade ago," she posted on Instagram after the show.

Jennifer Lopez was a well-oiled machine

Jennifer Lopez's goals for her segment of the Super Bowl LIV halftime show were similar to Shakira's. "I think it's important in this day and age for two Latin women to be standing on that stage — when Latinos are being treated a certain way in this country ... to show that we have a really specific and beautiful culture and worth and value, and we bring something to this country that's necessary," she told Variety in November 2019. "...I want it to be a celebration of who we are. All of us, because we're in this together." 

J.Lo delivered flawless choreography in knockout ensembles to the tune of her greatest hits, including "Waiting for Tonight," "Ain't It Funny," and "Jenny From the Block." However, her performance's most notable moment was when her daughter, Emme Muniz, belted out a solo line from "Let's Get Loud" while standing in a cage-like structure with other children. Emme transitioned into Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," as her proud mom strutted her stuff in a double-sided cape featuring American and Puerto Rican flags. It made for a powerful socio-political statement at a championship known as America's Game. 

Fans and critics had a lot to say about Shakira and J.Lo

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez clearly gave the Super Bowl LIV show their all, but critiquing halftime performances has become a sport of its own. Fans and critics had plenty to say about the 2020 party, and many of those narratives have attempted to frame Shakira and J.Lo as competitors rather than collaborators. 

One viewer tweeted: "After last night's performance let's stop spinning this narrative of JLo Vs Shakira. This was a win for Latino people everywhere." Others viewed the show as a powerful statement against ageism, tweeting: "perhaps we should let women over the age of 40 do things more often." 

Despite all the popular acclaim, some argued that both superstars failed to take on misperceptions tied to Latin culture and perpetuated stereotypes of women as sex objects. A writer for The Washington Post said the show failed to address the "racial politics that have shrouded the NFL" and suggested that "Shakira and Lopez missed an important opportunity to ally themselves with black communities, including Afro-Latino ones." 

Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens said viewers had seemingly "fallen into two distinct camps: The show was a triumph; the show was a travesty." But in her view, this was a win-win situation: "For 15 electric minutes, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed a nonstop celebration of life and lust and Latin pop and Puerto Rican/Colombian/Lebanese culture and identity and costumes and dancing and footwork. It was muscular and sexy. It was unapologetic."