Assistant News Editors Tim Carlin and Briah Lumpkins discuss their thoughts while watching the Super Bowl LIV Pepsi Halftime Show. This conversation was edited for clarity.
Tim: I think it was really smart that they started out with Shakira.
Briah: Okay, can I say something? I don’t think either of them are singing. Shakira, she can probably do better than J. Lo (Jennifer Lopez) as far as singing and dancing at the same time. J. Lo, I just don't think possesses that talent.
T: I definitely think their background tracks were turned up a couple notches.
[Bad Bunny enters the stage]
T: I could have done without the collaboration. I just think he did not sound good at all. He was definitely singing live — and he was out of breath! Also, not a fan of him wearing a durag.
B: Yeah. That’s cultural appropriation.
B: I think despite the great song choices [by Shakira], she had the opportunity to bring Beyoncé [on stage] and bring the house down.
[J. Lo enters the stage]
T: Right off the bat, I can see Beyoncé’s influence in this performance, and that's not even from a subjective place. That's from an objective place. This is Beyoncé’s outfit from her first solo Super Bowl performance. Do you agree?
B: Um, I would have to say that I do. J. Lo's career, if we want to go back that far, has been very much influenced by the black community. And it’s evident in a lot of her work.
[J. Lo performs “Get Right”]
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B: This song, I will say, is actually good. Because I don’t like people around me.
T: Is this one of the ones that Ashanti wrote?
B: I'm not sure.
T: This entire Super Bowl performance was very … adequate. That’s the word I would use to describe the whole show.
B: So you left feeling satisfied? Is that what you’re trying to say?
T: I left feeling how I expected to feel. My expectations were low, and they were met. Mostly by Shakira. I think J. Lo’s “Hustlers” moment and the moment with her daughter were the highlights of her portion.
B: You know, I don’t want people to read this and think we’re shitting on J. Lo because that’s not the point. J. Lo can dance! She’s a performer!
T: She’s a performer, but she’s no one’s vocalist. You’re in the biggest arena of the year. Let me hear you belt, girl!
B: Moral of the story is … just let Beyoncé do it.
T: The moral of my story is not “just let Beyoncé do it,” but when you live in a world of Beyoncés, of Michael Jacksons, of Princes, and then this is what follows … I'm automatically going to be let down.
B: I would love to know the process the committee goes through when selecting a Super Bowl halftime performer. It's not like they just let any Joe Schmo on the street perform during the Super Bowl. There has to be a lot of thought that goes into it. And I feel like in recent years, I've seen a decline.
T: My final thought is … step it up. Beautiful performance. Vocals? Questionable all around. Dancing? Amazing; top notch. It just wasn’t there vocally for me, and I need more in that department for a performance of this magnitude.
B: I agree. I do. I think, very specifically, J. Lo’s vocals weren’t there for me. But at the same time, I don’t think they ever have been. But I love that they're embracing a more diverse population, especially women. I hope that in the future there will be more women and more people of color on stage.
T: I completely agree. I think if we take the vocals from Shakira’s section, the visual performance from J. Lo’s section, and put it all together in the end section, it's the perfect Super Bowl performance. But sadly, that math doesn't add up in real life, and we were left with fragments of a perfect show.
B: I want a halftime show that makes me completely forget I’m watching a football game.
Rating: 2.75/5 stars