Bleats

Jennifer Lopez And Shakira Headlining The Super Bowl Is A Big Win For Women And Latin Americans

The world is going to be set on fire.

Let’s be honest here, there are only two reasons why 100+ million people tune in to watch the Super Bowl: the crazy ads and the big name music acts performing at the halftime show.

For the 2020 event, we’re getting what may be one of the greatest halftime show headlining acts in Super Bowl history: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

The pair made the announcement with a series of teasing, slow-burn tweets and Instagram posts before culminating in a winning shot of J-Lo and Shakira (and a massive Pepsi logo because they’re the halftime show’s main sponsor).

Words can’t do justice just how big of a deal it is. The last two Super Bowl halftime shows – Maroon 5 in 2019 and Justin Timberlake in 2018 – didn’t exactly set the world alight and there’s no doubt J-Lo and Shakira will put on a hell of a better show, especially since they actually seem super stoked to be there.

But more importantly than wiping the floor with Maroon 5 and Justin Timberlake, J-Lo and Shakira represent a big representation win for women and the Latin American community.

There have only been two Latin performers – Gloria Estefan and Enrique Iglesias – to take the Super Bowl halftime show when it became a thing in the 60s, making J-Lo and Shakira’s headlining act pretty historic. In just one show, the number of Latin performers will double.

While there have been female artists – like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé – who have headlined the Super Bowl halftime show, there has never been two massive female performers like J-Lo and Shakira sharing the stage as co-headlining acts.

All in all, the 2020 halftime show is shaping up to not only be an epic romp but also a huge representation victory that will hopefully open the door for more diverse artists.

Oh, there’s a possibility Pitbull may rock up for a cameo since the 2020 Super Bowl will take place at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go listen to ‘On the Floor’ and ‘Loba’ back-to-back on repeat as preparation for the J-Lo and Shakira extravaganza (aka the 2020 Super Bowl).

The OG Masked Singer Is More Talent Than Kitsch, We Were Robbed

Having Lindsay Lohan on is a delight though.

A TV show featuring bunch of people with varying levels of singing ability hiding behind flashy costumes while a panel of judges consisting of Dannii Minogue, Jackie O, uh, Dave Hughes and… Lindsay Lohan (?) throw quips and jokes about every performance.

Yep, I’m definitely talking about The Masked Singer, Australia’s new favourite obsession.

There are plenty of good reasons why The Masked Singer is ridiculously hot right now. The performances vary wildly between campy and kitsch with hints of talent sprinkled through out but it is almost always entertaining.

Sure not every judge is qualified to really make any judgements about the singing ability of the contestants but any lack of proper music qualification is made up for the fact that Lindsay Lohan is on the panel and is having the time of her life despite looking utterly clueless most of the time.

The Masked Singer knows it’s turn-your-brain-off campy fun and smartly leans into it so it’s not too surprising why it’s such a big hit.

But for all the entertainment and kitsch The Masked Singer brings to the table, the Korean OG – titled King of Masked Singer – was something else altogether and you simply must check it out if you’re a fan of the Aussie version.

Whereas our local version is delightfully cheesy and all about the spectacle in the best way possible), the Korean version takes the actual singing part a bit more seriously.

Given the sheer number of talented singers produced by the South Korea’s K-pop machine compared to Australia’s comparatively miniscule music scene, it’s no surprise that King of Masked Singer is filled with people who could actually sing whereas The Masked Singer has folks like Brett Lee.

As a result, the show is stuffed with stunning vocal performances week in week out and there’s no need to rely on flashy costumes.

Almost every singer and K-pop idol who has been on the show – and they have ranged from BTS-levels of fame to indie artists – is stupidly talented and whoever couldn’t appear as a contestant will likely appear on the judging panel as a guest judge, which adds an extra layer of fun and credibility to the proceedings.

But it’s not quite a full on “serious” competition show either as King of Masked Singer also has its moments of dumb fun, such as when Ryan Reynolds rocked up in a unicorn outfit for laughs (and to promote Deadpool 2).

So if you’re a fan of the Aussie version of The Masked Singer, you’ll do well to check out the original Korean version because whatever that lacks in kitsch, it makes up for in vocal talent.

Having said that, nothing beats having Lindsay Lohan on a judging panel so Australia has that going for it.

Steve Aoki Weighs In On Flume’s Booty Munch Fiasco And Kicking It With The Backstreet Boys

Over two decades into his storied career and Steve Aoki is still as driven as ever.

Steve Aoki has been going hard at it as a DJ for many years now so it’s not a stretch to think he’s seen and done everything. But 20-something years into his storied music career, which has had more highlights than the hair of boy bands like BTS and Backstreet Boys, Aoki still loves it more than ever as he preps for an anticipated appearance at Australia’s new music festival, Festival X, in November.

Aoki’s relentless drive is arguably second to none and it’s resulted in an incredibly prolific discography, the latest of which is a collaboration with the Backstreet Boys, the EDM banger titled ‘Let It Be Me.’

Ahead of his appearance at Festival X, I chatted to Aoki about the origins of ‘Let It Be Me,’ Aoki says the song was born out of a “human connection” rather than the usual “I’m a fan of you and vice versa so let’s do something together!”

“Me and Nick Carter, we hit it off pretty good. We were talking for a while and then he came to one of my shows and jumped up onstage with me to do ‘Backstreet’s Back’,” says Aoki, “and we had this really strong energy onstage and we followed that energy into the studio.”

“We really gravitated to the bare bones of what ‘Let It Be Me’ was, and they loved the lyrics.”

Credit: Steve Aoki

But perhaps the most powerful thing about ‘Let It Be Me’ was the music video, which features several diverse couples and individuals talking about their personal struggles.

“The lyrics were so emotional that [the video] should be about these couples and these individual stories of how they had to deal with very personal hardships,” says Aoki, “and in the end, you see how love overcame these hardships and these difficult times.”

Working with a group as “great” and “humble” as the Backstreet Boys was an experience for Aoki but the thing that surprised him the most wasn’t their professionalism and work ethic. Rather, it was their childlike enthusiasm for the foam pit he has in his house.

“I have a foam pit and trampoline installed in my house and all of them were doing flips and stuff like little kids,” laughs Aoki, “that honestly was where the energy [for the song] sparked and we used that to go into the studio.”

Some people have paintings or meditation for inspiration, Aoki has a frigging awesome foam pit.

As Aoki showered the Backstreet Boys with praise for their work ethic, I asked about his own relentless drive to keep working year in year out and he tells me that it’s all about momentum and gratitude.

“The gratitude in my heart has to be the number one purpose and meaning in what I’m doing,” says Aoki, “it helps me find discipline in doing the things I love and the things I don’t need in my life.”

Since we both come from Asian backgrounds – he’s Japanese, I’m Chinese – I pondered whether our respective upbringings in which hard work is drilled into us at a young age had something to do with that need to keep working hard and pushing forward.

“100 percent. I don’t know if it’s evolution or culture, but growing up under a very, very tough love father who drove work ethic into me at the earliest age I can remember,” says Aoki, “it’s like, ‘work is not’ fun, that’s how he said it.”

“What I do is incredibly fun [laughs] but in reality, half have to work a s**t job so they can survive to do things that are fun, that’s how he laid it out for me and he says ‘that’s how it is and you have to learn to deal with that’. It’s very much an Asian thing.”

Credit: Steve Aoki

At this point, I simply had to get Aoki’s thoughts on the whole “Flume eats a woman’s arse onstage at Burning Man” incident given how he’s seen a bunch of stuff go down during his career as a DJ, and after explaining what went down to him, he had nothing but respect for Flume’s little brown-nosing incident.

“Wow, that’s bold, I think that’s badass,” exclaims Aoki, “I think it’s cool when people do something that’s outside their comfort zone.”

When I asked what the craziest thing he’s done onstage and Aoki laughs and tells me “Flume wins” by a mile.

“Oh god, Flume wins! Flume wins! Give him the trophy, mic drop, I can’t get anywhere near that,” says Aoki, “that is something that’ll go down in the history books for all DJs, I don’t think anyone can top that!”

At the end of our chat, it’s clear that Steve Aoki remains just as driven today as he was on day one and he plans chugging along, whether it’s doing more collaborations, writing memoirs, performing at festivals like Festival X and continuing to release new music (he says his sixth album Neon Future IV will be released in 2020).

Just don’t expect him to do what Flume did at Burning Man any time soon though.

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