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J-Lo and Pitbull kicks off World Cup

Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull are the stars of the opening ceremony in Brazil as the World Cup gets underway.

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Let's hope the symbolic doves of peace flew wide of the military helicopters as Brazil's World Cup of contradictions officially opened.

Three doves were released by children at a lavish opening ceremony on Thursday at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo.

The doves flew as protests raged elsewhere in Brazil's largest city, far removed from the joyous 25-minute ceremony.

Getting the party started: singers Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte.

Getting the party started: singers Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte. Photo: Getty Images

A paraplegic in a robot suit delivered the first ceremonial kick of the cup ahead of Brazil's tournament opener against Croatia.

The futuristic scene came as the host nation sought to cast aside its oft-used mocking slogan: Brazil is a country of the future, and always will be.

The ceremony was held in the 62,600-capacity stadium before guests including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Jennifer Lopez, Claudia Leitte and Pitbull perform during the Opening Ceremony. Click for more photos

World Cup kicks off with opening ceremony

Jennifer Lopez, Claudia Leitte and Pitbull perform during the Opening Ceremony. Photo: Getty Images

Blatter no doubt hoped the opening ceremony took some focus off corruption claims dogging soccer's world governing body, and the protests.

The pre-match extravaganza starred pop superstar Jennifer Lopez, who performed the tournament's official song, We Are One, with Brazilian songstress Claudia Leitte and rapper Pitbull.

More than 600 artists, including acrobatic gymnasts, trampolinists, martial arts-style capoeira performers and stilt walkers also featured in a homage to Brazil's three great treasures: nature, people and football.

The centrepiece of the show was a giant LED ball made up of more than 90,000 light clusters - one of the few large-scale technical wonders in the event as organisers were ordered to avoid placing a strain on the pitch where Brazil and Croatia face off 75 minutes after the ceremony.

AAP