FIFA boss Sepp Blatter’s awkward grandpa dancing is no longer the most cringe worthy aspect of the 2014 World Cup, Pitbull’s fashion forward white pants are.
The star of the official tournament song We Are One (Ola Ola) emerged on stage at the opening ceremony in what can best be described as a pair of white pants he stole from his cohort Jennifer Lopez.
Interestingly, Lopez, aka J-Lo, wore a similar pair of high-waisted, stark white, ankle-baring chinos during her appearance on The Tonight Show earlier this week, where together with host Jimmy Fallon she performed the sketch ''Tight Pants''.
The American Idol judge sought the opinion of her 2.8 million Instagram followers for her World Cup wardrobe by posting a photo of her three outfit options. She eventually decided on a heavily embellished emerald green jumpsuit with bedazzled tights.
As J-Lo and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte shimmied around on stage sans pants like extras from Strictly Ballroom, Pitbull won the fashion vote by being bang on trend for the upcoming northern spring/summer season. What he lacked in pizzazz he made up for with perception, as design houses such as Gucci, Armani, Dsquared2 and Burberry all showcased the casual cropped pant style at their spring/summer 2014 shows last year. The flattering look, also referred to by fashion folk as the "mankle", has already filtered down to the local high street with stores like Uniqlo, Topshop and H&M already stocking ankle-grazing pants for blokes which are best teamed with loafers (and crazy coloured socks if you're feeling brave).
But back to the football: while Brazil’s World Cup opening had more sequinned encrusted and figure-hugging ensembles than Mardi Gras, all eyes were on Pitbull, Lopez and Leitte, who closed the ceremony with a performance of the song commissioned by FIFA to be the anthem of the month-long sporting event.
As for the performance itself, considering We Are One (Ole Ola) had been so unpopular in Brazil before the tournament, the three singers did a fair job.
Songs at major live events seem to have as much scrutiny as the actual events they support, even though they are there to warm up the crowd. You could argue performers are damned either way: take a safety first approach and record your vocals and you are slated as inauthentic (Red Hot Chilli Peppers at the Superbowl, anyone?). But sing live – with all the risk factors involved (wind, crowd noise, technical issues, a dodgy mic) – and you can be slated for a substandard performance.
The song was blasted before the event, especially by Brazilians who felt it wasn’t Brazilian enough – although it has been viewed 81 million times on YouTube. There’s no escaping it’s not an adventurous piece of songwriting, perhaps because it was written by a committee of eight writers – including our own Sia Furler. Shakira faced similar criticisms for her 2010 World Cup song Waka Waka.
This time around, the performance of the anthem wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t Meat Loaf at the 2011 AFL Grand Final either.
The vocals were a mix of live and recorded and they largely nailed their live vocals, although Pitbull was drowned out by the percussion while J-Lo resorted to shouting at times. Leitte was probably the most composed of the three. Their stagecraft demanded attention, as it should have.
Had Pitbull dressed with the glamour befitting the global occasion he may have lived up to his superstar status, and not just been a bloke who will only be remembered for stealing Peter Dinklage's pants.
- with Peter Vincent