Spectacle begets spectacle, and the 2014 World Cup kicked off with a doozy, via a live performance of the song we'll hear thousands of times before it's all through: "We Are One (Ole Ola)," Pitbull's official FIFA anthem, costarring Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian pop star Claudia Leitté.
The song is fine enough, with a sing-along hook and generic calls to inspiration, though many Brazilians hate it for its lack of a tangible connection to Brazil, aside from vague, anorexic gestures toward the whistles and percussion of samba. Unfortunately, such a generic "global sound" is to be expected, considering the song's unusually massive cadre of (non-Brazilian) writers and producers: Dr. Luke, RedOne, Cirkut, Sia, Thomas Troelson, and Danny Mercer. And really, every recent World Cup theme song is decentralized, with one foot in the Western world whether that's warranted or not, aspiring to sound both sort-of-local and sort-of-from-everywhere: Recall Shakira's hot mess of a 2010 World Cup single, "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)," and cringe at the melodic plagiarism.
"We Are One" is, at least, not a total rip, and Thursday's opening ceremony was certainly not boring. The trio of Pit, Claudia, and J.Lo performed atop a stage that unfurled not unlike an artichoke, surrounded by mimes in iridescent blue, drummers emblazoned with rainbow peace signs, and dancers dressed as rainforest trees who looked more like stalks of broccoli. Yet despite all the Carnivál-invoking absurdity, the most remarked-upon aspect of the performance happened to be Pitbull's white trousers, which were a tad tight in the waist and a little looser in the inseam, and rolled up above his ankles to show off his driving shoes. Fluffy headlines dominated the ceremony coverage, from both usual (Today.com: "Pitbull's Pants Are the Talk of Social Media") and unusual (the International Business Times: Pitbull's Weird Pants Trigger Hilarious Reactions") suspects.