This year, Adam Blackstone had one of the more unique challenges in the history of the Super Bowl halftime show. The music director was tasked with designing a setlist for not one but two headliners: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. For his work, Blackstone was just nominated for an Emmy, his second for Best Music Direction. “I was charged with the task to make their condensed time of a show feel like a headlining moment for each of them,” says Blackstone in an exclusive new webchat with Gold Derby. “So I think that was one of the biggest initial mental and creative challenges right off the bat.” Watch the video interview above.
With Lopez and Shakira being in the business for so long, they each had a strong grasp on what they wanted to do for their individual sets. Blackstone reveals Shakira was very “hands-on” from the start while Lopez was “right out the gate pretty much knowing what she wanted to convey.” They both performed some of their biggest hits from their vast catalogs, including “Hips Don’t Lie,” “Whenever, Wherever,” “Jenny from the Block” and “On the Floor.” One of Blackstone’s proudest moments was helping Lopez execute her vision on “Let’s Get Loud,” where a girls choir including her daughter, Emme, performed the first verse in lighted cages, a possible statement about U.S. immigration policy. “She was very adamant about that verse standing out in the way that it did so I’m glad I was able to bring her vision to fruition,” states Blackstone.
Blackstone was thrilled with the response to the Super Bowl halftime show, even if he couldn’t quite enjoy it in the moment. “People recognized, I think, the hard work that we pulled off; something like that had never been done before,” explains the music director. Both Lopez and Shakira called him to say how happy they were with how the show went. “I really feel like as a Shakira fan, you got a big dose of her, as a J.Lo fan, you got a great big dose of her, and then if you’re not a fan of each of the other ladies, you became a fan that night.”
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