RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Pop superstar Jennifer Lopez has pulled out of the World Cup opening ceremony in Brazil, FIFA said Sunday, four days before the tournament kicks off.
Lopez, who recorded the official World Cup song, “We Are One,” with rapper Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte, had been due to perform with them at the opening ceremony in Sao Paulo but had to cancel, said the football governing body.
“For production issues, Jennifer Lopez, one of the artists of the official song ‘We Are One,’ will not be able to perform at the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony,” it said in a statement.
The 25-minute ceremony will feature 600 artists including acrobatic gymnasts, trampolinists, marshal arts-style capoeira performers and stilt walkers.
The grand finale will be a performance of “We Are One” — now minus Lopez — accompanied by Brazilian drumming collective Olodum.
Pitbull did not let J-Lo’s withdrawal dampen his enthusiasm.
“To be performing ‘We Are One’ to the world, especially in such a beautiful country like Brazil, is going to be a lot of fun. But more than this, it is going to show the world that music is the universal language,” he said in a statement released by FIFA.
Lopez also missed the January event where Pitbull and Leitte unveiled plans for the song alongside FIFA officials in Rio de Janeiro.
More than 60,000 people will be in Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena to watch the ceremony and kick-off match between Brazil and Croatia. Around a billion people are expected to tune in on TV worldwide.