Musical shapeshifter Shakira dazzled the audience at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday (Sept. 12) at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Kicking off her potent hits medley with “She Wolf,” the Colombian superstar appeared inside what looked like a human-sized cube, moving in trance-like yoga poses, transitioning from a robotic-like motion to a fluid one.
Wearing a flesh-toned shimmery outfit, the superstar then transitioned to electro-pop number “Te Felicito,” her 2022 hit with Rauw Alejandro, during which she was joined by four male backup dancers. She gleefully cut to “TQG,” her kiss-off hit alongside Karol G, amid pyrotechnics.
In what was perhaps one of the most memorable segments of this medley, she recreated her famous 2006 VMAs performance with the extended version of “Objection (Tango).” Surrounded by tribal-styled percussionists forming a drum circle, Shakira demonstrated her magnetic star power, and proceeded to grab an electric guitar, showing off some power cords.
She had the crowd on its feet by the time she got to “Hips Don’t Lie” — even Taylor Swift showed off some Latin-style dance moves from her seat. Shakira closed with her hit “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.” The crowd roared the lyrics in Spanish, “Las mujeres ya no lloran, las mujeres facturan!” (“Women no longer cry, women cash in!”)
During her set, Shakira even crowd surfed, and received a traditional Colombian sombrero from someone in the audience. This performance marked her first time rocking the VMAs stage since 2006.
The Colombian singer-songwriter made history at the VMAs, becoming the first South American artist to receive the Video Vanguard Award. She is the second Latin artist to receive the award; Jennifer Lopez, the first performer of Latin descent, received the honor in 2018.
After thanking MTV for having been part of her career since she was 18 years old, the 46-year-old Colombian singer-songwriter mentioned key figures in the creation of her music videos, such as Jaume de Laiguana and Maite Marcos, whom she called friends and collaborators. “Really, I wouldn’t know what to do without you,” she said in Spanish.
She also thanked her record label Sony Music and its collaborators, her parents and her sons, Milan and Sasha, who were present at the ceremony, “for making me happy and making me feel that mom can do anything. Finally, she dedicated the award to her fans, “who have always supported of me through thick and thin”.
“Thank you so much for being my army and helping me fight all my battles,” she said, before adding in Spanish, “This is for you my people … Thank you for inspiring me and for injecting me with so much strength and so much desire to keep going.”
Watch Shakira’s 2023 MTV VMAs performance and acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard Award.
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