Last weekend’s Coachella festival included Latin artists spanning across countries, cultures, and genres, and one performer stood out in particular: Karol G. With her debut on the festival’s mainstage, Karol G used her platform to highlight the myriad Latina icons that came before her — the Colombian superstar performed hits from Selena, Shakira and Celia Cruz.
Karol G hit the Coachella mainstage on Sunday night. She marked the moment with the word “Bichotella” on the backdrop behind her, a nod to her global smash “Bichota.” Donning blue wigs, her fans honored her signature hair color as they cheered her on. Karol G, meanwhile, honored her country with an outfit that featured the colors of Colombia’s flag. Towards the end of her set, she took the massive crowd through a trip down memory lane of the biggest hits in Latin music.
“Tonight I feel so proud to represent my country and my Latina community around the world,” Karol G said before the Latin hits medley. “Now I just want to have a moment in my show to honor the Latina songs that were number one in the world but were never played on this stage, but they have the opportunity here.”
Karol G went chronologically through the hits. A few days after what would’ve been Selena’s 50th birthday, she started belting out the late Tejano star’s hit “Como La Flor.” It was an emotional start to Karol G’s touching medley. Next was Celia Cruz. The singer performed a rousing rendition of the Cuban icon’s “La Vida Es Un Carnaval.” Karol G had the house moving with her tribute to another Colombian superstar, Shakira. She proudly sang along to Shakira’s smash hit “Hips Don’t Lie.”
“Proud of you, Karol G, at Coachella!!” Shakira wrote on Twitter. “Thanks for the love! Congratulations and keep flying high!!!”
During the medley, Karol G also spotlighted Ricky Martin when she performed his hit song “María.” As a nod to her success in the reggaeton genre, she also performed Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina,” a song that undeniably helped ignite the genre’s breakthrough. Her Latin hits medley would not be complete without Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” and J Balvin’s “Mi Gente.” Not ending there, Karol G also performed a cover of Los Del Río’s “Macarena,” creating a massive dance floor in the audience watching her. She rounded out the moment with her own global hit “Tusa” featuring Nicki Minaj.
Karol G also had a few surprise guests during her Coachella set. She brought up Mexican-American pop star Becky G to sing their recent hit “Mamiii.” Karol G’s denim outfit appeared to be a nod to Britney Spears’ 2001 American Music Awards look while Becky G’s biker look was reminiscent of Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” video. They brought the Latina girl power to the stage with their performance of the kiss-off anthem. Dutch DJ Tiësto also appeared to perform their collaboration “Don’t Be Shy.” Karol G will perform at Coachella again on April 24. She might add her new song “Provenza” to her set.
Along with Karol G, many more Latin music acts made their Coachella debuts last week. Anitta made history as the first solo artist from Brazil to perform on the mainstage. Her set included special guests like Snoop Dogg for “Onda Diferente” and Saweetie for “Faking Love.” Fellow Brazilian artist Pabllo Vittar made history as the first drag queen to perform at Coachella. After we saw them at Festival Ceremonia, Argentine pop star Nicki Nicole and Mexican singer Natanael Cano hit the Coachella stages. The latter brought his corridos tumbados in front of the largest crowd yet.
Mexico was also in the house with performances from banda acts Grupo Firme and Banda MS. Like Karol G, Colombian-Canadian artist Jessie Reyez proudly represented their country. Later on, Argentine-Spanish singer Nathy Peluso brought her alternative music to the stage as well. Hopefully, Coachella maintains this energy and continues to include more Latin acts on the lineup for future events.