Shakira’s musical trajectory is immaculate. Since the 1990s, she’s continuously left her mark in the Latine industry, becoming an unmatched — and sometimes even controversial — example of the crossover between the Latine and U.S. music industry. That latest testament? Not only is she nominated for multiple awards, the Colombian star is receiving the Video Vanguard Award at this year’s 2023 MTV VMAs (Video Music Awards). The VMAs will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on Sep. 12. It will air live on the network.
But how do you wrap up more than three decades of hits in an estimated seven-minute medley compilation? The hitmaker is seemingly also having trouble deciding. Last week (Sep. 8), she wrote on a social media post, “POV when you’re trying to cram an entire career into one #VMAs Vanguard performance,” with a video of her pensively holding her head. At the same time, social media users online are also discussing setlist possibilities, hoping for special guests that have collaborated with this queen, like Karol G, Beyoncé, or Rihanna.
And that’s because she has a string of hits to choose from. Not only has the Barranquilla-born artist stayed on top of her game with hits like “Whenever, Wherever,” which reached No. 1 in June 2006 (and ruled for two consecutive weeks), but she continues to prove her artistic abilities to this day. She recently earned her first-ever top 10 debut with “BZRP Music Sessions #53” in the Billboard Hot 100. Moreover, she also became the first to hold three Billboard’s Latin Pop Airplay chart spots in a single week (July 29) this year. This was thanks to her tracks “TQG” with Karol G, “Acróstico,” and “Copa Vacía” with Manuel Turizo.
Now, she’s continuing to celebrate her milestones, crossing yet another accolade from a pop star’s bucket list (past historical recipients have been The Beatles, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and Beyoncé). To anticipate what’s bound to be a stellar, nostalgic, and exciting performance on Tuesday (Sep. 12), here are six tracks that we’re crossing our fingers the musical chameleon will perform on stage.
“Estoy Aquí” (1995)
Pies Descalzos’ “Estoy Aquí” is one of the first songs that put Shakira on the Latine map — and we’re hoping she opens her medley with it. Just imagine her appearing on stage, with only a guitar and a spotlight, embodying the alternative Latina artist she was known as in the ‘90s. “Shakira is going to give us the best performance of her life. This clearly reminds us of her ‘Live Off The Record” show performing “Estoy aquí,” a social media user wrote, comparing a recent photo Shakira posted with a clip from her “Live & Off the Record” performance. What can we say? The anticipation is real.
“Beautiful Liar” With Beyoncé (2007)
OK, we get it. Beyoncé is booked and busy with her stunning Renaissance World Tour. But she’s not performing on Sep. 12 — Yes, we checked her tour dates. How iconic would it be for the two singers to link up for a quick performance of “Beautiful Liar?” Though it may be far-fetched, Queen Bey recently performed the collaboration for the first time in 15 years. During her viral surprise performance in Dubai (Jan. 21), the emblematic singer performed the 2007 hit. And get this: they’ve never performed the collaboration live together. Moreover, Beyoncé is also nominated for Artist of the Year, so she could be present. How epic would it be if they performed the jam on the VMA stage? If not, we’ll settle for her presenting the award to Shak.
"Las de la Intuición” (2005)
Who doesn’t remember Shakira’s purple wig and all-black corset outfit? Fijación Oral, Vol. 1’s “Las de la Intuición” not only gave us a go-to Halloween outfit, but it also gifted us a certified pop anthem. With lyrics like, “Tengo el presentimiento de que empieza la acción / (Adentro, adentro te vas quedando) / Y las mujeres somos las de la intuición / (Así, estoy dispuesta a todo, amor),” Shakira also created a hit that makes people feel sexy and empowered while at it. We can imagine her performing this song with background dancers wearing the same purple wig and outfit while busting the video’s memorable robotic moves — a total flashback to the mid-2000s.
“Whenever, Wherever” (2001)
Laundry Service’s “Whenever, Wherever” was the song that saw her incursion into the Anglo market, and it was a certified hit. Besides memorable and unserious lyrics like, “Lucky that my lips not only mumble / They spill kisses like a fountain. Lucky that my breasts are small and humble / So you don’t confuse ’em with mountains,” the song left its mark by being Shakira’s first-ever English release. The lead track was also released in Spanish as “Suerte.” Notably, the English track was co-written by Gloria Estefan, who is credited with majorly helping Shakira’s crossover market success with Emilio Estefan. So, if Beyoncé isn’t available, we hope the Estefans can deliver the prestigious award instead.
“She Wolf” (2009)
“S.O.S, she’s in disguise.” We can totally see Shakira in a cage, dancing her iconic “She Wolf” moves — and we’re not the only ones either. Some eagle-eyed social media users are also anticipating the same performance. A social media user wrote: “Omg, she has never done these moves from the ‘She Wolf’ video in a live performance before 😭 Imagine if she enters the stage inside a cage recreating the video.” Though this is all speculation via the images Shak posted, we can tell she’s preparing us a medley to remember. Moreover, “She Wolf” was the hit that opened the Super Bowl LIV halftime show, making it clear it’s one of the most recognized hits from her repertoire.
“TQG” With Karol G (2023)
Not only is this collaboration nominated for Best Latin and Best Collaboration, but there are two opportunities for Shakira and Karol G fans to see a “TQG” performance at the VMAs this year. Both Colombian stars will be present this year and are confirmed to perform on the same stage. Whether it’s during Shakira’s medley or during Karol’s presentation, we’re hoping to see some “TQG” action happen for the first time ever. Furthermore, this collaboration was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated tracks this year. The anticipation showed when the track debuted as No. 1 on both the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts (from March 11), per Billboard. Point blank: We hope to see Shakira close her hit musical selections with this kiss-off joint track.