Champions League final: Camilla Cabello couldn't Superbowlify the beautiful game for a good reason – Laura Waddell

As I continue dipping a toe into football fandom, something I’ve especially enjoyed is learning about team culture.

Fans look on as Camila Cabello performs in the pre-match show ahead of the Uefa Champions League final (Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images)
Fans look on as Camila Cabello performs in the pre-match show ahead of the Uefa Champions League final (Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images)

The offside rule still bores me, but I’m starting to see the elegance of the game. I don’t have a favourite team, although I’m eyeing Glasgow Women FC and Partick Thistle as contenders.

But when I do tune into the odd football game, what really fascinates me are the cultural tidbits, quirks and lore behind the teams and fans, through which is preserved a huge wealth of community stories and local history.

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At the weekend, I watched the Uefa Champion’s League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid. Pop star Camilla Cabello did a turn before kick-off.

Singing her recent hits with twirling dancers in summer bright colours, there was nothing wrong with Cabello’s performance, but the impact was underwhelming.

The broadcast struggled to pick a camera view, and it surely didn’t help that the match was delayed already by half an hour, with reports of tear gas outside and the dread of unspecified ‘security concerns’.

The singer has since tweeted her disappointment: “Playing back our performance and I can’t believe people were singing their team's anthem so loud before our performance. Like my team and I worked tirelessly for so long to being right vibes and give a good show.” A since-deleted follow-up read: “Very rude but whatever.”

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But neither fans nor the singer are to blame for what was a bad fit. The half-hearted attempt to Superbowlify the league made the performance lacklustre in comparison.

Cabello’s set could have been performed for any major event, of any kind, anywhere in the world. At the Superbowl, a quintessentially American event, at least the big budget halftime shows showcase America’s pop culture in a way that fits in easily with their flashiest sporting occasion and biggest televised event. It feels like everyone is at the same party.

But Cabello’s performance on Saturday night had no relation to either team playing, nor the host country. It felt oddly detached from the proceedings.

Viewers might wonder for a moment if they had accidentally flicked to the wrong channel. While waiting for the nerve-wrackingly delayed final to begin, I’m not surprised fans started singing their own words, trying to bring a bit of meaning back to the proceedings.



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