Karol G Salutes Latin Icons Selena Quintanilla, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, More During Electrifying Coachella Set

The Colombian star also brought out Becky G for a performance of "Mamiii."

Karol G performs at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Karol G’s “Bichotella” set at Coachella on Sunday night put the young Latin star’s magnetism on display in an electrifying, arena-level performance.

“Next stop — Coachella!” could be heard as the reggaeton and Latin trap singer made her entrance onto the barrio-themed stage, emblazoned with the words “Tusa” and “Bichotella.” Blue wigs flooded the rows of enraptured fans that watched Karol serve every line through a smile that stayed throughout the entirety of her hour-long set.

Dressed in an all-denim bodysuit (a Coachella trend, as embraced by Megan Thee Stallion the night prior) and sporting diamond hoop earrings, Karol G was joined by more than a dozen dancers who worked the stage theatrically throughout the performance, but setting the pace as the singer kicked off with “El Makinon.”

In true “Bichota” fashion, Karol stopped mid-show to take a shot with her audience saying, “Hoy es día de brindar, porque los sueños se cumplen, porque estoy aqui compartiendo con ustedes, y lo mas importante nos vamos a tomar [el shot] por el amor.”

In English: “Today is the day to toast, because dreams come true, because I am here sharing this with you, and most importantly, we are going to take [the shot] for love,” she said before the corrido-styled prickly guitar riff of “200 Copas” segued to the next number.

Karol brought out two special guests: Dutch DJ and producer, Tiesto, who joined her on the Coachella stage for a performance of their bilingual dance track, “Don’t Be Shy,” and later, Becky G appeared for a surprise performance of their female empowerment anthem, “Mamiii.” With Karol at the foot of a massive staircase and Becky at the top, the two met for a steamy dance and finished their song with Karol dipping out early for her next outfit change.

Saluting those who paved the way for Latin artists in mainstream pop, a visual popped up on the massive screens offering a musical timeline of influential hit songs, starting with the year 1953 and Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba,” followed by Santana’s 1970s classic “Oye Como Va” and Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine’s 1980s smash “La Conga.”

Reappearing in a yellow, blue and red two-piece — in homage to her home country of Colombia — Karol boasted, “Tonight I feel so happy and so proud to represent my country and my Latina community around the world. 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.”

As the screens behind her flashed legendary scenes of Tejano music star, Selena Quintanilla (whose 50th birthday was on April 16) — Karol continued her tribute with a cover of “Como La Flor.”

She then followed with Ricky Martin’s “María,” “La Macarena” by Los Dos Rio, Celia Cruz’s “La Vida Es Un Carnaval,” and Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” — making this the second time “Gasolina” has been honored by a Latin tribute at Coachella, the first being J. Balvin’s breakthrough 2019 Coachella set.

She also paid tribute to Shakira’s global hit “Hips Don’t Lie” with her dancers appearing in the white airy outfits Shakira’s dancers regularly wore during her performances of “Cumbia De Colombia!” Karol ended the medley with Luis Fonsi’s cultural shape-shifter, “Despacito” and J Balvin and Willy Williams’ “Mi Gente.”

Leaving Latin America and Colombia at an all-time high, Karol’s genre-blurring Coachella set closed with the Nicki Minaj-featured track “Tusa” — which she finished atop the platform, letting out a triumphant laugh.