Pride

Lip Sync Herstory: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull's 'On the Floor'

Jennifer Lopez Pitbull On The Floor
Courtesy Photo

Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull, "On The Floor"

After a long and eventful season filled with dazzling highs and crushing lows, we’re finally in the home stretch of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12. On the May 15 episode, the final five queens duked it out to secure their spot in the top 4 by putting on a show-stopping Las Vegas singing and dancing spectacle in honor of RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!

In one of the stiffest competitions to date, Gigi Goode, Jaida Essence Hall, and Sherry Pie advanced to the grand finale, while Crystal Methyd and Jackie Cox found themselves in the bottom and having to fight for the last remaining spot. After a close lip-sync battle to Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull’s 2011 hit “On the Floor,” fan favorite Crystal Methyd claimed her spot in the finals, while Jackie Cox sashayed away. 

With less than two weeks to go until season 12’s unprecedented virtual finale, it’s still anyone’s game at this point, and each of the final three queens are sure to make a strong case for why they should be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar. Be sure to use the corresponding hashtags for your pick to win: #TeamJaida, #TeamCrystal, or #TeamGigi.

Given RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!’s (pre-pandemic) dominance of the Las Vegas Strip, it was a fitting choice to honor an icon who has her own legacy in Vegas with a lip sync to one of her most successful songs. Read up on a few fun facts you might’ve not known about J. Lo's “On the Floor.”

The chorus is built on a sample from a 1988 Brazilian hit, which  sampled another popular song. 

Jackie Cox acknowledged the instrumentation in “On the Floor” in the first seconds of her final lip sync, gesturing as if she were playing an accordion and getting a chuckle out of Ross Mathews in the process. This is the basis of “On the Floor's” melody, and it comes from French-Brazilian pop group Kaoma’s 1988 song “Lambada,” a global hit that went on to top Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart in March of 1990 and sold more than 5 million copies worldwide.

At the time, “Lambada” was just one of more than a dozen covers released throughout the ’80s of “Llorando se fue,” a popular 1981 tune by Bolivian folk band Los Kjarkas. Besides J. Lo, other contemporary Latin artists such as Don Omar and Wisin & Yandel have interpolated parts of “Llorando se fue” and “Lambada” in their own music.  

The sample in “On the Floor” led “Lambada” to re-emerge on the Billboard charts more than two decades after its release. 

“On the Floor” went on reach the No. 3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 2011 (along with dozens of top 5 chart appearances around the world). As a result, “Lambada” reappeared on the Billboard charts more than 20 years after its global domination. It made its debut on the World Digital Songs chart at No. 3 in March of that year, just a few weeks after “On the Floor” came out. 

J. Lo saw it as an opportunity to show how she’s reinvented herself more than a decade into her career. 

Because of the fast-moving nature of the music world, many artists find themselves having to adapt to the current landscape and show audiences that they can do so while still maintaining what made people love them in the first place. In the early 2010s, as electronic music began to grow in popularity, heavy production played a bigger part in songs’ success, and  high-energy choruses that invite listeners to dance became all the rage.

In a radio interview with New York’s WKTU, Lopez explained that with “On the Floor,” she wanted to show that she can easily take on whatever sound is popular at the moment and make it her own. "It feels like me today, which I like,” she said at the time. “It's not something that you hear and you're like, 'That's not her,' but you also go, 'Is that her? I like that. It's new,' and that's what I wanted. I wanted it to be very me, but I wanted it to be me not from my first album or my second album, but for today." 

Many drew comparisons between “On the Floor” and another party song by another Latin artist. 

Not long after the song’s release, the New York Daily News was quick to note the similarities between “On the Floor” and Kat DeLuna’s 2010 single “Party O’Clock." Both choruses shout out different parts of the world, and both music videos contain similar elements.

Additionally, rumors swirled about J. Lo taking a song from DeLuna for her own album a few years prior when they belonged to the same label. DeLuna acknowledged in a 2016 interview with HOT 97 that it was nothing more than the media creating something out of nothing, especially given her respect for Lopez as a pioneer for Latinas in music. “Our personalities were like, ‘Meh,’” she said of the alleged beef between them. “It’s all love.”

Her first live performance of the song was considered a safety hazard. 

At the time of the song’s release, Lopez sat on the American Idol judging panel alongside Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler. As such, she premiered the music video for “On the Floor” on the show, as well as performed the song live with Pitbull for the first time. Part of her performance involved breaking her backup dancers out of glass boxes. Because of concern over shards of glass flying into the audience, the performance ended up being pre-taped rather than live.