Pitbull and Flo Rida Kick Off Super Bowl Weekend With Style and Swagger

Alex Rawls
Rolling Stone

Pitbull's sophisticated swagger synced perfectly with the Crescent City on Friday night. Super Bowl weekend has turned New Orleans into a high rollers' playground, with performances by Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Nelly, Train and Ice Cube, who performed last night with the Rebirth Brass Band. And while Justin Timberlake might bring sexy back on Saturday night, at Rolling Stone's party at the Bud Light Hotel on Friday, Pitbull made a tent full of women in party dresses and men in good shoes feel very sexy too.

Pitbull treated the night like it was his own party, and his party attracted stars that ranged from Sir Paul McCartney to Sofia Vergara to Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews to the Food Network's Guy Fieri. He greeted each song with his arms spread wide and hips thrust forward, punching the beat, and he finished each piece with a pleased, toothy grin. "New Orleans, do you like how it feels?" he asked the packed event space erected just for the Super Bowl, but he already knew the answer from their enthusiasm before he launched into his version of "I Like How It Feels." During the Enrique Iglesias-sung hooks on tape, he served as hype man, seemingly feeling and loving every beat of his Latin-tinged Eurodisco. He introduced "Bon Bon" as "an old style merengue," but like everything he touched Friday night, the drums thumped a surging 4/4 beat. Those close to the stage bounced in time while the women (primarily) who could find open space paired off to dance.

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"I have one question," Flo Rida announced during his opening set. "Can we let the good times roll?" With that, he launched into "Let It Roll," part of the deep catalog of hits that dominated an hour-long set that often brought him and his fans together. Early in the evening, he filled the stage with dancing women out of the crowd for "Turn Around," and Rida spent parts of the last few songs shirtless moving in and out of the audience.

The Grammy nominee worked for the crowd's love harder than he had to. People were with him and dancing from the first notes of "In the Ayer," but that didn't stop him from breaking a sweat long before he shed the baby blue Rolling Stone T-shirt and gold chain he wore to the stage.