Music and soccer typically inspire passion in Brazil, so the bubbling controversy over the official 2014 FIFA World Cup song We Are One isn't surprising.
Since its debut earlier this spring, the track by Cuban-American rapper Pitbull and U.S. performer Jennifer Lopez (who is of Puerto Rican heritage) — featuring a contribution from Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte — has earned criticism.
Today, FIFA officials announced that Lopez, who was to have performed the tune with Pitbull and Leitte in Sao Paolo at the opening ceremonies on Thursday, has withdrawn due to unspecified "production issues."
For weeks, people have expressed outrage for various reasons: that officials chose a mostly Spanish and English-language song when a Portuguese-speaking nation is hosting. They've made jabs about the track highlighting (for the most part) two foreign artists and they've complained that the song sounds generic.
Music-loving soccer fans are quite worked up over the issue, according to Tamir Bar-On, author of The World Through Soccer: The Cultural Impact of a Global Sport.
"Leitte just sings at the end of the song for a few seconds, and most of the song is actually in English and in Spanish," Bar-On told CBC News.
Meanwhile others in the nation — famed for the samba, bossa nova and other distinctive musical styles — feel the song is simply too boring.
"They feel that it's, on the whole, culturally very insensitive."
Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto, currently in Toronto for the Luminato arts and culture festival, noted that "politically, there's a lot going on there."
Though she has one song included on the official World Cup album, she said she didn't want to be involved in the arguments. Instead, she said, she wanted soccer fans to focus on the excitement that's electrifying her country.
"Brazil is really thrilled to get everyone and to show Brazil to the rest of the world and to accommodate everyone," she said.
In the video above, Deana Sumanac reports on the controversy over We Are One.