Will Smith Joins J. Balvin at Coachella for ‘Men in Black’ Performance

Will Smith made a surprise appearance onstage with J Balvin on Sunday night, dressed in his full “Men in Black” suit and sunglasses and performing the title track of the 1997 film. The appearance was brief but memorable, capping a UFO-themed set and concluding with Balvin being dragged off by black-suit-clad dancers as Smith pulled out a “Neuralyzer,” the famous memory-eraser device from the film.

Balvin returned for another song, however, and rocked energetically through a rousing version of his hit “In Da Ghetto” with his troupe of dancers, who were clad in comically stereotypical alien costumes, green with big black eyes.

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Balvin’s concerts are always heavily thematic, and the interstellar theme was present throughout. It opened with a mock-1950s newsreel about an alien invasion (in English, with Spanish subtitles), eventually revealing that the alien was… Balvin, who then arose on a platform from beneath the stage, underneath a giant mock-UFO that looked like a cross between the evil spaceship in the film “Nope,” a pointer from a Ouija board and a cushioned toilet seat. His troupe of ace dancers soon joined him onstage, appearing in a series of alien-like costumes and working otherworldly moves as Balvin, clad first in a spacesuit-like outfit and later in a full silver glitter suit (and with a shiny grill he flashed often) soared through his hits, opening with the 2018 global smash “Mi Gente” and following with many others; he spoke to the audience mostly in Spanish but often followed in English, and his songs contained snippets of famililar hits like Usher’s “Yeah!” and Cardi B’s “I Like It.”

The stage was huge but spare, lit with whites and greys at first, but gradually introduced more color and interstellar visuals, and by the end featured glorious galaxies and stars and wild lighting treatments.

Balvin is no stranger to Coachella — in fact, his eye-popping 2019 set largely kicked off the large presence of Latin music at the festival, with a visually explosive, career-spanning set that included not only his global smash “Mi Gente” but guest spots from Rosalia and Sean Paul, as well as a tribute medley to reggaeton “OGs” with covers of songs like N.O.R.E. and Daddy Yankee’s 2006 hit “Oye Mi Canto” and Yankee’s 2004 smash “Gasolina.” Balvin also paid tribute to Nicky Jam’s “X” and Prince Royce’s “Sensualidad,” and covered of Cardi B’s “I Like It.” While Cardi and fellow featured artist Bad Bunny did not join him onstage, Balvin was accompanied by something that was arguably even more entertaining: dancers wearing hilarious giant caricature heads of the two figures, Cardi’s complete with an extended tongue; Balvin danced with her for part of the song.

That year also featured performances from Bad Bunny, Rosalía, Chilean singer Mon Laferte, regional Mexican titans Tucanes de Tijuana — at the end of his set, Balvin said how proud he was to hear so much Spanish being spoken on Coachella stages, although it’s certainly become a familiar sound in the years since.

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