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World Cup Kicks off With John Legend, Shakira and Alicia Keys

John LegendLast night, the World Cup 2010 officially got underway in Orlando Stadium, in Soweto, South Africa. And although no teams took the field, and no goals were scored, the international festivities got off to an explosive start, with a three-hour concert featuring some of the biggest names in music.

As MTV reports, the roster of performers featured a mix of both global and local stars, with artists like John Legend, Alicia Keys and the Black Eyed Peas sharing the stage with local African acts, like the Soweto Gospel Choir, The Parlotones, Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masekela and Somalian-born K'Naan.

Before a crowd of 30,000 drum-playing and fan-waving fans, Shakira brought the house down with her performance of the official tournament song, 'Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),' and hip-hop artist K'Naan entertained with his World Cup anthem 'Wavin' Flag.'

Alicia Keys also took the stage, after recently announcing to the world that she's pregnant with her first child, performing her Grammy Award-winning, 2003-released single 'You Don't Know My Name,' 'Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart,' her signature song 'Fallin'' and the contemporary New York Anthem 'Empire State of Mind.' The Black Eyed Peas performed a series of their international hits, such as 'Where Is the Love?,' 'Pump It,' 'Boom Boom Pow' and their party anthem 'I Gotta Feeling,' followed by the blind Malia duo Amadou and Mariam. Legend also entertained the audience with several songs, notably his version of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' 'Wake Up Everybody' featuring back-up vocals by the Soweto Gospel Choir, followed by 'Are you ready to go?' and 'Green Light.'

The month-long event is being held on the continent of Africa for the first time ever, and, as the Mirror reports, it's also the first time that any World Cup has opened with a ceremony this grandiose. And apparently, the concert was so stirring, it even moved performer John Legend, who's gone on record as saying he's not an especially rabid fan of soccer. The singer, who also performed Curtis Mayfield's 'Move On Up,' with Angelique Kidjo of Benin, told the AP that there are significant parallels between music and soccer, claiming, "Music is a universal language. This competition, football, is a universal language." Shortly after the concert wrapped up, Legend flocked to his Twitter account, where he wrote, "I love you South Africa. Thanks for a wonderful welcome. I had a great time on stage tonight."

For most of us who missed it, most of the concert will be broadcast on ABC tonight, Friday, June 11, at 8:00PM ET.

Filed under: Soundboard, Pop

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