Jennifer Lopez offered an emotional tribute to Selena Quintanilla at the Billboard Latin Music Awards, 20 years after the Tejano pop star’s tragic death. Alongside the Quintanilla family band, Los Dinos, the singer and actress who became a star herself for portraying Selena on film sang and danced her way through a bilingual medley of Nineties hits.
While starring in 1997’s Selena, Lopez did not record any covers of the film subject’s songs. Instead, Quintanilla’s actual recordings were used while the actress lip-synced to the tracks. Since then, however, Lopez has covered Selena live numerous times, especially since finding success with her own music career in the wake of the film’s achievements.
Selena, who put Tejano music on the American map, continues to be a force in the genre and in Latin pop, gaining new fans in the two decades after her death. Six posthumous Selena releases have gone to No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart since her death, the most recent in 2012.
The much anticipated tribute was always going to be emotionally charged and nostalgic (Lopez got her big break portraying the Tejano singer in the 1997 biopic of her life, Selena, which told the story of the singer’s tragic murder in 1995). But audience heartstrings were pulled almost as soon as the performance began, as footage of Selena was beamed on stage, while Lopez performed one of her biggest hits