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Bieber sang “bababa” over the Spanish verses for the track (which he’s featured on with Fonsi and Daddy Yankee) in front of an audience last week, and cell phone videos were taken, but this week Fonsi spoke out to say there are no hard feelings.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, he explained, “That chorus is not easy to sing, even for fluent Spanish singers like myself. It’s got a lot of lyrics, it’s kind of tongue-twisty.”
Fonsi went on to describe how Bieber got featured on the track in the first place. Apparently when the Canadian pop star was performing in South America he heard “Despacito” play in a club and reached out to ask if he could add a verse.
“He saw how people reacted, and right away he was like, ‘I want to be part of this movement’ …It’s big for Latin music that a global star like Justin Bieber takes the time to do the song, to do it in Spanish,” Fonsi said. “I’ve done songs in other languages, I know how hard it is.”
Looks like friendship wins on this one. And with a hit track that has already topped Billboard’s Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks — the first (mostly) Spanish-language song to hit No. 1 since the “Macarena” in 1996 — it makes sense that Fonsi might be willing to cut Bieber some slack.
Something tells us Bieber will perform things a little differently next time, though.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.