With the Super Bowl in the books now, and the winners and losers have gone home, and the media has covered just about every aspect of the game, there are some other areas of the Super Bowl still left to comment on. That’s right, the commercials and half time performance. These two elements of the Super Bowl have almost become bigger than the game itself for many viewers, even those that don’t follow football or know the two teams playing watch the game just for these two events alone. So in keeping with the game review in mind, it’s only fair to critique the half time performance. This year it was the beautiful Beyonce who had the honor of performing.
For those hoping that the review would be a positive one, much apologies. For with all the glitz and glamour brought on stage with Beyonce, the performance was more or less uneventful. In all actuality the performance was more of a dance performance than anything. She hardly sang any of her songs, just a sentence or two of most of them. Most of the time words came out of her mouth; they were only to pump up the crowd. She said more "are you ready’s" and "here we go’s" than anything. And when she did attempt to sing, she was out of breath from all the dance routines that she manufactured. It was a great light and special effects show, and she briefly brought out her former singing partners to add to the drama, but in the end it was really nothing special.
The thing is, the half time show is an event, an event that showcases the talents of the performers. Most of the time, which is to say every time prior to Beyonce, the performers sing. They typically sing their hit tunes and sometimes throw in a new song on their upcoming album. Never has the dance portion of the event superceded the singing portion of the event. And every other time a headlining performer of the Super Bowl has included other famous acts, they are not former bandmates or former parts of their original singing group.
Take Madonna’s performance from last years Super Bowl, sure she had a dance routine, but it was toned down to accommodate her vocal performance. And Madonna actually sang larger portions of her songs, rather than just a few bars here and there. On top of that, she had a slew of big name performers take the stage with her. The band LMFAO injected their top hit into the performance as well as a goofy tight rope act. Niki Minaj performed with Madonna during the show and even C-Low brought a marching band with him. The whole event can be considered a grand show, it had everything the Super Bowl half time show is supposed to have now a days.
And what of The Black Eyed Peas performance in 2011? They took a lot of criticism following that performance in regards to their vocals and how bad they sounded. Well sure, live performances are going to sound different than a studio track. It just proves that they actually sing during their performances and don’t lip sync. The element of the Black Eyed Peas performance that really stands out is how so many of their hit songs are intended to get a rise out of the listener. Perfect for a football game, they sing about the great night they are embarking on, the feeling of intensity within them, the throw your hands in the air, the pump it up, it’s what football fans feel when they watch a game. If that wasn’t good enough, they brought onstage Slash to perform a sick rendition of Sweet Child O Mine with Fergie. The opening guitar riff of that song brings football fans to their feet, it gives them chills and makes the hairs on the back of their neck stand up. It’s a perfect song for the moment. Oh and the dance routine featured in the 2011 Super Bowl, that was only performed by Usher, the poster boy for dancer singers in music today.
While most die-hard red-blooded football fans would rather not see a hip-hop performance at the Super Bowl, and would choose to see a rock and roll performance more than anything. The ratings department of television entertainment probably will see to it that the non-football masses are entertained too. They already have the football fans watching the game locked up in the ratings, they will probably continue to focus their attention on the others that have to sit through the actual football contest in between commercials.
And though the performances of the last three years have been an extravaganza of lights and lasers and dancing, the powers that be have changed their focus a bit. From 2005 to 2010 their focus was apparently on the generation that would rather see performers that were stars in the 1970’s. From Paul McCartney to The Who, it was a wrinkled laundry list of aging rock stars belting out tunes that can only be heard on the oldies radio station. Great music no doubt, pioneering music, but do we really need an ex Beatle singing hits from four decades ago? The answer to that is no, football is a relevant game played in relevant times, those performers should be left for Hall of Fame induction’s, not the Super Bowl. Hopefully next year the performer will dazzle the football viewing nation with vocal talent rather than just dancing. If not, we might as well start signing juggling acts and magic shows to stun the masses.
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