Super Bowl XLV is in the books and regardless of how you feel about the winner (or loser), everyone always seems to want to chat about the commercials and entertainment that goes hand in hand with the NFL’s big day. My Twitter feed and Facebook wall were buzzing with everyone chiming in with their observations, criticisms, witticisms and comments. So, in keeping with the rest of the armchair quarterbacks out there, here are some of mine.
The Super Bowl pre-game show is interminably long (and now sponsored by Ritz Crackers) and they have added a red carpet component. Ugh. It’s just silly and made watchable, but only barely, by the always perky Maria Menounos. Then they made Michael Strahan interview three actors that most people couldn’t pick out of a police lineup. All good actors for sure, but it made an already low-rent idea seem even more so. I won’t bother to recap all the other red carpet ‘interviews’ but everyone seemed like they were sleepwalking.
The first musical act was country superstar Keith Urban. I mean, what says NFL football better than an Australian country singer? I don’t know who was mixing his sound for TV but it sounded sort of thin. But Keith is an insanely talented songwriter and guitar player and his performance was fine.
Next up was Maroon 5. My feelings on this band change every few months. I’m still not a fan of frontman Adam Levine’s nasally falsetto but they are a solid band and certainly write some catchy songs. This performance, however, suffered from poor sound (again). If you want to see this band shine, check out some of their online clips of their appearance on CMT’s “Crossroads” where they performed with Sara Evans. It’s worth the YouTube search.
I know it’s not music related, but I thought the segment on the Declaration of Independence was very well done. Kudos to the NFL for including it.
Lea Michelle was up next with her rendition of “America The Beautiful.” Keeping an open mind and forgetting my allegiance to the show Glee, I thought she totally nailed this performance and sounded amazing. Her Broadway credentials served her well and she gets extra points for singing live.
This was followed by Pittsburgh native Christina Aguilera and the Star Spangled Banner. Where to begin? I’m no beauty queen but I thought she looked very odd. The whole pale white skin with red lipstick thing sort of threw me. Maybe I shouldn’t have been watching in high definition. And by now everyone knows that she flubbed the lyrics. I mean, seriously, who could expect her to have learned the lyrics to a song that was made the national anthem in 1931? She has since said that she was ‘caught up in the moment’ but I say she was too busy trying to put her stamp on the song with her vocal runs and trying to impress everyone with her range. I have seen her perform live and her voice is amazing but after a poorly received record, subsequent tour cancellation and film that flopped, this may have been the final nail in her career. She needs a makeover in more ways than one.
After a first half of some great football, it was time for the halftime show. Asking the NFL to be current and edgy is like trying to have a conversation with your grandmother about Eminem. It’s just not going to happen. But surely they could have done better than the Black Eyed Peas. I have seen this band perform live and worked with them during the Democratic National convention in Boston. They are great people and pretty talented. But I am still scratching my head with what I watched on television on Sunday.
First of all, there isn’t enough cash that would make me agree to be lowered from the roof of Cowboys Stadium on a rope. Just saying.
So down they come and we’re off. They’re dressed in these weird futuristic S&M outfits and then the songs starts. The real victim here is Fergie who can actually sing. Her mic seemed like it was off at first and the others just seemed like they were yelling. This didn’t work on so many levels. I would have loved to be in the meeting where they planned this. “Ok, you guys will drop from the ceiling, people in glow suits will be making arrows and various other shapes on the field.” Um, what?
Then Slash come up through the floor. Did I fall asleep and wake up in 1991? How does this fit in? Sure, he’s a great musician but what the hell was he doing there? And here comes Fergie again, singing the iconic “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” I’m speechless. And not in a good way. I bet Slash couldn’t get out there fast enough. I hope the paycheck was big.
This performance already feels interminably long and it just started.
I find it ironic that the best part of the Black Eyed Peas’ performance was an appearance by Usher, who also came down from the ceiling(?!?). So Usher Raymond and his Solid Gold dancers (Google it) did fine, looking like the anti-Peas since they were all dressed in white. So now I’m thinking that it’s done. But nope, not yet. They launched into their earliest single “Where Is The Love.” More screeching vocals, more goofy glow stick people on the field. Ok, so now we’re done. Wait, what? There’s more?
Now it’s time to turn on the auto-tune and have people with boxes on their heads jump onstage. I don’t do drugs but I think I must have taken some LSD. What the hell is going on?
And then, mercifully, it’s over. Nearly 15 minutes of my life gone forever. What a mess.
The NFL spends all this time being all American and talking about being America’s game, etc. They even had a piece on the Founding Fathers. So why not focus on having some good ol’ American rock bands play during halftime. Not a bunch of mashups, mixes and ‘surprise’ guests. Years past have featured Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Aerosmith in addition to non-American bands like U2 and The Rolling Stones. We created rock n’ roll and the NFL should start embracing it. Who cares if the band isn’t super famous or a ‘household’ name yet? I would rather have bands like Kings of Leon, The Strokes or Kid Rock be featured rather than a band on the downswing of their career show up for a large paycheck.