It would seem after the now legendary 2004 Janet Jackson Superbowl halftime show where the performer accidentally flashed everyone for 2.2 seconds in a blink and you miss it moment, that in addition to banning MTV from planning the entertainment, those in charge also sought to punish viewers in the last few years with mediocre and boring performances from legendary, yet dated performers who lacked the energy required to carry such a show and all of which were forgettable.
This year the producers found a seemingly perfect solution, the super popular, non-controversial, all around likable, and family friendly Black Eyed Peas. This also marked the first time a woman was allowed to perform on stage since Ms.Jackson, because you know all women had to be punished for the accidental indecency of one. So how did this show fare with a relatable young pop band? It was a convoluted mess.
The show set Twitter ablaze. It was a spectacle from beginning to end. I will break down my review by song performed.
“I Gotta Feeling”
This song was the opener and from the beginning it was clear that the performance was going to be full of sound issues. BEP did sing live, which is commendable, but does nothing for a performance when the live singing and sound system is atrocious. They had broken vocals every few minutes. Visually the performance included a mass of dancers in all white jumping around to the beat with flashing lights on the stage, field, and the bodies of the dancers and members of BEP.
It was all very strange; the dancers seemed like an audience more than part of the performance. BEP is on stage in a line only moving when they change lead vocals but otherwise were very low energy.
“Boom Boom Pow”
The dancers are now lit up in a string of green lights on their white jump suits and they are in huddled masses that sometimes form arrows for no reason. This portion appealed to all the viewers who decided to drop acid before the game started, but no one else. The BEP is still on stage barely moving and performing the lyrics with low energy as if they are bored. Fergie is trying her hardest to prove she can sing and accentuating vocals to the point she is almost screaming or doing her best Christina Aguilera impression.
“Sweet Child of Mine”
This was the most confusing and unnecessary moment of the entire performance. The BEP transition into Sweet Child of Mine, Slash gets raised onto the stage and Fergie belts out a few lines of the song while the other members of BEP are standing around awkwardly. I have said this before, but Slash in the past few years seems to be a favorite guest performer and will play a guitar riff on stage with anyone for a paycheck.
Apparently, Fergie will be collaborating with him on his new album, so perhaps this was a marketing ploy to get the BEP fan base thinking about buying the future record. Fergie also decided to dance as if she was an avatar in Guitar Hero next to Slash for some reason. Perhaps there will soon be a BEP Guitar Hero edition, too?
“Pump It/Let’s Get it Started”
After standing around the guys of BEP seem to have a little more energy but once Fergie comes back into the shot, they resume their linear position on stage and kind of sway around to the beat. They also decided to bring out some marching band members for this number, so guys are randomly playing trumpets and dancing behind them in white hooded sweatshirts, which seemed more like a scene from the movie Drumline than appropriate for the crazy futuristic LED stage/Tron dancer mash-up that seemed to be the theme for the show.
Usher had no reason to be a surprise guest, he was unimpressive and out of place. This was clearly an attempt at shock, yet because of Usher’s multiple failed comebacks; he really has not been truly relevant since his 2004 “Confessions” album. The fact that he has two radio hits this year does not make him worthy of a Superbowl performance and his 30 seconds on stage could have been better utilized. Yes, Usher can dance he did great choreography including his cheerleader move where he was raised up by other dancers, but it was nothing new and out of place. Not impressed.
“Where is the Love?”
This was by far the worst portion of this performance. In terms of production, it was a horrible choice and badly placed after an upbeat song like OMG. Also the dancers in their lighted jumpsuits now glow red and form hearts all over the field and the word love. It was cheesy and contrived to say the least.
“Time of My Life/I Gotta Feeling”
The BEP should stop performing “Time of My Life” and release another single so that the world can forget about it. It is a horrible song that destroys a classic. At least they only did a few lines of the song before going back into “I Gotta Feeling” to end. The BEP brought out the box-headed theme from the music video and those dancers surround them on stage in the white jumpsuits again. The dancers on the field are all in symmetrical lines and here we have everyone, including BEP doing marching/skipping choreography all synchronized. This might have been the best part of the show and when the BEP finally started moving and exerting themselves. I suppose they wanted to save their energy for the end. They transitioned back into “I Gotta Feeling” and thankfully ended their performance
Although this performance in every definition of the word, sucked, I am happy to see risks being taken by allowing The Black Eyed Peas to perform. Hopefully in the years to come we will see better and more relevant artists perform the halftime show, more risks being taken, and more collaborative efforts like we used to when MTV produced the show. Either that or we will be doomed to never have good entertainment during the Superbowl ever again- one or the other.
What are your thoughts?