Like every first Sunday evening in February, most Americans were glued to their television two nights ago, transfixed on the most-watched event of the year: The Super Bowl. But what is normally a guaranteed night of non-stop entertainment, was quickly turned into a 4 hour snooze-fest after the Denver Broncos simply decided to sit this one out. An odd choice in games to not show up for given that it is, ya know, the Super Bowl, but everyone needs a break once and again I guess. So what could make TV’s biggest night even worse? The backup entertainment options, those being the commercials and the infamous Super Bowl halftime show, offered up almost zero entertainment value as well (aside from a surprisingly hilarious effort from Jimmy John’s and an incredible two part comeback performance featuring Stephen Colbert from the Pistachio company, after the horrendous attempt of comedic relevancy with the “Cracking Gangnam Style” disaster of of 2013). When it is all said and done however, I guess the least surprising of the three disasppointments was in fact the halftime show. I suppose that is what you get for booking whom fellow LxL’er Wes, has deemed “the modern day Frankie Valli” (Bruno Mars) with a band that hasn’t actually been relevant for almost eight years (Red Hot Chili Peppers).
You may be saying, “Wait a tick! Bruno is a modern pop icon!” Ok. Yeah. He garners sales in a the staggering market of purchased music. But, do you know who still purchases music? More specifically, do you know who buys Bruno Mars’ music? To Wes’ point, about the same crowd that purchased Frankie Valli’s overly poppy, overly high-pitched, and lyrically stunted music back in the early 60’s. Teen girls and old, horny, menopausal women. And do you know who watches the football part of the Super Bowl? Actually watches it? EVERY. OTHER. DEMOGRAPHIC.
Then they try to parade out a Frusciante-less Red Hot Chili Peppers to play a hit single from 1991. Which was confusing. Is this supposed to appeal to a “less hip” music crowd? Is this supposed to make the event seem more edgy? Maybe appeal to some of the non-Bruno fans out there? It was probably designed to do all three of these things, but in reality did none. It simply showed us how out of touch the NFL truly is.
Then I thought: Bruno’s performance seemed technically fine. The NFL sure as hell was probably pleased anyway. He seemed to pull off that cheesy, throwback style well. There was no nip slips, penis-shaped guitars, or middle fingers flipped into the camera. The overall production of the show was visually pleasing. And, he set a record for the supposed number of views for the halftime show. So all-in-all it was a good day for the Super Bowl’s halftime team. So maybe I am the one out of touch.
I mean what would happen if they booked someone that was purely “critically acclaimed” instead of “commercially successful”? And what the hell is “critically acclaimed” mean in this day and age anyways. Any idiot can start up a blog and ramble on about how they think they know everything about music, and the “truly acclaimed” critics from Rolling Stone to Pitchfork are all the same, just with a larger soapbox to stand on. Opinions are totally subjective. So say someone like Radiohead was booked. For my money, they are probably the biggest crossover that I can think of, of a currently relevant commercially and critically successful band. This excludes the already worn out list of classic old timers like Sir Paul and the barely-still-Rolling Stones. What would happen is that a lot of people would be pissed. The ratings would be awful, and demographics like the teenage girls and horny moms, would no longer have a reason to watch the Super Bowl. Not to mention all those Chili Pepper lifers out there.
So in summation, I thought this year’s Super Bowl halftime show sucked (and I’m in the lifer column for “fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers”). Watching Bruno is about the same thing as watching an old retired musician that has given up and moved to Vegas. But ya know, before they give up and move to Vegas. And even though I still love some classic Chili’s, that was about the equivalent of watching one of the old timer halftime shows. But try telling that to every one of the 115 million viewers that set the record for most watched halftime show ever. Which, that number is about as hard to wrap my head around as the ridiculous number of Michael Bay ticket sales if you ask me. I guess maybe the NFL may be a bit more in touch than I thought. In touch with knowing how to rake in money anyways.