The Super Bowl Halftime Show has become an overblown spectacle of such proportions and delusionary grasping at the straws of musical-artistic relevancy that it quite simply may never be good again. Yet there have been some standout performances – mostly those that concentrate on actual performing. There were some very dark years here and there that were not focused on the artists and their music as much as the pageantry (I’m looking at you Disney), so I didn’t even count those. There were also a lot of ‘meh’ moments that are not really worth getting into.
2000: PHIL COLLINS, CHRISTINA AGUILERA, ENRIQUE IGLESIAS, TONI BRAXTON
I don’t remember this and I’m not going to watch it, but it’s awful. It’s literally the worst thing I’ve never seen.
The Super Bowl’s iconic halftime show has certainly come a long way from the drill teams and college marching bands of its early years. Since the early ˜90s, the event has turned into a full-on showcase of the biggest names in music, featuring performances by such classics as Michael Jackson, Prince and Paul McCartney, as well as¦ not-so-classics like *NSYNC and the Black Eyed Peas. This year, halftime was dominated by none other than Madonna herself, featuring performances with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green and LMFAO. So how did it compare to the halftimes of the past?
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2002 (U2)
As many may remember, halftime 2002 wasn’t just a performance, it was a tribute to the victims and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. While the concept itself could have easily gone wrong in many ways, U2 gave a stunning, energetic performance, making it arguably one of the best halftime shows to date. So how did Madonna’s performance fare against the rock and roll titans? While it may not have exactly been an empowering performance, this year’s show certainly provided us with some fun, guilty-pleasure enjoyment.
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2007 (Prince)
An undeniable superstar, Prince certainly delivered at Super Bowl 2007 with covers of the Foo Fighters, Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival, finishing off with his song Purple Rain. Madonna is pop icon of the same caliber, but could she match Prince’s powerful voice and gripping stage presence? Personally, we feel that the slack-lining cupid and Cee Lo Green’s bedazzled choir get-up stole this show.
Super Bowl 2012 vs. Super Bowl 2011 (Black Eyed Peas feat. Slash and Usher)
While U2‘s performance for halftime 2002 was arguably one of the best shows to date, it could be said that the Black Eyed Peas’ performance was one of the worst. With their mediocre musicianship and Fergie’s aimless belting to Where is the Love and Sweet Child of Mine, the group could only leave the crowd hanging. Say what you will about Madonna’s performance; it doesn’t get any worse than this.
When it comes to half time, it seems we’ve learned that classic is the way to go. The Super Bowl XLVI stuck to a proven formula – whether or not the decision was a good one is up to you to decide. As for us, we’re just grateful that this performance didn’t involve another Madge-Brit-Xtina lip-locking episode, circa the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
iHeartRadio is all about well…radio, and taking it to the next level. Not only does the site allow you to live stream talk and music radio stations locally and nationally, it also enables you to create your own custom stations based on your musical tastes. This past weekend, iHeartRadio went all out to promote their new and improved Web site, along with the launch of the iHeartRadio mobile app that grants users listening access from their phones. For the launch, they put on a giant, star-studded festival in Las Vegas, which sold out about ten minutes after tickets were made available. The theme of the night was very much focused on the diversity and popularity of the festival’s artists.
For the majority of fans who weren’t able to get a ticket or make their way to Vegas, iHeartRadio streamed the entire two-night event on their Web site. Here at Live Wired, we were part of that majority, and since we’ve been talking so much about streaming festivals online, we’re here to tell you what it was like. The evening kicked off with a half-hour “pre-show” hosted by two personalities from NYC’s popular radio station z100, followed by the first performance of the night. The Black Eyed Peas, who apparently are not on their hiatus yet, took the stage first and were pretty underwhelming. Not that they’re exactly known for their live shows (See: this year’s Super Bowl performance), but the audience didn’t seem too entertained either.
This was a brutal exercise, listening to at least large chunks of every Number 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 for the years between 2000 and 2010 (I should have stopped at 2009, but I’m a glutton for punishment). Anyway, in order to avoid repetition, if a song was a Number 1 in more than one year (carried over from a previous year), I only considered it for the first year in which it hit the top spot. I thought I might see some kind of trend in quality of pop music, but no such luck”highs and lows abound throughout.
Best: Smooth by Santana featuring Rob Thomas. Rob Thomas tries really hard to wreck this song with his awful singing, but it’s still really catchy. Sorry Rob, but I’ve come from the future to tell you that you’ll have more success offending listeners with your solo record.
Worst: The epic and universal terribleness of Arms Wide Open by Creed beats out such dreck as Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon and a song called I Knew I Loved You by a band that wrote the name Savage Garden on a piece of paper, looked at it and said, Yes. Let’s name our band that. That’s not totally stupid at all.
Dishonorable mention: Independent Women Part 1 by Destiny’s Child, for opening the song with a shout out to Charlie’s Angels, the movie in which it is featured, and for kicking off the verse with the lyric, Question: Tell me what you think about me. Yeah, that’s not a question, that’s a command. What do I think about you? I think that you’re too pushy and have a tenuous grasp on parts of speech.