For all of those fortunate enough to catch the Keyboard Cat playing Bruno Mars during the halftime of the Puppy Bowl on Sunday, I envy you. That's because I had to endure about 15 minutes of pure torture while watching the actual Bruno Mars performing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers during the bona fide Super Bowl halftime show. It was just so unbelievably politically correct that it hurt to watch.
The show began with a chorus line of children, wearing winter clothes that probably were too warm for the 50-degree conditions in which that the game was taking place, singing the Travie McCoy/Bruno Mars song "Billionaire."
Mars made his first appearance doing a drum solo, that, honestly, as it translates to television, was about as interesting as the rest of the game (which at that point was a 22-0 blowout favoring the Seattle Seahawks). The song began playing, probably over MetLife Stadium's PA system, because it didn't seem as though any of the performers was actually playing his instrument. (Plus, the song's actual singer, McCoy, wasn't on hand to perform.) And it did not get any better from there.
Mars followed up with "Locked Out of Heaven," and 2013's most annoying song sounded probably five times as bad with all the irritating "pageantry" that accompanies Super Bowl halftime shows.
It feels as though the Super Bowl's organizers have given up on trying to put on an intriguing halftime show. Ever since the above incident involving Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, which happened exactly a decade ago, the NFL has instead settled for the biggest "safe" celebrity mash up they can possibly afford.
It really seems like there are no lengths to which the NFL (a.k.a. "No Fun League") and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, will not go to ensure that the league is looked upon favorably by middle America. And the blandness of the halftime show the last several years is evidence of such.
Mars went with "Treasure" for the third song of the show, and for an instant, things started to become interesting. Bruno and his band were getting funky and the R&B/pop singer seemed to be channeling his inner "Godfather of Soul" with some authentic James Brown-like dance moves.
Toward the end of his next song, "Runaway Baby," Mars began singing the Red Hot Chili Peppers classic hit "Give it Away" while backed up by an appearance by Anthony Kiedis and Flea, and it seemed like perhaps the NFL was taking some risks. Well, if it was the early '90s, that is.
Honestly, 20 years ago the sock-wearing-on-their-schlongs (on their album cover) Red Hot Chili Peppers would have exemplified provocative television. In 2014, however, RHCP has become nothing more than agreeable and safe classic rock. Kiedis' weird-ass man stockings and Flea's rocking the whole "I just escaped from prison and ditched my shirt" look were probably the wildest thing that happened.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers disappeared almost as quickly as they showed up, and their performance along with the NFL's ode to the troops gave Bruno enough time to make way for his secluded riser away from the stage to sing "Just the Way You Are," in honor of America's fighting men and women. Because obviously 10 minutes cannot go by on Super Bowl Sunday without somebody acknowledging war.
The show was just lackluster, and the bit "honoring" the troops was pandering at best, war-mongering at worst. Just chill out NFL, invite someone upbeat, fun, and maybe even groundbreak one day. Maybe next year, when the Super Bowl comes to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, perhaps could see what Matt and Kim might do with a Super Bowl halftime show.
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Whatever happens, stop playing it safe.