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Bruno Mars: Good At Dancing, Bad At Super Bowl Halftime Shows

By / 02.03.14

Unless you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan, or the leader of the Verve fan club, Super Bowl XLVIII was not a memorable experience. The game: one-sided. The weather: not snowing. The commercials: already online. The Super Bowl halftime show: competent, but boring, and that’s the last thing we should want.

Bruno Mars is a charismatic enough guy; that’s clear to those anyone who only knows him from his SNL appearance. But his music, soul-less soul, is neither so good that it stays in your brain, or so bad that it’s easy to dismiss. He’s middle management: happy to stay in his comfort zone, out of fear for shaking things up and failing. That also means he can’t take risks, and his halftime show was about as risk-free as it gets. It was a performance so carefully calculated that it felt cold and empty. Obviously ALL halftime shows are planned to the point of suffocating exhaustion, give or take a nipple, but at least people like Prince and Bruce Springsteen added some indescribable spark to the extravaganza. Just by being there, their shows felt special — less than 24 hours later, can you remember ANYTHING about Mars’ performance, other than…?

bruno split

I’m sure the NFL and Pepsi are happy this morning: they got the exact halftime show they wanted, one free of controversy; it’s even receiving fairly positive reviews. But after Beyoncé literally blew the lights out in New Orleans last year, they should have tried to find someone at least half as electrifying. (Didn’t it feel like Fox was trying to convince us that no, really, Bruno Mars is THAT huge of a pop star? I doubt they would have done the same for, say, Katy Perry; we already know how famous she is.) Instead, they booked Bruno Mars, and he gave us a perfectly average performance in a Super Bowl that demanded something great.

(I’m not going to mention the Chili Peppers because they didn’t play “Abracadabralifornia.”)

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