The most exciting thing that can be said about the halftime performers for Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII, Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers, is, “Eh, at least they’re not the Black Eyed Peas.” Neither act truly impresses: Bruno’s a perfectly competent and slick singer and dancer, but there’s nothing thrilling about him; he won’t be bad, he won’t be great, he’ll just be…good, and probably throw his fedora once or twice. As for the Peppers, they would have been a nice get fifteen years ago, ten years ago, even six years ago, but in 2014? I’m not so sure.
(Unless they play “No Chump Love Sucker.” That would be awesome.)
So, yeah, Beyoncé, they ain’t, but we do have some suggestions for how to improve halftime shows from now on.
1. Super Bowl VI was held in New Orleans, so the halftime show was a tribute to Louis Armstrong, who grew up there and died in New York a year earlier. Ella Fitzgerald sang, Al Hirt played the trumpet, and the USMC Drill Team presumably marched and drilled. More region-specific shows would be fun. Next year’s Super Bowl is in Arizona — are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yup: the Gin Blossoms. They could play their two songs three times!
2. You know what neighborhood doesn’t receive enough attention? Hollywood. I’m always saying, what are those crazy kids in Tinsel Town up to? Super Bowl XXI had the right idea with “Salute to Hollywood’s 100th Anniversary – The World of Make Believe.” The likes of George Burns, Mickey Rooney, AND “Southern California-area high school drill teams and dancers” performed the theme songs from Bonanza and Footloose, as well as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Let’s give back to Hollywood, which has provided us with so much wholesome entertainment over the years, free of charge, with another tribute, featuring the world’s biggest movie star singing the world’s finest movie song. So, Kellan Lutz belching “Theme from The Nut Job.”
3. “Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D.” Let me repeat: “Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D,” with an introduction by Bob Costas and 3-D commercial for Diet Coke. Plus! A very special performance from America’s foremost Elvis impersonator/magic expert, Elvis Presto. Super Bowl XXIII was ahead of its time, and we’re still trying to catch up. The best we can do is ask the David Bowie all-gay groupie cover band, David Blow-Me, to change the lyrics to “Prettiest Star” to be about Pepsi Max, and film the entire thing in a dimension that doesn’t exist. Done and done.
4. The theme of Super Bowl XXVI was “Winter Magic and Salute to 1992 Winter Olympics.” We already missed our chance for a salute to this year’s Winter games, which is totally fine, BUT one of the performers from the 1992 show was Brian Boitano, of “What Would Brian Boitano Do,” and probably figure skating, fame. Give Matt Stone and Trey Parker ALL the money to produce next year’s halftime show, and then every halftime show until the NFL ceases to exist, buried under the financial stress of a million lawsuits (so, six years?). I am completely serious about this.
5. In 1993, the Super Bowl booked an A-list singer for the first time, effectively ending the tyrannical run of marching bands: Michael Jackson. Ratings actually INCREASED during halftime. The NFL is nothing if not a ratings whore, so if one pop star can bring in ridiculous numbers, why not book ALL the pop stars, and unbeknownst to them, let them fight in a Battle Royale-type setting to learn who wants it the most? The last one standing gets the gig. Katy Perry vs. Madonna vs. Justin Timberlake vs. Jay Z vs. Beyoncé? Blue Ivy would be torn.
6. For reasons still unexplained, the Super Bowl XXXI halftime show was taken over by the Blues Brothers for a “Blues Brothers Bash.” But not THE Blues Brothers; John Belushi was replaced by both John Goodman and James Belushi, the least charismatic of the three Belushi brothers. (Don’t forget Eddie Belushi — he works as a plumber in Trenton, New Jersey, but he’s got one hell of a story about the time he saw Don Cheadle on a payphone.) Anyway, that should never happen again, but I am down with TV bands performing in real-life. MOUSE RAT 2016.
7. More headliners sliding crotch-first into cameras, people, cell phones, goal posts, whatever.
8. And most importantly, put the remaining members of Up with People in a cryogenic freeze, so their positive, uplifting songs about no Asian people can be enjoyed on July 4, 2076, for America’s Tricentennial.
Banner and Elvis Presto photos via Getty Image