Don’t get me wrong, I think Bruno Mars is a very talented musician with tons of upside in terms of both his portfolio of music and his performance skills. But, and trust me this is a but that Kanye would leave Kim for, he is not the correct choice for headlining the Super Bowl halftime show.
Before we go any further, we should probably address the elephant in the room. Why is Bruno Mars not the correct choice and what makes a choice right or wrong?
In order to arrive at that answer, we need to look at the essense of what the Super Bowl has become over that last decade. The Super Bowl is violent secular Xmas. I used the advertiser friendly Xmas instead of Christmas for a very simple reason, the meaning of Christmas vs Xmas.
Now for those of you not familiar with Christmas (all two isolated natives of Papua New Guinea that have been living off of tree moss on an isolated island), it is a celebration of the birth of a messanic figure in Christian religion whose message of peace, love and understanding was meant to enlighten humanity and bring more of the aforementioned ideas to the world (among other stuff, but you get the idea). The general idea is that you get together with your family, attend mass and share a nice meal.
Xmas on that other hand is a totally secular holiday that coincides with Christmas regarding its position on the calendar but is based around the central tenets of stress building up to the holiday, horrible experiences with travel right before the holiday, awkward family dinners the end in much too much drinking and yelling followed by crushing credit card debt caused by overspending in preparation for Xmas.
Since we have that distinction out of the way, we can then apply the same corrolary to the Super Bowl. Super Bowl is Xmas with too much spending in preparation, expectations that exceed anything that can be met in this plane of existence and usually a sense of letdown following the actual event. We are currently encouraged to buy new big screen TVs in preparation for the Big Game (because the Super Bowl is of course The Game Which Shall Not Be Named), there is furniture and apparel that is themed to each year’s distinctive theme and of course, what large produced sports entertainment experience would not have an unending list of “the official <X> of Super Bowl <Y>”.
With all of that nonsense in mind, we can finally come to the crux of our little thought experiment: What makes the correct choice for the Super Bowl halftime show? Well, we can say with a high level of conviction that we know what does not make for a good performance: Sex. Anything performance concept that involves sexuality should be taken out back and shot. The Janet Jackson nonsense aside, Prince’s silhouete while holding a guitar was apparently too much for some very vocal viewers (who are apparently unfamilar with general proportions of human anatomy or who think Prince is the most well endowed man on earth). On the other extreme, Paul McCartney and Tom Petty, while nice performances, were a little lacking on the energy standpoint (and that’s not a slight on either of them, that was never their style). Out of recent memory, the Beyonce performance seemed like the best due to its athletic nature (Beyonce is very attractive, but her performance style is not exactly sultry or erotic in nature) and its general level of frantic energy, plus the mixture of nod to the past and the history of the performer which also looking to the performer’s current catalog.
Now that we’ve gone over so do’s and don’t, let come down to the actual crux of the matter. Who do I think should get the headliner for the Super Bowl Halftime Show next year (since this year’s is already decided and making pointless suggestions doesn’t add to the conversation): Justin Timberlake. Shocked? Yeah, I was too, but he is frankly the only reasonable choice.
First, the big objection: Didn’t he do that thing with Janet Jackson and the “wardrobe malfunction”? Yeah, he did, about a decade ago and apologized for…well actually I’m not sure what for…perhaps not doing a boob check ahead of time to verify that the stitching was done correctly. Since then he’s been constantly successful with a wide audience both of younger and the 18-49 target demographic who kind of grew up with him doing silly dances with N*Sync.
This brings me to the next plus, we love history and evolution when it comes to individuals. Have him do a medley with his old N*Sync bandmates. I’m sure a large enough bag of money can be found to make that happen (I’m not aware of them hating each other). Nothing will make people chuckle with nostalgia more than five grown men doing the Bye Bye Bye dance in front of 100+ million people.
I would also suggest some form of comedic element be built into the performance. The frequent guest spots on Jimmy Fallon have shown that Justin Timberlake is a funny dude. Find the hashtag clip from a few months back if you need proof of this. The NFL markets itself as being family entertainment and throwing a few jokes into the middle of the halftime show will not hurt that image in any way.
So, with throwback potential, humor and a solid current catalog, I think the choice is obvious. Plus, if that ever fails, we could always add a 90s rock band in and see how that goes…oh wait, we’re already doing that this year.