Fifty years ago this week, the Beatles made their first appearance in New York. We listened to The Beatles. We grew up with The Beatles. You, Bruno Mars, are no Beatles.
Despite the best attempts of the NFL and Pepsi to sell Mars as a pop idol worthy of shrieking girls and an audience of 110 million people, the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show was a wholly unspectacular production that will join Tom Petty and The Who in the annals of instantly-forgettable halftime entertainment.
There was a palpable electricity in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before Beyonce’s performance last year – until there was no actual electricity moments afterward- and Mars’ show just didn’t match that. It’s not really the fault of the 28-year-old Hawaii native, whose two albums fail to give him the legacy of previous performers like Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones.
Perhaps the game’s 22-0 halftime margin had sucked much of the energy out of the sold out MetLife Stadium crowd or maybe the loudest members just hadn’t returned from their journeys to the restroom and concession stands, but Mars’ performance didn’t seem to have impact of previous performers in that spot.
Until the appearance by the always-game Red Hot Chili Peppers, the show felt like a snooze. It belonged at the People’s Choice Awards, not on the Super Bowl stage. It’s not great when a band in their 50s has to perform a 23-year-old song to inject energy into the biggest 15 minutes of the music year.
But this is the Super Bowl, y’all. Perfectly acceptable doesn’t cut it. (And he didn’t even sing Grenade!) Bruno Mars wasn't quite as bad as the Denver Broncos, nor was he as good as the Seattle Seahawks. He was right in the middle. You won’t remember him for being great, but you won’t remember him for being bad. Maybe that’s a victory?