It’s been confirmed… Beyoncé “Queen B” Knowles will be playing the 2013 Super Bowl Half Time show! Naturally, this has left half the world jumping for joy, and the other half scratching their heads. The choice certainly raises a few questions, and I will attempt to answer themall!
Does Beyoncé really appeal to the football crowd?
So let’s think about this then. Does the Super Bowl in general appeal to the football crowd? Outside of the game, there’s nothing all that “football” about it. In all fairness, all but two teams’ fan bases are probably feeling nothing but jaded by this point, and not counting for those who just LOVE the sport, it really all comes down to the event itself. It’s the atmosphere, the sense of competition in the air, and the knowledge that it’s all coming down to one game. Realistically, though, it’s the spectacle… the fireworks, the jets flying over during the over-hyped Star Spangled Banner, and of course the commercials. At the center of it all is the half-time show, which is strangely one of the biggest events in music every year. The past has seen notable performances from the likes of Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Michael Jackson, and as of last year, Madonna. The music has always been a mixed bag. Sometimes it turns out legendary (Prince,) sometimes it’s a disaster (the Black Eyed Peas,) and other times, just plain crazy (Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.”) As far as trying to lean towards “legendary,” Beyoncé is a perfect choice. She has been praised for her energetic performances, vocal ability, and unmatchable show(wo)manship. B has never been particularly scandalous, so they hardly running the risk of another “Nipplegate” (and let’s be honest, if they survived Madonna without incident, everything else is smooth sailing.) So in reality, Beyoncé is no more or less “Football-Worthy” than anyone else has been, but she is completely “Half Time Worthy.”
So how CAN she appeal to the football crowd?
Quite honestly? There’s not really a way she can. They’re probably never going to find an act that’s going to appeal to those invested in the game AND the half time show. Whereas Springsteen, McCartney, and the Who seem much more “football,” the days when MTV ran the show appealed much more to the half time crowd. If there’s anyone outside of a modern rock group (it’s relatively surprising Coldplay hasn’t been offered the gig,) that can do it, it’s Beyoncé. If she can put on a legendary show for the Glastonbury crowd, she certainly has the ability to rock this show. As long as Sasha Fierce comes out to play, she’ll be golden.
What should her setlist look like?
Assuming she’s not promoting anything new (and we can all hope that she will be,) she should try and keep this as energetic as possible. This could be a bit of a challenge considering her varied repertoire. Now, I think it’s safe to expect a special guest or two to make an appearance. Clearly, Jay-Z is the frontrunner for that. “Crazy In Love” should be a given in the show, and it would be pretty awesome if Hov came to lay down his verse. Quite possibly the only way to top that would be (an incredibly unlikely) Destiny’s Child reunion. With Kelly and Michelle by her side for a bit of “Independent Women Part 1” or “Survivor,” Beyoncé would absolutely bring the house down. Seeing as this probably won’t happen, though, injecting energy in the form of some of her biggest solo hits would have to suffice. “Single Ladies” is the next obvious inclusion, being one of her most recognized singles, and it could really work as a playful exchange with the predominantly male crowd. If she was planning on bringing the mood down for a moment, “Irreplaceable” would be the perfect choice, and “Halo” would be a fitting closer. Folding in some of her D.C. material (even solo,) or possibly even a bit of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” would be a great way to keep the energy flowing. Hopefully “Run The World” sits this one out.
What should she avoid?
B should avoid any and every half time cliché. First of all, everyone knows the event is based around football. A short appearance from a marching band or drumline is practically tradition, and not one that necessarily needs to be broken. However, imagery involving cheerleaders and anything resembling the game of football should be left for the game itself. Secondly, she needs to focus on energy, energy, energy. We all know Beyoncé can own a big ballad, but outside of maybe a finale or fleeting moment, she should keep the mood up. Thirdly, just don’t try too hard! The best shows have always been born out of pure talent and smart performance decisions. Now, that doesn’t mean there can’t be a “show” involved. I think we’d all be pretty disappointed if there wasn’t something elaborate, but at the end of the day, knowing when to stop adding crazy effects is key. The line may be thin, but if anyone knows how to approach it without crossing it (especially following Madonna who walked it like a tightrope,) it’s Beyoncé. Finally, please don’t invite anyone random to share the stage. The likes of Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, or even Lady Gaga would be more than enough to make it a spectacle. The last thing anyone needs to see is Elton John or Slash showing up to confuse the hell out of everyone watching. One thing I can guarantee is that the 2013 Super Bowl Half Time show is going to be noteworthy. If Beyoncé plays this smart and avoids the routine mistakes, this could easily be one of the greatest of all time.