The Super Bowl is the epicenter of American pop culture, being the biggest night in sports, advertising, and probably even music; everyone is watching. Legendary artists such as Michael Jackson, U2, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna have set the bar unfathomably high with their half time performances, while the Black Eyed Peas and MTV’s Reign Of Terror (i.e. when they ran the show up through “Nipplegate”) were embarrassingly scrutinized. Coming just two short weeks after the entirely unjustified backlash of her lipped National Anthem performance at the presidential inauguration, it was Beyoncé’s turn to take the stage. Now I made some suggestions (borderline pleas) with her as to how she should successfully put together a half time show (see here,) and you’d almost think she listened! I’ll just cut to the chase… Beyoncé’s half time performance was perfect. And here’s why:
1) ENERGY, ENGERY, ENERGY
Now this was one of my biggest concerns with her headlining the show. Beyoncé has a lot of ballads, and despite being renowned for her energetic performances, most of her biggest hits are on the slower side (“Irreplaceable,” “If I Were A Boy,” “Halo,” Best Thing I Never Had,” etc.) For a show like this, it’s important to keep things moving and exciting, and Queen B hit the nail on the head. Relying on hits such as “Crazy In Love,” “Single Ladies,” “Baby Boy” and the surprise addition of “End Of Time” made the understated, yet poignant “Halo” the perfect finale.
2) NO COVERS!
Hallelujah! The cover rule has very few exceptions (Prince in 2007,) but Beyoncé is not one of them. One of the smartest moves she’s made is having the confidence in her own catalog to stick to her own music! If you go to one of her own concerts, you’re guaranteed to hear a few cover songs incorporated into the mix, and most of them are very well done, but this isn’t the time or place for it! The half time act gets about 15 minutes of performance time, and, quite honestly, if you don’t have enough of your own music to fill that short slot, then you don’t deserve to get the show! Clearly, Beyoncé does.
3) DESTINY’S CHILD REUNION
As amazing as Beyoncé’s performance was, let’s be honest, the clear highlight of the show was the Destiny’s Child reunion. Rumors were moving a mile a minute about Kelly and Michelle joining B on stage, but were unconvincingly denied the whole time. In a way we all knew it was coming, but when the girls sprang out of the stage (a page right out of Michael Jackson’s book,) there was no way to hold back the overwhelming excitement. Honestly, there’s no stage bigger for a reunion like this in America, so it was the perfect opportunity for the girls to do their thing again. The trio’s chemistry was palpable as they made their way though a brief portion of “Bootylicious” before breaking out into their biggest hit, “Independent Women Part 1.” By far the most amazing part of the entire show was when Beyoncé invited her bandmates to join in on her solo hit “Single Ladies,” even giving Kelly and Michelle solo lines.
4) NO RANDOM GUESTS
In conjunction with the DC reunion, one of the smartest moves B made was leaving out all/any random guests. Sure, it would have made sense for Jay-Z to make an appearance, but the girls getting back together was special and didn’t need to come across as “just another portion of the show.” In fact, Kelly and Michelle didn’t even come across as “guests;” it was a full-fledged reunion! The worst thing Beyoncé could have done was waste her time sharing the stage with someone just for the sake of doing it. She was in command of the entire show, and it made a world of difference.
5) THE SPECTACLE
Quite honestly, everything else aside, the half time show is about being a feast for the eyes. Beyoncé did not disappoint here, either. Between a tasteful amount of pyrotechnics, a stage that was incorporated into the performance, and one of the best integration of video screens in the history of EVER, the performance was visually stunning. Not to mention, Queen B looked incredible! She was in command the entire time, didn’t miss a step, and exuded more energy and classy sex appeal that any other half time performer ever. Clearly, Sasha Fierce came out to play, too, leaving Beyoncé looking almost possessed as she held millions and millions of viewers in the palm of her hand for 15 minutes.
6) THE MUSIC
Finally, it all came down to the music. Beyoncé made it abundantly clear that she was going to be singing live, and the girl did not miss a note. Not to mention, she made her talented all-female band a focus of the show. The setlist was well-mixed, and the song selection, again, was superb. When the show was reaching it’s climax, we were left with a simple performance of “Halo”… Beyoncé alone on stage, on her knees, thrashing her hair to and fro, and absolutely killing it vocally. There was no better way to end the show that was so overwhelming.
We have to let the smoke clear a little bit to see where this sits in the grand scheme of “Best Half Time Shows Ever,” but I can almost guarantee this one is going top-3, if not all the way to #1. It was flawlessly executed, it was exciting, it was energetic, and it was borderline unbelievable. If there was ever a moment that Beyoncé proved she’s a living legend, this is it.