So, look: The Super Bowl halftime show is just about the most difficult gig you could ever ask a pop star to pull off: You’ve got less than ten minutes to set up, maybe twelve and a half minutes (max!) to dazzle The Entire Fucking World with a medley of hits in a whole bunch of outfits surrounded by dancers, pyrotechnics and musicians to create a full-on visual smorgasbord, and then another ten or less to dismantle and go. In other words: The stage can’t be too elaborate, the marks can’t be missed and you’ve got one shot, live, to create a perfect moment.
As a result, I really do salute any pop diva who successfully pulls off the show without a hitch…
Katy Perry did the deed, and she did it well.
I mean, was it at the level of Madonna or Beyoncé? No, no. Of course not. Come on! She doesn’t command those kinds of awe-inspiring moves or those genuinely iconic songs. “California Gurls” and “Dark Horse” — not quite “Vogue” and “Like A Prayer,” are they? But what she doesn’t have in star power as a performer, she made up for in cute silliness and distracting razzle-dazzle — and Lenny Kravitz. And Missy Elliott! Why? No particular reason. And that’s fine!
The show was a pretty even offering of her radio hits over the greater half of a decade, from “Roar” to “I Kissed A Girl” to “Teenage Dream,” all tightly bundled into one family-friendly package that showcased her wink-wink, don’t-take-this-too-seriously brand of pop. (I still maintain that she is the slightly less ‘zany’ female Weird Al Yankovic.)
Unsurprisingly, Missy Misdemeanor is still fucking cool, and in a medley full of cheese, her arrival to the stage felt like a brief, refreshing break of genuine pop fierceness. Sure, the appearance didn’t make any sense, but it somehow still…felt right? After all, Katy’s like that popular girl in high school who drove through the parking lot blasting Missy and throwing half-full Slurpees out the window with her other kewl friends Stacy and Becky. So, sure! Let’s go for some “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It” nostalgia. And…”Lose Control”! (But really, where was Ciara for this? Come on now… #JusticeForCiCi.) Missy most certainly held her own — and briefly stole the show.
The always sexy Lenny Kravitz’s “I Kissed A Girl” cameo felt a bit WTF as well, until you remember that the whole of Middle America is watching — and then it makes total sense. A lesbo-lite anthem about lady-on-lady kissing? Lordy, no! Let’s throw a dude into the mix. Fire! Guitars! Distractions! No gay agenda here! AMERICA…FUCK YEAH!
This iconic shark.
Let me tell you something: I love me a shark of any kind…especially one that knows how to work, bitch.
These smiley beach balls.
I really couldn’t stop thinking about those cheerful beach balls and palm trees! Who could possibly be mad after seeing them do some twirls around the stage? Adorable. I’d love a few for the home.
There were some bits that could have used some improvement, of course: The opening “Fire” dress was a bit too cartoonish (just like Katy’s career, so…fitting?), and could have seriously used the unnnf of Katniss Everdeen‘s Girl On Fire gowns…
…while the ending “Firework” floating platform basically looked like a The More You Know PSA.
But, again, all of this is totally on par with the Kitschy Perry shtick anyway, so…we’re right on track!
Was I entertained? Indeed! It was cute, fleeting fun — the performance equivalent of the Dragon Wagon ride at a carnival. Was I wowed? Let’s not get crazy: There was a 10-second Britney cameo in a commercial that left more of a lasting impact.
…This will forever be incredible.
I mean, fucking come on.