SBD/February 7, 2011/Events and Attractions

NFL Freshens Up Super Bowl Halftime Show With Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas' space-themed halftime show featured several guest stars
The Black Eyed Peas last night at Super Bowl XLV "delivered a 15-minute halftime performance layered with spectacle and studded with guest stars," and the group "did exactly what a Super Bowl halftime show should -- it entertained," according to Preston Jones of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The performance "would've been plenty engaging, even without cameos from former Guns 'N Roses guitarist Slash and R&B superstar Usher." A "small army of dancers from local high schools took to the field, outfitted with LED-augmented outfits that provided some truly dazzling eye candy." The Black Eyed Peas "were lowered onto the Super Bowl stage from the massive HD scoreboard" at Cowboys Stadium, and their setlist spanned most of the group's "more recent career." Current hits like "The Time (Dirty Bit)" were blended with older hits like "Pump It."  It was "not the greatest halftime performance of all time," but "youthful energy is far more compelling at the Super Bowl than creaky guitar rock" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/7). In N.Y., Jon Caramanica notes "unlike in previous years, in which fans were allowed on the field to suffocate the stage, this year, there were hundreds of dancers in illuminated unitards helping round out the Black Eyed Peas' space show." They "formed arrows to direct the eye to the stage, and during 'Where Is the Love?' formed hearts, lit up red and scattered across the field" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7). Also in N.Y., Soraya Roberts writes the performance "lit up the field in the middle of the game, with Fergie appearing nervous as she descended onto the stage on her tiny platform." Fergie's mike "did take a moment to kick in at the start of their set, but then it was a smooth ride from there, with each song given Olympic-style choreography" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/7). ESPN.com's Jerry Greene wrote the Black Eyed Peas "worked and brought back sexy and wholesome to the Super Bowl halftime" (ESPN.com, 2/6). But on Long Island, Glenn Gamboa writes the Black Eyed Peas "might have been better off lip-synching," or "at least working a bit harder with their sound engineers." There was a "whole lot of uneven singing and rapping, especially from Fergie, who sounded strong at times and strained at others." Gamboa: "Her ill-advised take on Guns N' Roses' 'Sweet Child o' Mine,' complete with Slash guitar solo, was the most problematic." Also, Usher, who dropped in to perform "OMG," "couldn't be heard at all" (NEWSDAY, 2/7).

I GOTTA FEELING: In Phoenix, Larry Rodgers writes "after six years of playing it safe with well-established rock and pop acts at the Super Bowl," the NFL "freshened things up at this year's halftime show, handing the keys over to the Grammy-winning Black Eyed Peas." The 12-minute performance was a "welcome break from classic rock, but it could have benefited from having a tune or two edited out" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/7). USA TODAY's Tim Gardner writes the Black Eyed Peas "rocked the Super Bowl with a strong mix of their top hits" (USA TODAY, 2/7). In L.A., Todd Martens wrote, "The Peas, love 'em or hate 'em, are the group this game of hype deserves." But the whole performance "wasn't a winner." When Slash "emerged from beneath the act's rotund stage/space shuttle launch pad, it was a turn for the worst" (LATIMES.com, 2/6). In Dallas, Mario Tarradell writes the Super Bowl halftime show is "supposed to be an overload for the senses," and it is "supposed to match the heightened fan pandemonium of the game itself." Given those parameters, the Black Eyed Peas "did their job without much of a hitch." But Slash's performance was "all but wasted." His guitar "wasn't amplified very loudly and his rendition" of Sweet Child o' Mine "wasn't very distinctive." And Usher, "who glided down on a bungee cord, didn't so much sing 'OMG' as he danced it" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/7). In Newark, Jay Lustig writes, "While it's true that when there wasn't something spectacular going on, visually, they didn't offer much in the way of vocal dynamics, it's also true that there was usually something spectacular going on, visually -- those hordes of glowing dancers really were pretty cool -- so the 12 minutes passed very quickly. It was a solid B performance -- but nowhere near an A" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 2/7). ESPN.com's Greg Garber wrote the Black Eyed Peas had a "tight, arresting conceptual halftime show that was pleasing to the eye, along with a cast of hundreds, aerial hijinx and lots of glow sticks" (ESPN.com, 2/6). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel awarded the halftime show a "B" grade. Tramel: "The Black Eyed Peas were fine; they didn't embarrass the league, which is half the battle. And the light show was cool" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 2/7).

WHERE IS THE LOVE?
The AP's Nekesa Mumbi Moody wrote, "On second thought, maybe Usher should have been the headliner for the Super Bowl halftime show." Usher "had only a brief cameo in the showcase, but his tightly choreographed moves marked the brief exhilarating moment of a surprisingly stale medley from the normally frenetic headliners, the Black Eyed Peas." The Black Eyed Peas "seemed tentative, and tense," and it "didn't help that Fergie's mic didn't kick in until midway through her first verse." Slash was an "unnecessary cameo that failed to add any sizzle" (AP, 2/6). In St. Petersburg, Eric Deggans writes the halftime show was "spoiled by serious technical issues." The Black Eyed Peas were "typically jaw-dropping ... visually." But Usher's appearance "mostly highlighted how boring the four Peas looked without him, stalking around a stage with no discernible dance talents of their own" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/7). In DC, Hank Stuever writes the Black Eyed Peas offered a "quick and uninspired robot-romp through their childlike pop oeuvre" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/7). In California, Ben Wener wrote the show was "positively underwhelming" (OCREGISTER.com, 2/6).

Aguilera has has some trouble with fourth line
of national anthem before last night's game
NATIONAL ANTHEM NIGHTMARE
: In N.Y., Don Kaplan notes Christina Aguilera "flubbed the fourth line" of the national anthem before last night's game. Aguilera sang, "Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, what so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming." The correct lyrics: "Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming." Aguilera "seemed to try and make up for the goof by loading up the rest of the song with over-the-top flourishes and warbling notes that also have never been part of the national anthem." Her flub "immediately lit up Twitter where thousands of viewers ripped the singer to shreds" (N.Y. POST, 2/7). Also in N.Y., Elizabeth Harris noted Twitter was "immediately abuzz with talk of her mistake, and by the third quarter her Wikipedia page was changed to include the incident" (NYTIMES.com, 2/6). Aguilera said in a statement, "I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/7). The STAR-TELEGRAM's Jones writes while she "dialed down her usual over-the-top melisma, Aguilera simply failed to get the lyrics right, which, given the fact that she's done this before, is a little baffling" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/7). NEWSDAY's Gamboa writes there is a "reason why most singers lip-sync the national anthem at the Super Bowl and why Aguilera probably should have done the same Sunday, especially since she opted to perform it a cappella" (NEWSDAY, 2/7). ESPN.com's Greene described Aguilera's performance as "brutal." She "managed to put four syllables into the word 'wave,' but still was 'under' on the length of the song, clocking in at 1:55 when two minutes flat was the over/under" (ESPN.com, 2/6). The L.A. TIMES' Martens wrote Aguilera "stretched and yelled the word 'brave' as if she were giving a lesson in what tinnitus sounded like" (LATIMES.com, 2/6). But ESPN.com's Garber wrote Aguilera, "despite a flub of the lyrics, still delivered a throaty-yet-stately acapella version of the national anthem in her second Super Bowl performance" (ESPN.com, 2/6).

LET'S GETTED IT STARTED: The STAR-TELEGRAM's Jones writes Glee's Lea Michele "delivered a competent but not especially showy rendition" of "America The Beautiful" before the game (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/7). ESPN.com's Greene wrote Michele "did a solid if unspectacular" performance of the song (ESPN.com, 2/6). In Milwaukee, Chris Foran writes Michele "belted out a straightforward rendition" of "America The Beautiful" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/7). ESPN.com's Garber wrote Michele gave the song a "fresh, almost bouncy tempo" (ESPN.com, 2/6).
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