Mary J. Blige Reveals Why the Tremendous Bowl Halftime Present Wants Feminine Performers

I’ve lengthy maintained that the Tremendous Bowl halftime present belongs to ladies with just a few exceptions. For these of us with no real interest in soccer or have zero stake within the groups represented, an occasion so stereotypically masculine and completely foolish is barely made bearable with the data that a pop diva will come swooping in through the center of the published to carry out a few of her best hits and frolic onstage in a ridiculous leotard. (That and, in fact, celebration snacks).

Likewise, this 12 months’s male-heavy Pepsi Tremendous Bowl LVI halftime present, that includes Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, a shock cameo by 50 Cent, and Mary J. Blige, was much less a visible spectacle or a show of showmanship (a minimum of from many of the males) and extra of a celebration of nostalgia and vibes. Regardless of a wonderful setlist, I might’ve most well-liked quarter-hour of Blige’s iconic staggering in glittery thigh-high boots over a bunch of middle-aged males stiffly bopping round. Nonetheless, we did handle to get some Crip-walking out of Snoop, which actually counts for one thing.

In all equity, this 12 months’s halftime present was noticeably totally different from something the Tremendous Bowl has hosted earlier than. Likewise, there aren’t many templates for these artists to tug from the best way pop and rock headliners can simply take notes from each other.

Whereas the televised live performance has seen rappers like Nelly, Queen Latifah, Large Boi and Unhealthy Bunny make appearances, Sunday marked the primary all hip-hop lineup—a selection that would presumably solely be made with the assistance of Jay-Z, who controversially signed a take care of the NFL again in 2018 to diversify the halftime present and help in different racial outreach efforts.

Therefore, this 12 months’s present comes with some built-in baggage along with nonetheless viewers react to the precise efficiency. Since axed NFL participant Colin Kaepernick was ostensibly blackballed from the NFL for protesting police brutality, the halftime present has grow to be a controversial and even undesirable alternative for sure artists like Cardi B, Rihanna and P!nk. Different artists, primarily these within the rap neighborhood—together with most of this 12 months’s lineup—have voiced their assist of Kaepernick. However like most protests supported by celebrities, Kaepernick’s trigger has misplaced a variety of steam in recent times, regardless of the NFL accruing different racial controversies.

Thus, the NFL internet hosting Black artists in unprecedented numbers appeared like an apparent defend from rising accusations of anti-Blackness and systemic racism of their group. For essentially the most half, judging by the web, it doesn’t look like anybody is shopping for the NFL’s performative pandering, as an alternative taking the nostalgic hip-hop efficiency for what it’s. In that means, it was refreshing that this 12 months’s occasion didn’t include some type of compulsory shout-out or signaling to the Black Lives Matter motion or any slain Black individuals on the artists’ half. (Though, the one white performer, Eminem, determined to kneel towards the top in essentially the most corny vogue).

However let’s get into the precise present. The set started with West Coast legend and N.W.A member Dr. Dre performing “The Subsequent Episode” on the roof of a sequence of linked homes and Los Angeles landmarks at heart area. The staging felt harking back to final 12 months’s Grammys the place the nominated artists carried out back-to-back on totally different elements of a shared stage and bopped their heads awkwardly as they waited their flip. Nonetheless, these performances felt much less static, regardless of happening in a single location, because of utterly revamped units and backgrounds for every artist.

Nonetheless, the present’s visible features, apart from Mary J. Blige’s bedazzled boots and cowboy hat, in fact, was lackluster in comparison with what we’ve seen in recent times.

Within the case of a halftime present captured in broad daylight, there are presumably extra technical difficulties in creating atmospheres consultant of every performer’s aesthetic and ethos—and possibly that was by no means the plan. Nonetheless, the present’s visible features, apart from Mary J. Blige’s bedazzled boots and cowboy hat, in fact, was lackluster in comparison with what we’ve seen in recent times.

In a rousing second that in all probability ought to’ve been positioned towards the top of the present, Dr. Dre was joined by Snoop Dogg to carry out “California Love,” sans a 2pac hologram, fortunately. From right here, we transitioned slightly abruptly to the hilarious picture of fifty Cent hanging the wrong way up from a ceiling and looking out extraordinarily uncomfortable, recreating the music video for “In Da Membership.” As soon as his toes had been on the bottom, he carried out the hit in a room of scantily-clad feminine dancers.

To date, the joy of the present was largely attributable to tune selection and no matter center college flashbacks these prime 40 hits conjured. However Mary J. Blige lastly introduced the theatrical facet of the present with “Household Affair” and an emotive rendition of “No Extra Drama” that led to her collapsing to the ground, like each soul-bearing, reside efficiency ought to immediate. Her presence was actually missed all through the remainder of the present, contemplating her magnetism and the sheer quantity of hits she amassed all through her profession. Moreover, many people watched her carry out a show-stopping medley of hits on the BET Awards in 2019 when she acquired a lifetime achievement honor. It’s a disgrace that the NFL didn’t assume she was worthy of getting this second to herself.

Mary J. Blige performs through the Pepsi Tremendous Bowl LVI Halftime Present at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022, in Inglewood, California.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Kendrick Lamar’s efforts to enliven the present matched Blige’s, as he recreated what appeared like a yard present with male backup dancers all rocking dyed blond hair. He carried out his most rousing hits “m.A.A.d metropolis” and “alright,” the latter of which the gang went wild for. Noticeably, the lyrics “and we hate po-po” had been censored from the tune, a disappointing and predictable negotiation for a mainstream occasion like this. (Alternatively, Dr. Dre was capable of say “nonetheless not loving the police” on “Nonetheless D.R.E.” afterward). Reasonably ominously, Lamar ended his set by transitioning into “Forgot About Dre,” taking us into one of many worst elements of the evening.

Talking of crowd reactions, SoFi stadium appeared much less enthused when Slim Shady confirmed as much as carry out essentially the most predictable tune he might choose, “Lose Your self,” in the identical, previous worn hoodie. There actually isn’t a lot to look at about this explicit second, seeing as if it was as mind-numbingly uninteresting and grating as his ambushing of the final pre-pandemic Oscars. Hopefully, no extra world catastrophes will happen after this efficiency.

Regardless of no matter fond recollections it might have introduced, this 12 months’s halftime present was fairly middling and forgettable amid a earlier decade of show-stopping performances and artists pulling out all of the stops. Moreover, it’s unlucky {that a} historic celebration of hip hop needed to embrace a performer with a well known observe report of bodily abusing ladies and one other who was just lately accused of sexual assault. If something, tonight proved that going with feminine headliners is a safer wager on many ranges.

Supply hyperlink