Your Take: Super Stars

Karlie Justus Marlowe | February 5th, 2011

For many, the highlight of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV will have nothing to do with football players. Between the parties, food, commercials and beer, the game can often be of secondary importance.

And then, of course, there’s the half-time performance.

This year’s show marks an interesting comeback of the female variety, reports the Orlando Sentinel:

Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction put such a scare in Super Bowl organizers that they stopped choosing women to headline the halftime show.

The split-second flash of flesh took place in 2004.

For the remainder of the decade the most-watched intermission on the planet remained a platform reserved for men who were middle-aged and, in some cases, geriatric.

-Paul McCartney in ’05.
-The Rolling Stones ’06.
-Prince ’07.
-Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers ’08.
-Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band ’09.

There has been an even longer country music drought, with nary a country performer in the half-time festivities since Shania Twain in 2003 and the 1994 country-themed performance by Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and The Judds.

What country music performer do you think could hold his or her own in a Super Bowl half-time performance? What is your favorite sporting event performance by an artist – national anthem, half-time show or otherwise?

  1. Andrew
    February 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

    When I think of someone who could do the Super Bowl and do it well, the first person who comes to mind for me is Brad Paisley. His live show is fantastic.

  2. Michael A.
    February 5, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I think Garth Brooks would be the obvious choice.

  3. Ben Foster
    February 5, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Carrie Underwood could do the Super Bowl any day. She’d put on a great show. I could also see Reba doing it. And how about Faith Hill? She sings the SNF theme! The Super Bowl halftime show would be a piece of cake.

  4. Paul W Dennis
    February 5, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I think Vince Gill or Brad Paisley would be the obvious choices since they both are exceptional musicians in addition to being singers

  5. Barry Mazor
    February 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

    What I notice is that the acts they choose have really massive, and usually, a noticeable level of inclusive, conrinuing, cross-generational appeal, which is why there have been so few acts from later than the 80s (with 70s preferred) –so far. And an emphasis on pop.

    I’m not sure that there Istill are many 1970s/80s country acts with mass appeal cross-generationally, unless maybe it’s Dolly. George Strait and Alan Jackson together? (Though the Garth suggestion makes sense, for sheer size of impact and “event” status, and they might be able to do something like multi-generations of country women–Dolly/Martina/Carrie–that sort of thing..

  6. luckyoldsun
    February 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

    “I think Vince Gill or Brad Paisley would be the obvious choices since they both are exceptional musicians in addition to being singers”

    I think it’s amusing that you think that a 10-minute show in front of 70,000 loud up football fans is a place where exceptional musicianship would be particularly prized.

    The show needs somebody who’s immediately recognizable, loud and supremely self confident. Garth, Chesney or Toby could probably do it. Hank Jr.–because of his MNF theme probably could have pulled it off ten years ago, but I’m not sure about now. I don’t think older country musicians maintain the currency and relevance of rockers like McCartney, the Rolling Stones, or Petty.

  7. Paul W Dennis
    February 5, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Do I think the swarming masses would really have a sophisticated appreciation fo Gill or Paisley ? No, I do not.

    Does it really matter ? The Superbowl is a sellout and would be a sellout if the half-time entertainment provided was Paul W Dennis & His Over The Hill Gang or some random street act

  8. Stormy
    February 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I think that really only Reba or Garth have the theatricality to do the half-time show. Maybe Taylor Swift sing they are proving this year that singing isn’t a requirement.

  9. Jonathan
    February 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

    The first person coming to my mind is Kenny Chesney. How is the super bowl anything different than his concert tours? I was hoping he would be the act this year since the venue is Dallas. But I’m actually looking forward to the Black Eyed Peas.

    As for female acts, I completely agree with Carrie Underwood. She would do a wonderful job. Also, add Miranda Lambert to the mix. She’d do a great job as well.

    Another act who would do an exceptional job would be Zac Brown Band. I could see them creating a half time show to remember. I know not everyone is on board with them, but they are one of the best groups/bands in country today.

    Also, Sugarland would do a great job. Putting opinions of their latest album aside, they put on one heck of a show and would be perfect in the Super Bowl setting.

    But if we’re looking for someone to best represent country music, I would go with either Miranda, Carrie, or Zac Brown.

  10. Fizz
    February 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve always found the halftime show to be pretty underwhelming. Example: I’m a big fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but the way they rushed through a twelve-minute set consisting of four abridged songs (with three of the songs being Petty solo hits–although the line between TP solo and with the HB’s has always been blurry) is typical of this overrated thing.

    And, unlike the article quoted above, I don’t think the NFL and the network were scared of women after the Janet Jackson fiasco. They were scared of anybody with an outrageous molecule left in their body. You can trust fossils like McCartney, the Stones, Petty (God bless him, he looked almost as bad as Keith Richards!), or Springsteen not to do anything remotely outside-the-box at this point in their careers. Even Prince is a Jehovah’s Witness (and was probably made to promise he wouldn’t play “Darling Nikki,” just in case).

    For a country artist, I could see someone like Garth Brooks or George Strait. Alan Jackson’s music to me is a little too laid-back for halftime at the Super Bowl(TM), which is a nice way of saying he might put the crowd and players to sleep. Tom McGraw, with or without Faith Hill, might work as well. For more recent artists, I can agree with Paisley, and maybe Chesney too. For a female, Carrie Underwood might work, if you could peel her off the locker-room floor long enough to sing a couple songs. And of course, Reba has the mass appeal.

  11. highwayman3
    February 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    “Maybe Taylor Swift sing they are proving this year that singing isn’t a requirement.”

    I don’t think singing was ever a requirement at the super bowl. People have lip synched it for years. They encourage them to. Everyone from Shania to Whitney Houstons national anthem, matching their lips to match pre-recorded tracks.

  12. sheldon
    February 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Dolly is my choice… On her last concert tour, she told the audience that “there will be no wardrobe malfunctions, and its a good thing, çause if these let loose, they’d take out the first three rows!!”

  13. Nicolas
    February 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    ^ Lmao, God I love Dolly Parton <3

  14. WAYNOE (pseudonym)
    February 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Hank Jr. He has a built-in audience already. Secondly, in Texas anyway, how could you not think of Strait?

  15. J.R. Journey
    February 5, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Neat topic.

    I don’t think there are very many current hitmakers who could rightly represent country music to the world’s largest audience. A few that wouldn’t embarrass us too much, IMO, would be: Sugarland, Kenny Chesney, possibly Tim McGraw and/or Faith Hill, and Taylor Swift. Faith isn’t really a hitmaker these days, but she still carries A-list status. Same with Shania Twain, though with her extended absence, an appearance right now would just seem like a retro throwback.

    I second Stormy’s comment about Garth Brooks and Reba. I always wondered why Garth didn’t headline a Super Bowl half-time show in his booming ’90s. And I’d love to see Dolly up there, but I’m not sure whether her performance would be as grand as if she were on the bill 20 years ago.

  16. Barry Mazor
    February 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Current hit-makers, as people keep noting, are almost never Super Bowl acts.

    I would amend my women of country cross-generational trio to Dolly/Reba/C Carrie after listening to others’ suggestions here. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that either.

  17. Steve M.
    February 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    They are in Dallas for this year-the obvious choice should have been George Strait.

  18. luckyoldsun
    February 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I’d sooner put Ray Price in to do the SB half-time show than Dolly or Reba.

  19. Carrie
    February 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Now that I think about it, I’m rather surprised that Kenny Chesney hasn’t done a Super Bowl. That seems like a slam dunk, although generally country music is still polarizing and a huge chunk of the population is very “I like anything but country.” Sometimes, though, I think Kenny Chesney transcends that (though I don’t personally count myself as a fan).

    I’ve generally found that NASCAR does a good job with incorporating music with their events. There are almost always concerts tied in with the races, and this year they are using a reworked version of Dierks Bentley’s “Sideways” for the season. (And he’s performing at the Daytona 500.)

  20. Benny
    February 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    How about Kenny Rogers? His face might look weird nowadays, but he’s an all-American legend and stretching all kinds of genres…

  21. yoli
    February 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Carrie Underwood and Garth Brooks would be pretty cool.

  22. Jo Jo
    February 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Carrie Underwood for sure! If you have been to one of her concerts, you know why. She is an amazing live performer and entertainer.

  23. Jo Jo
    February 5, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I’m gonna guess right now that Carrie will be the half-time performer next year. It will be perfect time, with a new album just released and a new tour likely to be about to start. Great exposure, and I stated above, she is a phenomenal entertainer. Carrie for Super Bowl XLVI Half Time show!

  24. Mojo Bone
    February 5, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Given the ‘event’ status that Superbowl halftime organizers have shot for up to this point, I doubt there’s a single living country artist that would make the cut. Maybe Garth has enough hits and crossover appeal, but his current retired-except-for-Vegas status undercuts his viability as a ‘surprise comeback artist’. I’m pretty sure this year’s choice was a matter of ‘somebody suggested it and no one could think of a reasonable objection’, since the Black-Eyed Peas don’t really have the sort of twenty-year pedigree I would associate with recent SB halftime spectacles.In fact, I can think of only two artists that might fit that bill and haven’t done a Superbowl already: Madonna and KISS.They can’t afford Madonna, (yet)and I doubt KISS are PC enough to suit the NFL. Maybe they could get U2 again.

  25. Saving Country Music
    February 5, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift are about the only two names I can think of that would have enough star power to bust through the football-bias towards country acts, aside from Jr’s long-running bit. Problem is, Garth made the NFL mad in 1992, when he was supposed to preform the anthem, but insisted they play an uncomfortable video for “We Shall Be Free” that showed people getting beaten, others shooting up with needles, and crosses burning. When the NFL said no, Garth walked out of the stadium until the NFL caved and played the video.

    Problem with Taylor of course, is she can’t sing.

  26. luckyoldsun
    February 6, 2011 at 1:02 am

    They can’t afford Madonna????

    People say the weirdest things.

  27. Fizz
    February 6, 2011 at 2:08 am

    As far as Kiss goes, I’m surprised they haven’t as well. And while they have a reputation for being lyrically raunchy, they have more than enough songs to fill a halftime show that say absolutely nothing. “Shout It Out Loud,” “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You” (yeah, it’s a cover), and some others, and of course “Rock ‘n’ Roll Alll Nite” is so ubiquitous nobody even notices that it sounds like it’s about strippers anymore. They’d do it too. Gene $immon$ would drive a hard bargain, but they’d do it.

  28. luckyoldsun
    February 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Gene $immon$ would drive a hard bargain, but they’d do it.???

    Geez, people here write as if the SB producers have to persudade/beg has-been acts to do the halftime show. These artists would run over their grandmothers to do the show. It would be their biggest performance in their lives. Plus it would be the best advertisement they could possibly make to the world that they’re still in business–and that they belong in some elite class with the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Springsteen. Even any current hitmaking artist would jump at the chance to do the show, but for the acts that are out of the limelight, the suggestion that it would be some sort of imposition on them is ridiculous.

  29. Stormy
    February 6, 2011 at 11:40 am
  30. Lewis
    February 6, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Since The Blackeyed Peas was announced at least 6 months in advance to be the half time entertainment, I’m quite sure that the NFL wanted a big name group other than the older generation in the past few years to entertain. I’m also pretty sure that they have probably already have next year’s halftime show planned out where the Super Bowl is going to be next year. Hopefully Fergie doesn’t do a Janet Jackson on us (LOL!).

    With that being said, I could say that Kenny Chesney could handle a Super Bowl halftime show as could Keith Urban since he has appeared on several NFL related shows singing this past year. Carrie Underwood should be considered as well as Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.

    And the only country singer that I know about that has sang the National Anthem live pre-Shania and the pre-recorded track is Charley Pride and that was in the 1970’s.

  31. Barry Mazor
    February 6, 2011 at 11:57 am

    The Blackeyed Peas no doubt have a degree of cross-racial and class appeal that made up for not being middle-aged to old!

    You don’t see country stars more often on something like the Super Bowl where (hate to mention it), millions on millions watching will not go for country music of any stripe, don’t follow it and don’t care about it. It’s the most diverse audience television gets.

    (It’s also true that the audience for mainstream country is large enough in and of itself now to support all those fairly redundant prime time awards shows on its own, shows with as much following, sometimes more, than the broader Grammy Awards. Super Bowl advertisers and network programmers are after something broader than larger than the CMA Awards audience. If certain country acts can get them there, by having a following larger than the country audience, they’d be considered.–as Shania Twain was at that time.)

  32. Fizz
    February 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Yes, Gene $immon$ would jump at the chance to play the Super Bowl … but not for free. KI$$ don’t give discounts.

  33. Matt B
    February 6, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Hmm, artists that would appeal to Superbowl programmers?

    Garth, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and Sugarland are on the shortlist IMO and then, possibly Shania Twain again. Jason Aldean also might make for an interesting inclusion, giving how popular he seems to be becoming. That being said, I think that the first four are the only ones who could be considered any logical choice to appeal to many. Then Again, I don’t know how many people really watch that, I know people I’ve been around usually don’t.

  34. Kyle
    February 7, 2011 at 1:30 am

    I think Kenny Chesney or Keith Urban would be pretty safe bets. Paisley has less crossover appeal, but has enough guitar chops to put on a heckuva show regardless of what you like. Zac Brown Band is an interesting suggestion, but I’m not sure they have the charisma and theatrics necessary for that kind of spectacle.

    Underwood and Swift are probably also popular enough, but I don’t really claim them as country anymore.

  35. Thomas
    February 7, 2011 at 5:41 am

    …gurf morlix?

  36. numberonecountryfan
    February 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I think we can all agree that Carrie Underwood’s version of the national anthem is FAR superior to Christina Aguilera’s (at the Super Bowl).

  37. Vicki
    February 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

    There’s a twitition (twitter petition) going around for Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood to do the Halftime show next year.

  38. Jo Jo
    February 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Vicki, how can I find this petition? I want to sign it for sure! Do you know what twitter account it was started under??

  39. Fizz
    February 7, 2011 at 11:39 am

    “Mr. Goodell? Mr. Goodell!” There’s a petition going around, a bunch of people on Twitter, and they want us to have Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood for next year’s halftime show. Just thought you should know.”

    “TWITTER! Oh-em-gee! That’s serious shiznit right there! Get on it, Herb!”

  40. Jo Jo
    February 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Nevermind, I found the twitter page. Here it is if anyone else wants to sign it:

  41. M.C.
    February 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    There had been negotiations for Garth to do the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008, but the talks broke down somewhere along the way.
    He can be fairly demanding in such situations; you may remember back in 1993, when he performed the National Anthem, earlier on that Super Bowl Sunday Garth demanded that the network show his new video before his performance, or he would refuse to perform the song. Neither the NFL nor the network appreciated that power play, it was reported.

  42. Reagan
    February 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t know which was worse: last night’s halftime show or a senior citizen attempting to relive his glory years screaming about a “teenage wasteland”!

  43. gloria
    February 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I could see Garth or Keith Urban. Maybe putting Keith and John Mayer together would be a good show IMO! They both play killer guitar! Anything would beat that mess they had last night! Proves more and more singers can’t make it without studio help! But I guess it would be hard to perform in just an alotted amount of time. You just get started and wham it’s over. I thought Keith performed good on the two songs he did at the pre-show. A lot better than Maroon 5.

  44. luckyoldsun
    February 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I don’t know what Kiss do or don’t do, but I don’t think that an event that presents Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty would have to stretch its budget to bring in Kiss–if the producers had any interest in inviting them, anyway.

  45. Fizz
    February 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Absolutely, LuckyOldSun. I’m just saying there would be some serious negotiating going on, not a matter of “Wanna do the Super Bowl?” “Hell yes!” “Sign here!” the way some people are making it out.

  46. Jon
    February 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I think the discussion of the business aspects of a Super Bowl appearance by people who, as best one can tell, know nothing about said business is pretty amusing. I wonder, for instance, why anyone would take as given that entertainers would be paid anything substantial – or ask to be paid anything substantial – for such an appearance. I’m not saying it’s not true, but it’s a very poor assumption, and as best one can tell, none of those who are discussing the putative magnitude of the putative performance fees have any actual knowledge of whether such fees are typically paid in the first place.

  47. luckyoldsun
    February 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Well, I suppose we know that professional entertainers typically get paid for…entertaining. That’s kind of the definition of a professional entertainer. And we keep hearing about how the SB generates scores of millions of dollars in advertising revenue, with the price of a single 30-second spot going for 8 figures–so it would be odd indeed if the producers would ask an enterainer to treat it as a charity event–like AIDS or flood relief–and do it gratis.

    Nonetheless, it’s also apparent that being named as the core headliner during the SB would be a tremendous boost to an artist’s stature and would create additional income opportunities. So unless an artist has some philosophical objection to the game of football or to network television or has something else really important to do on a Sunday in February, it would be irrational to turn down this particular gig.

  48. Jon
    February 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    You probably think that, being professional entertainers, artists get paid the big bucks for appearing on, oh, the Grammy awards show. Or the CMAs. Or Leno. Or the Grand Ole Opry. None of which are, or are treated like, charity events. Like I said, amusing.

  49. luckyoldsun
    February 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Actually, Carson used to joke about the fact that guests were paid union scale. That was well-known. I’m sure the rates have gone up since then, but I doubt it’s a major moneymaker.

    The Grammys and Oscars and CMA’s do have some sort of charity aspect. They have highfalutin names like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the one and the something-or-other Recording Academy for the others. And the live audiences consist of the artist’s peers–As far as I know, they don’t sell tickets to the public. The impression that’s given is that artists perform on these shows for the honor and accolades of their peers and that the revenues raised go toward education, helping down-and-out artists, etc.

    A-list country stars speak of their appearances on the Opry as part of their efforts to give something back and keep their connection with the past and the legends. They certainly suggest that it’s a financial sacrifice for them.

    The Super Bowl is an unabashed celebration of capitalism and financial success and excess; individual tickets sell for well in excess of $1,000 and the TV rights go for some unimaginable amount; so it would be odd indeed if they asked musicians to work for free.

    I assume that you in your mystical divine wisdom know all this, so you’re just doing some chain pulling from your mayonaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls’ porch.

  50. Jon
    February 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    What I know is – and it’s confirmed with every post – that you really have no idea of what you’re talking about with respect to these matters. Which is pretty much what I said was amusing to begin with.

    the promotional value of appearing on national TV, whether on the Super Bowl, late night talk shows, awards shows, etc. is generally held to be sufficiently high to allow them to book talent at a minimal cost. And that’s why, even without having dug up the USA Today piece before now, I thought it was kind of funny that some folks were charging ahead with talk of budgets, negotiations, fees, etc.

  51. Fizz
    February 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

    “Minimal costs” in the entertainment world would still be a serious chunk of change to regular folks like us, though, especially for fifteen minutes work.

    Does saying “putative” give you wood, Jon?

  52. Dr. No
    February 8, 2011 at 10:02 am

    LOL Gotta love Fizz.

  53. Jon
    February 8, 2011 at 10:37 am

    “Minimal costs” in the entertainment world would still be a serious chunk of change to regular folks like us…

    Well, no. And I guess we don’t need to ask what gives Fizz a thrill; it’s obviously talking with confidence on subjects about which he knows nothing.

  54. Jon
    February 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Gotta love Fizz.

    I’m sure he’ll be excited to learn at long last that there’s someone who feels that way.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist…

  55. Fizz
    February 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Hey man, no need to apologize for the insult. Just for its utter lameness. Dude wants to talk about MY skills as a humorist. Hell, Jon attempting a joke is like Casey Kasem’s steak-grilling tips.

  56. Josh
    February 10, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I’d go for Keith Urban since he has a lot of cross appeal and he damn well can pull of any rock songs out there…I will duck down and hide if anyone disagrees with me, but I really think KU can pull of a rock theme any day and time. I always thought the Super Bowl concerts were all about the current trends and new appearances of musical stardom/creativity. Apparently Black Eyed Peas scored on that one with their outlandish setting…

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