, somebody found a more entertaining use for Cowboys Stadium's gigantic video board than punting footballs into it.
The Black Eyed Peas, who were lowered onto the Super Bowl stage from the massive HD scoreboard, delivered a 15-minute halftime performance layered with spectacle and studded with guest stars. The Peas are frequently derided for being pop music aimed at the lowest common denominator -- and make no mistake: the songs comprising the set list were not artistic gems -- but the quartet did exactly what a Super Bowl halftime show should -- it entertained.
The performance would've been plenty engaging, even without cameos from former Guns 'N Roses guitarist Slash (while Fergie wailed through "Sweet Child O'Mine" and R superstar Usher (who offered up an abbreviated "OMG," produced by the Peas' will.i.am). 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 (so did the glow sticks distributed to the crowd; never one to leave anything to chance, the Peas even had instructions on when to activate the glow sticks on the scoreboard). Near the show's conclusion, a few dancers sported illuminated, cubed headpieces that lent avant garde overtones to the affair.
The setlist spanned most of BEP's more recent career; current hits like "The Time (Dirty Bit)" were blended with older hits like "Pump It" (which featured the Prairie View A University marching band).
It was not the greatest halftime performances of all time. But what it did do was confirm that the classic rockers have had their moment. Youthful energy is far more compelling at the Super Bowl than creaky guitar rock.Pregame fizzles
The pregame entertainment provided its share of memorable moments, too.Glee's Lea Michele, surrounded by members of the Air Force's Tops in Blue choir, delivered a competent but not especially showy rendition of America The Beautiful
. It won't go down as one of the all-time great Super Bowl musical performances, but it wasn't a train wreck.
The same can't be said for Grammy winner Christina Aguilera, who joined a staggering list of Super Bowl stumbles (bad weather, seat problems, et cetera) by flubbing the lyrics toThe Star Spangled Banner
(she completely dropped the line "O'er the ramparts we watched/Were so gallantly streaming"). Although she dialed down her usual over-the-top melisma (save for a few quick runs here and there), Aguilera simply failed to get the lyrics right, which, given the fact that she's done this before, is a little baffling. There was plenty of online snark before the game that Aguilera would drag the anthem out well past the appropriate point with lots of vocal runs, but instead, she'll become the butt of an entirely different set of jokes.Tailgate party sizzles
Well before the game, the exclusive NFL Tailgate party provided perhaps the most star-studded event of Super Bowl Sunday. You had to keep your head on a near-constant swivel because everywhere you turned, there was a celebrity. Hey, look -- it's Hugh Jackman! Over there -- Andy Roddick! Is that Jamie Foxx? Hey, there goes Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones!
Playing Spot the Star was fun, but the real reason I was near the NFL Tailgate party was to check out the performances by Keith Urban and Maroon 5. Each was made available to the press very briefly, and both acts were excited to be in Arlington and performing near Cowboys Stadium.
"Yeah, it was an amazing time, getting to play in there," Urban said backstage, speaking of his previous appearance in Arlington in November during the Thanksgiving Day game. He said he wouldn't be in the stadium for the Super Bowl game though, preferring to watch on TV, so "I can see the commercials."
Urban went first on the NFL Tailgate stage, performing a 45-minute set that was partially broadcast live as part of Fox's pregame coverage.
Maroon 5 performed at the DirecTV Super Bowl party in Victory Park on Saturday, and were back at it Sunday afternoon. The band, who had a few Steelers and Packers fans lurking on their buses, was glad to be here.
"It's bigger than we are, so it's kind of fun to add to it and be part of the festivities," said frontman Adam Levine backstage. "I've never been to a Super Bowl, so I'm very excited. It's an amazing, bucket list [type] event."
The band ripped through an energetic 45-minute set that drew heavily from its latest album,Hands All Over.