When the football gods appointed Bruno Mars as Super Bowl XLVIII halftime performer, my response was "Oh, really? Hm. Okay. Neat." As ubiquitous and critically acclaimed as he is, Mars was an unexpected choice. Do I think he's a bad pick? No way. Just surprising. No disrespect to Bruno Mars, but the Super Bowl halftime show headliner slot is typically reserved for rock legends or pop icons. Duh, he is a big star, but I don't think it's controversial to say that he has yet to achieve the legend status of a Madonna or a Rolling Stones.
BUT! As Kevin Rutherford at Radio.com writes, "He may not have the 10-page resume of some of his predecessors, but for now, Mars is one of the best choices the show could possibly choose if it wants to bring in younger viewers – and win over older viewers with throwback tunes." A fair point! I like Bruno Mars, my mom likes Bruno Mars, shoot. Why am I being coy? Just about everyone likes Bruno Mars. As far as appealing to multiple generations goes, he's actually a very smart pick. Okay, football gods. I'm onto you.
Following the "Expect the unexpected" theme of the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are also part of the lineup. Oh, really? Hm. Okay. Neat. Don't get me wrong, I believe that we can count on Bruno Mars and RHCP to put on a great show (both acts are outstanding live performers), but part of me wonders how much material it'll give us to gab about around the water cooler that following Monday beyond, "Well, that was an unexpected pairing." Because I'm all about gabbing around the water cooler, apparently.
Super Bowl halftime shows of years past have been scandalous, controversial, and life-changing. (Oh, your life wasn't changed by Beyoncé's performance? Bummer) Hella remember-worthy. I'd have to do some Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind shit to erase those performances from my mind. Do I think Mars and RHCP have what it takes to reach that degree of memorableness (that's a word? Fine. I'm sticking with it)? Well... I do.
Why? Because ANYTHING is possible during a Super Bowl halftime show. Even a crazy performance from the seemingly not controversial Bruno Mars. Remember: We don't know what Mars or RHCP have in store for us. And remember: No one saw The Blackout coming. No one saw M.I.A.'s bird flip coming. No one saw Nipplegate coming. We could very well be blindsided by Mars and RHCP causing two blackouts, flipping two birds, and exposing two pierced nipples. It'd be one for the books.
Do I actually expect Bruno Mars and RHCP will do any of the above? Of course not. It'd be absurd. Even so, I genuinely think that the performance has "edgy potential." Why? A few reasons:
Though Bruno Mars' debut album was released in 2010, he's a relatively "new" artist as far as the Super Bowl is concerned. Traditionally, the stars of the Super Bowl halftime show more are more "seasoned" (I couldn't think of a nicer way to say "older") acts. And though the Red Hot Chili Peppers are more "seasoned" than Bruno Mars/have been around for decades, they aren't a classic rock band. They're still a current alternative band. And the Super Bowl rarely gives stage time to an alt rock band. (No Doubt's 2003 show excepted.) This might be one of the more unconventional Super Bowl halftime show lineups, and that factor makes things pretty exciting.
He's Not That Innocent
Despite Mars' "safe" reputation and cutie-patootie appearance, he's not that squeaky-clean: In 2010, he was arrested for cocaine possession. No, I'm not predicting that he'll blow lines on stage, just addressing that fact that he does have a little edge to him. I am not judging, nor am I endorsing. Simply remarking.
Bruno Mars + Red Hot Chili Peppers = A Weird, Potentially Cool Combo
Like I said, both Mars and RHCP are amazing live performers. Mars can sing like nobody's business and RHCP are a real-deal rock band. Put 'em together, and what have we got? We don't know yet! It could be peanut butter and marshmallow creme (I'm in), or it could be peanut butter and popcorn (strange, but builds character). Either way, it's worth a watch.
Mars' Songs Can Be Dirty
His G-rated cherub reputation or whatever is kind of amusing, given the extremely mature content of his lyrics. He can be quite the dirty bird! In his hit song "Locked Out of Heaven," he sings, "Open up your gates 'cause I can't wait to see the light/And right there is where I wanna stay" and "But swimming in your water is something spiritual." BRUNO! Well, I NEVER. What's that you say? His song "Gorilla" is about a rough, cocaine-fueled sexcapade? In said song he warns/sings, "In this jungle you can't run"? BRUNO!!!!! WHAAAT?!?!?!??!
What do his naughty (barf I hate that word) lyrics mean for the Super Bowl? Perhaps a very naughty (BARF) Super Bowl.
The "Gorilla" music video (see screengrab above) stars Freida Pinto as a pole dancer. Ooh, risqué! And when Mars performed "Gorilla" at the EMAs, part of his stage show included a pole dancer. Ooh, risqué, again! Might he have a racy stage show in store for us on Super Bowl Sunday? Will the FCC be chill about it? WHO KNOWS?!
Sex = Party Starter
In the April 2013 issue of GQ, Mars said he likes singing about sex and that "Sex is a great party starter." Will he use sex to get the party started (whatever that means. The possibilities are endless!) at the Super Bowl? Will the FCC be chill about it? WHO KNOWS?!?!?!??!
Socks on Cocks
If RHCP decide to wear their NSFW sock "costumes" during the halftime show, the wardrobe malfunction potential would be out of this world. Would the FCC be chill about it? WHO KNOWS?!??!! Eh, who am I kidding? The answer is no. No, they would not be chill about cock socks. But boy howdy, would it be a fun thing to happen on live television!