Super Bowl XLVIII is still five months away, but the hype has already started: pop sensation Bruno Mars will headline the annual Halftime Show concert. Mars has big shoes to fill: Beyoncé brought the house down last year, and previous performers include Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, the Black Eyed Peas and The Who. Here are three reasons to get excited for the end of the first two quarters of gameplay.
1. Bruno Mars is a pop/R&B showman. In the vein of Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars has proven himself adept at the art of engaging live performances in recent years. Between his epic Sting collaboration and his tribute to the Marley family on this year’s Grammys, he’s demonstrated a knack for collaborating with a wide range of musical styles and generations, an important quality for a show that encourages special guests to broaden the already massive Super Bowl audience. His choreography is impressive, and that voice! I’ll be perfectly happy to watch that for fifteen minutes in the middle of a bloated, show-long commercial for Doritos and Pepsi.
Bruno Mars is broadly appealing. Whether you’re watching with your old-fashioned grandmother or your five year-old son, your college bros or your uptight colleagues, Super Bowl audiences of any age won’t be able to resistance Mars’ intergenerational charms. The kids love him because he’s feisty and energetic; the adults love him because his songs acknowledge and pay tribute to his forebears, from Elton John and Sting to Prince and Justin Timberlake. His songs aren’t candy-coated or airbrushed, but for the most part they seek to entertain and include rather than offend and provoke. (Exception: the sex-laced jam “Gorilla,” which he performed dazzlingly on the VMAs earlier this month.) And he’s got a smile that’ll light up any living room, no matter how many slightly drunk guests and strewn pizza boxes are harshing the buzz.
Bruno Mars is unpretentious. Critics have praised his Unorthodox Jukebox tour for giving equal weight to his band members and fellow dancers, as he demonstrated with his television performances of “Treasure” earlier this year. His music videos complement the songs without distorting their meaning or inflating their own importance. He rarely goes for the shock value or the buzzworthy moment. He’s the reliably excellent, controversy-free pop superstar of our time. See you on February 2nd.