When Bruno Mars was announced to perform the halftime show for Super Bowl XLVIII in December, all that followed was a bunch of skepticism because he is 28 years old, the youngest person to have this honor in 13 years and decades younger than halftime show alums such as The Who and Prince. Mars has only released two records, and compared to Bruce Springsteen, that doesn’t even cover a greatest hits album. So the question is, can Bruno Mars handle the pressure of entertaining an audience of approximately 100 million people? Well that answer would be a yes. Starting the show with a children’s chorus gathered handin- hand, singing Mars, part in the collaborated song “Billionaire” with Travie McCoy and repeating the line “The World Better Prepare,” was a sweet transition into Mars’ drum solo, showing that we have a real musician on our hands. Starting off with a drum solo could be a risky move. People tend to lose interest, but Mars knew exactly what he was doing by keeping it a short solo while sitting on a stage at the 50-yard line that was making its way to the main stage to kick off his next number. Decked out in a gold blazer, along with his touring backup band and dancers, they joined the singer for speedy renditions of the reggae-tinged “Locked Out of Heaven,” and the R&B hit “Treasure” from his Grammy award-winning album “Unorthodox Jukebox.” Mars performed with such power and showmanship, killing any doubt that he couldn’t handle this. During “Runaway Baby,” Mars dropped in some fancy footwork that was James Brown’s signature and then incorporated a couple of lines from the Isley Brothers’ song “Shout.”
Mars may have been an unexpected choice for the halftime show, but when the Red Hot Chili Peppers were announced to perform along side him, it made it even more unusual. But together, they produced some strange but wonderful magic by effortlessly slipping their percussions for the song “Give it Away,” into the headliners of Mars’ song “Runaway Baby,” creating this beautiful duet between the two acts that were on a mission to prove everyone wrong and make a statement that they do belong on that stage.
After just one short song, the Red Hot Chili Peppers vacated the premises, leaving Mars to bring his set to a close with the delicate “Just the Way You Are” on a small intimate stage on the 50-yard line, where he started the show on his drum kit.
During the performance, there was a video montage being played with dedications from servicemen and women to their loved ones that didn’t leave a dry eye in any living room across the country. Mars ended his song with a smile that went from ear to ear, proving that he was a risk worth taking. Overall, the halftime show was entertaining and fun but most importantly, refreshing. It was nice to see an artist actually perform for the music’s sake and not for the shock factor that will keep society talking for the next three months, such as Miley Cyrus and her wrecking ball. Mars came and conquered and delivered a startto- fi nish impressive Super Bowl show.