All of the Super Bowl talk this week has given me a chance to ponder one of my favorite pop culture questions: how big do you have to be to perform at the Super Bowl half time show? When you consider the acts that have performed since the 2005 move to one act performances the amount of star power they've managed to book is staggering. We're talking millions upon millions of records sold, iconic nicknames, and first ballot hall of famers.
From a certain perspective, the well is starting to run dry. There are only so many legendary acts that are still performing and have the name value to pull the type of rating the half time show is known for.
So what do the next few half time shows look like? Who has that combination of great music, name recognition, and big show aura?
Superbowl XLVII - New Orleans, LA
Red Hot Chili Peppers Not an obvious choice but an interesting one. This is another case were being high energy really works in their favor as a selection, and they have plenty of upbeat party songs in their catalog to pull upon. The only real question is if they're mainstream famous enough to be a ratings draw. Dust off their cover of "Higher Ground" and get Stevie Wonder to join in and you have the makings for a pretty fun half time performance.
Van Halen If the producers want to play up the party atmosphere of the city then Van Halen seem like a natural choice. They have an excellent collection of rocking songs and a charismatic front man who looks like the type to lead the world's biggest party. If the reunion tour goes well and they prove they can still put on a show they seem like an obvious pick for the short list.
Lil Wayne This would be your dark horse selection. You can't have the game take place in New Orleans and not put Weezy on the short list. It be a controversial choice, which is why it might be a smart choice. You risk potential trouble if the censor isn't on top of things, and while he's one of the 5 biggest rappers in the game, is he Super Bowl famous? It's an extreme long shot, but it's probably the most interesting choice on the list.
Superbowl XLVII - East Rutherford, New Jersey
Bon Jovi Since Springsteen has already had his half time performance, Bon Jovi seems like the most obvious choice available for any show taking place in the Garden State. One thing you can't deny is that they've got a collection of songs that are fitting for the biggest show on Earth. "Living On A Prayer" is the type of song that exists for big moments like this, and there's still a lot of value in the Bon Jovi name.
Jay-Z On the other hand, it's not like New York is particularly far away. At some point a rapper is going to get the chance to take the stage on his own, and when you look at the field Jay-Z really is the top pick. He's famous in a way that few solo acts are without all the pesky worries of being a loose cannon that come with someone like Eminem. That said, they may have to get him to sign some sort of agreement that he'll only perform "Niggas In Paris" one time and one time only.
Super Bowl XLIX - Glendale, Arizona
Metallica This may seem like an odd pick but it really isn't. They're already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they're arguably the only metal act to achieve true crossover mainstream success, and they know how to put on a huge production fitting for a show this size. The only question is whether or not to book them now or to wait and see if San Francisco gets a Super Bowl bid in the near future.
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Foo Fighters One of the few bands that can make the argument for being the biggest band in the world. They consistently release solid records, they have the big rock atmosphere behind them, and I think everyone would be pretty happy to hear "Everlong". Plus, they need the chance to cover a Prince track in return for the version of "Best Of You" he performed in 2007.
KISS When it comes to spectacle no one else really compares. What hurts the band when it comes to consideration is that they've actually already performed at the Super Bowl as part of a larger medley of entertainers. Still, 12 minutes wall to wall of their best bits and stunts? Some people may say silly, but I say classic.
Rihanna Like it or not, The Black Eyed Peas will not be the last jaunt in to pop music for the half time show. When it comes to picking a pop artist for a show like this Rihanna is a pretty safe pick comparatively speaking. If she continues her trend of major albums and singles until 2015 it be hard to argue that she doesn't deserve a shot at performing on Super Sunday.
Garth Brooks Now, just hear me out. Look at the list of who has performed and the artists on this list and you'll notice there are no Country artists. We can't pretend that the genre doesn't exist, and neither should the producers. There are other big name country performers out there but I'm not sure any of them can really bring what he does to the table in terms of name value. A half time show performance might make for an excellent way to break out of his retirement and remind people why he was such a big force in music at one point. Unless something dramatically changes in the next 3 years he remains country's half time hope.