Here's a prediction for you: This year, the Houston Texans will win the AFC and appear in Super Bowl LI. That may seem like a bold prognostication, but the truth is I make the same call every year and have since the first game of the franchise's first season. It's entirely fine for me to do this. I don't care if I'm wrong. I'd rather be hopeful than realistic in this particular endeavor. Unlike my man Sean Pendergast over there in Sports, I can be blatant about my love for the team and make outlandish wishes for their success and still save face. I write about music. What do I know about football?
So I'm starting to save my pennies in case my number is called in the Super Bowl ticket lotto. Since the game will be here in Houston, it'll be just another home game if the Texans are there. The one thing that would make it remarkably different would be the halftime entertainment. At a routine Texans game, you get acts like Vanilla Ice, Smashmouth, Young MC and -DMC (that's Run-DMC, sans Run). These acts would have been exciting back when the Oilers were fumbling away chances at glory. We know that the NFL is going to create a major spectacle for the hour between halves of a Texans win over Carolina; yes, I'm predicting a Panthers repeat in the big game and a return to yet another Houston-hosted Super Bowl. But which acts are most likely to be tabbed for the event? And if we could dream up a halftime show of our favorites, who might we include?
Word is Lady Gaga is the frontrunner to be the main attraction. But just last month, it was Adele. So, until the contracts are signed and Gaga is shilling for Pepsi, we’re free to ponder the possibilities. We asked some fellow football-slash-music fans whom they believed we’d ultimately see. Here's what they offered:
At least a few of you believe the NFL would bring Beyoncé back, even though it would be her third Super Bowl appearance in five years. Your thinking is the biggest female music superstar in the world would be performing for her hometown crowd. But do people outside of Houston still attach Bey to this city? Is that connection strong enough to garner another appearance? The odds say no.
He's engaging and popular, and we'd embrace him if he graced the halftime show stage. Our own Nathan Smith was the first to suggest "Houston's favorite son." Giant Kitty vocalist Miriam Hakim said, "Given Drake's obsession with and adoption of Houston, I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up on the lineup." The bookmakers have Drizzy in as a near-lock.
Like rain in Houston, I give this about a 70 percent chance of happening. But Houston Press photographer Marco Torres probably correctly assumes, "They won't risk it. He might say or do something crazy. But I'd love to see Kanye bring out Travis Scott and Paul Wall and Bun B and maybe even Beyoncé! And Jay-Z!" West has a way of taking a national spotlight and narrowing it down to a single, blinding stream of light that shines solely on him. Do Houstonians really want their Super Bowls to be remembered for wardrobe and ego malfunctions?
Kemo For Emo's Jake Rawls made an astute observation by suggesting the NFL may turn back time to a conservative, older act, in light of Beyoncé's protest performance last year. "It wouldn't shock me if they try to appease the older crowd again," he noted. "A legacy rock act perhaps like Springsteen. Maybe Foo Fighters if we're lucky." Other geezers mentioned included ZZ Top (locals), Willie Nelson (Texan), Devo (because, yes, this would be amazing). Give any of these old folks and a few others about half a chance to be named to perform.
Because Texas. My pal Tim Engel reminds that Kenny Chesney and Pink have a new song out and they'd be a perfect duo. Each has hit singles to perform, then they'd come together for a duet. You can see that happening, right? It's more likely than some other suggestions (Garth Brooks and George Strait for a half hour. Sounds incredible — will never happen). We all know Taylor Swift is still out there and must be itching for the chance to outdo Katy Perry and the Left Shark. I'd say there's a 70 percent chance we all Get Swifty at this year's halftime show.
WELCOME TO HOUSTON
My cousin in Chicago says he'd like to see Paul Wall; immediately, I envisioned the whole stadium basked in a purple glow. Fans would turn over placards so when they held them in unison, they formed a giant, diamond-encrusted grill. Chamillionaire got a vote and Bun B was mentioned. But really, our rap pimp game isn't as strong as the NFL's money and timidity. You know how they say "never say never?" I'm saying never. Houston's best will be left on the sidelines come February.
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Lady Gaga. Twenty-One Pilots. Pitbull. Rihanna. They're all relevant music makers in 2016 with the global popularity the NFL seeks out for this event. Bet the field, since any (or all?) could be included in the show. The most intriguing vote I saw was from my cousin Dan, who said, "I think we should take a page from the movie Drumline...Kendrick Lamar featuring the TSU Ocean of Soul Marching Band." Dear God (or Roger Goodell, whichever of you is more powerful), please, let's make this happen. Dan's mom, my Tia Di, voted for Marilyn Manson. So, yeah, that tells you a bit about that family.
THE WISH LIST
We all know how these things operate. So, no, we probably won't get to see Fishbone perform "Cholly" at halftime (Sorry, DJ Baby Roo); and even though they have skin in the game and are Houston to the core, we're not going to see 30footFall rubbing elbows with Meaghan Trainor and Jacob Calle. But hey, we can dream, right?
My prediction is Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and 21 Pilots. That trio includes a megastar "country" act, a Texan and a band that's doing well and continuing to grow an audience. But if I had my wish, I'd prefer seeing Kendrick and The Ocean trying to levitate a Super Bowl crowd.