Remember when it actually seemed halfway likely that the Texans could make the Super Bowl this season? Ha! Good times. After the team's collapse down the stretch, highlighted by a couple of humiliating losses to Tom Brady and pals, the only way Matt Schaub will be in the Superdome on this coming Sunday is if he buys a ticket. Might want to hurry, too, because the game may sell out.
Luckily, Houston will still be represented on the field at the Big Game by a far worthier ambassador. The one and only Beyoncé will be the star of the annual halftime spectacular, and unlike some other locals we could name, she's a proven clutch performer.
As the date draws nearer, our imaginations are starting to race. We already know Destiny's Child will make an appearance, and you can probably pencil in Jay-Z at some point too. Could there be other special guests in the offing? Justin Timberlake? Gwyneth Paltrow? Michelle Obama?
And oh my God, what will Bey be wearing?
Vegas is probably taking bets on all of this stuff. But what we're really interested to find out is what Bey will actually sing. After the whole lip-syncing flap at the inauguration, she really needs to bring it. And we've got a few ideas about what the set list should include (and not include, under any circumstances, ever).
It's not quite Gary Kubiak's beloved Denny's menu, but we think we've come up with a solid playbook for Beyoncé's performance. Don't forget to set your DVR:
1. "Crazy in Love"
Let's not overthink this. Beyoncé's debut solo single was an unqualified home run, and it's the only choice to properly kick-start this gig. First off, it's Bey's brassiest song of all time, and you know how much the producers love bringing a marching band out onstage at these things. Plus it gets Jay-Z out for a verse right off the bat, sending the crowd into a tizzy while his wife twerks it for the cameras. With the dynamic duo opening up with guns blazing, no one will dare change the channel.
2. "Check On It" This one has got to make it into the set list, if only to get Slim Thug up onstage during the Super Bowl. "Check On It" sometimes feels like Beyoncé's forgotten No. 1, and it's time to reverse that. In addition to Bey's silky crooning, it's got tremendously danceable, rump-shaking drums by Swizz Beatz and some dandy bars from Slim.
Bun B even dropped in for a verse in the music video, so why not invite him along, too? It'll be like we hopped into a time machine to the heady days of 2005, when Houston ruled the charts for 15 minutes or so.
3. "Halo" OK, Bey, this is your chance. You got roasted on Fox News for allegedly lip-syncing the Anthem at the inauguration. It's time to break out your biggest ballad and prove once again that you've got the pipes to back up that posterior. The Super Bowl halftime folks love to pass out glow sticks and shit for the blimp shots, and this tune is perfect for that. Imagine everybody on the field in New Orleans holding up little light-up halos! All for you, Beyoncé.
At this point, we've kind of moved forward chronologically through Bey's career. It's time to go old-school for a minute.
4. DC3 Medley: "Survivor," "Say My Name," "Bootylicious" After the dazzling lullaby of "Halo," we've got to pump the energy back up for the big finale. Enter Destiny's Child. We can't remember the last time we saw these three performing together on television; probably because they've never appeared on Sons of Anarchy.
Only a medley can really do your roots justice here, Bey. "Survivor" and "Say My Name" will remind everybody of those perfect harmonies, and "Bootylicious" is a song called "Bootylicious" that seriously, definitely needs to be a part of Super Bowl history in some way or another. Make that happen, whatever it takes.
5. "Single Ladies" All right, enough with the games. It's time to go in for the kill. The Destiny's gals can stick around if they want to, but every eye is going to be on Beyoncé for this last number. Expect spectacular leotards, giant guitar riffs, and footage of football players, entertainers and random YouTube weirdos doing the patented "Single Ladies" dance on the Jumbotron.
By the time the roof has been blown off the Superdome, we'll be ready to crown you as our immortal queen, to reign over us in bootylicious splendor for all time. Can't wait!
TOILET BOWL SET LIST The key to winning the Super Bowl is playing mistake-free. That's why we'd better not hear the following songs in New Orleans. Put simply, they suck, and breaking them out on game day would be the equivalent of throwing a pick six in the red zone. You're better than that, Bey.
1. "If I Were a Boy" This insipid ballad may have been a big radio hit, but it's all wrong for the Super Bowl. The Big Game is no platform for gender politics, and the song is boring to boot. Unless you want all of the men at home (and plenty of the women) to go scrambling for the remote, do not, under any circumstances sing "If I Were a Boy" at halftime.
Or ever again, if that's OK with you.
2. "Irreplaceable" This lyrical breakup ballad has never really rung true for us. For one thing, it's too hard to imagine whatever lucky jag Beyoncé deigns to spend time with daring to treat her wrong. Seems like a single icy glare would correct that kind of behavior post-haste; a musical warning seems unnecessary. Besides, at the Super Bowl, we're looking for adulation, not admonishment. This one's a no-go.
3. "Run the World (Girls)" We were all pretty excited when the teaser for this 2011 single hit the Web. Sadly, the song turned out to be awful. Hell, it's barely a song. It's just sort of Beyoncé screaming "Girls!" over a spare snatch of a Major Lazer sample. Let's bury it along with the rest of 4, OK? Any objections?