Bruno Mars drum-soloed, stutter-stepped and sang his way through the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show on Sunday (February 2) for an invigorating, if predictable, 15 minutes of retro-tinged (and, in the case of that Red Hot Chili Peppers cameo, legitimately retro) entertainment. It was a master class in pop class, and while it didn’t give us a “shocking” moment to pretend to care about for the next week, it also didn’t bore us. After Nipplegate and Miley’s twerking and Kanye’s rants, it’s kind of refreshing to see a solid performance, enjoy it in the moment and then not have to think about it ever again.
That’s our take, at least. As for the rest of the Web, the consensus seems to be that Mars turned in a workmanlike performance, that his vocals were live and that RHCP’s presence was a little befuddling. Head below for the roundup of reviews.
:: Entertainment Weekly called it ”a polished, shiny set oddly interrupted for a moment by shirtless 50-year-olds… It wouldn’t be inaccurate to describe the set as flawless. Memorable? Maybe less so.”
:: Buzzfeed was dazzled, highlighting Bruno’s drumming and dancing, but their final judgment was levied thusly: “Was it as good as Beyoncé last year? Oh, ha, no. Of course not!”
:: Vulture also couldn’t avoid comparing it to Bey, asking, “So did Bruno Mars do his Super Bowl predecessor justice? And is it even fair to compare the two?” The site concluded, “Mars played by the rules, checked all the boxes and undoubtedly caused quite a few Americans to log on to iTunes to purchase his album, Unorthodox Jukebox. But will we still be talking about it tomorrow, let alone in 2015? Not likely.”
:: MTV felt Mars delivered: “With his broken-ankle James Brown footwork and splits, the Elvis Pompadour and the GIF-worthy swagger, Mars looked the part of a stadium-rocker.”
:: E! felt he “killed it” and “held his own” compared to Bey’s spectacle.
:: Variety posited, “Though it lacked the Olympian heft of Beyonce’s stand last year, or the sheer spectacle and requisite FCC-trolling of Madonna’s pageantry the year previous, Mars relied on a lot of flash, a hefty dose of Famous Flames-style stagecraft, and a requisite hat tip to the military for a winningly unprepossessing performance.”
:: The L.A. Times made the unavoidable Beyonce comparison as well. “Was it hopelessly retro compared to Beyoncé’s bold electro-pop display? Sure. But with its live-wire electricity, the performance didn’t feel that way. Or at least it didn’t until Red Hot Chili Peppers showed up.”
:: USA Today, though, was not impressed. “The Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show was a wholly unspectacular production that will join Tom Petty and The Who in the annals of instantly-forgettable halftime entertainment.”