As it turns out, there are far, far duller ways to pass the time at a half-time show than counting the wrinkles on classic rockers. Like counting the times in just the past few months we've seen the Black Eyed Peas on television doing pretty much this same schtick they did at the Super Bowl. If you want to make sure you have the least anticipated Bowl half-time in modern history, a sure bet is to book a group that would show up to play a supermarket ribbon-cutting.
The Super Bowl's producers spent the last few years trying to avoid any chance of another wardrobe malfunction, after the Janet 'n' Justin fracas, resulting in a succession of post-50 superstars like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and the Who. Come back, AARP-rockers... all is forgiven.
If you felt like Tron Legacy missed a bet by not having Jeff Bridges lead a war platoon's worth of boogying hoofers at the climax, Super Bowl XLV made up for that missed opportunity.
Also, Usher did the splits. We can only imagine the legions of seamstresses employed to make sure those pants could survive nuclear fission.
Special guest star Slash, playing lead guitar while Fergie sang "Sweet Child of Mine"? Dancers with boxes on their heads? That conceptual gambit isn't any fresher now than it was when the Peas brought out the box-heads on multiple TV appearances last fall.
The live-or-Memorex questions that typically fly after a halftime show were rendered moot here. The Peas' hits usually involve more shouting than singing, anyway, so staying on pitch was not going to pose many problems except in a handful of Fergie moments. When Will.i.am sings nowadays, it's through the most blatantly distorted AutoTune in the first place, so the real question is how faithfully his vocals' robotic nature could be replicated just as robotically. Usher's singing was clearly less live when he came out to perform "Oh My God," but the camera angles made it tough to tell if he was even pretending to sing, before he pulled off the leap-and-spread stunt that was his cameo appearance's sole raison d'etre.
Initially appearing all in white, they appeared like the universe's most enthusiastic cult, before scattering across the field like schools of fish and switching on their Christmas lights.
As Steve Martin tweeted after halftime: "I learned so much about love during the halftime show. Wow."
Way to anticipate that youthful zeitgeist, Super Bowl producers! For 2012, we can only hope for P. Diddy and some swing-dancing Star Wars stormtroopers.