Prince can rest easy. His Super Bowl performance won’t be topped this year. Beyoncé’s Super Bowl XLVII show was classic B – a run-through of some of her hits featuring her all-girl band and a backup crew of hundreds of female dancers. And as expected in the worst kept secret in Super Bowl history, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child joined their former partner onstage.
But despite all the hype surrounding the performance, especially after the inauguration debacle, it wasn’t anything particularly spectacular or ground-breaking. When you think of Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” controversy or last year with Madonna’s “I’m going to bring anybody who says yes to me to this stage” performance, Beyoncé’s was pretty tame. It’s admittedly hard to top “Purple Rain,” but we’d have thought that Beyoncé would have pulled out more of the stops she could have.
Her entrance was simple – dressed in black leather dress and skirt, she appeared in her classic Beyoncé stance – hands on her hips with one cocked to the side. She started with a few riffs from “Love on Top.” The overhyped fan countdown went by so fast it was important only to those who recognized themselves in the rapidly changing faces. Beyoncé’s vest and leather skirt were tossed to some very lucky audience members, but no wardrobe malfunctions tonight; she had on a leather bodysuit with lacy edges underneath.
Although you could feel the audience at the Superdome and around the world waiting for Jay-Z to come out during “Crazy in Love,” he didn’t, which seemed, well, crazy. The biggest TV audience any performer can hope for and husband and wife don’t team up? That was a disappointment and we can’t figure out why Jay wouldn’t have been available as we figure Mama Tina or Auntie Solo could have watched Baby Blue.
A few verses of “End of Time” was next and then B goes into “Baby Boy” but once again, without the collaborator who helped make it a hit. No Sean Paul – not as tight a song. However, the cool effect that made it look like Beyoncé was multiplied was one of the show’s highlights as well as the tightly choreographed squadron of female dancers and Beyoncé’s all-girl “Suga Mama” band, all wearing black. Maybe a nod to Jay’s famous “all-black everything’ line. Or not. (We did catch B throwing up a “Roc” sign, though.)