What Katy Perry Did Right at the Super Bowl…and What She Did Wrong

Posted February 2, 2015 by J Matthew Cobb in HiDef

Katy’s halftime show at Super Bowl XLIX came with a bag of surprises

If you’ve never been to a Katy Perry tour stop, you’ve got a sample of it and all under twelve minutes…during the halftime show at Super Bowl XLIX. Taking a cue from the Queen of Pop (that would be Madonna, folks) and copying her pigskin worship regimen in 2012, Perry marched in on a giant 3-D lion while singing “Roar.” She gets off the gargantuan piece of art to sing “Dark Horse” alongside flexible and very agile human chess pieces.

She stayed true to what works best, performing the big hits from Teenage Dream and Prism. She also played with the bubbly sweetness of her most-popular concept videos. Although wintry weather was in the mix, the “California Gurls” decor had us all wishing summer would arrive sooner. And then there were adorable dancing sharks, power-packed fireworks for the “Firework” finale, a super hip-hop medley starring Missy Elliot and a funny “The More You Know”-looking star trailing behind Perry’s mid-air rocket.

Elliot’s epic routine supplied a strong dose of throwback swagger with bad-ass snippets of “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It.” All Perry could do was act like she was the star during this routine, while showing off possibly her worst asset: unpolished dance moves. That may have been the worst part of the ten-minute show, but anyone that knows Perry’s live routine knows this isn’t her strongest suit. No worries though; the camera stayed glued to a fiery Elliot and her complimentary crew of dancers.

So where else did Perry gone wrong? Well, some of the edits of the songs were a bit sloppy. The build-up to the chorus on “Teenage Dream” (“Let’s go all the way tonight…”) was cut entirely.

Then there was this costume change, deserving of all the carnivorous memes from social media:












Lenny Kravitz also jumped into the fray, hoping to be a lifesaver for rock revelers. It’s usually never a bad time to bring the power rocker on stage. Especially if he’s cranking out one of his own tunes. But that didn’t happen. Instead he was forced to fire up a guitar-heavy, bad-ass version of “I Kissed a Girl.” It was odd to see him playing to the tune of one of Perry’s earlier, less-desired tracks.

Actually any thing off of the One of the Boys album should have been off-limits. Here Perry had much of the viewing public at her disposal, and drifting into self-serving opportunities like playing new material or some of her mild Hot 100 hits was out of the question. “I Kissed a Girl,” thankfully, was her only qualm of song choice.

Without trying to whitewash the truth, Perry is no primadona singer. Compared to the studio cuts, her vocals seemed a bit underwhelming, proving she’s probably more a studio creation. She also seemed average when compared with most of the bigger and stronger powerhouse divas, but she committed no crime at her Super Bowl mini-concert. Although predictable in places, she stayed true to her craft. She gave the audiences a quick rundown of her hit parade, while also demonstrating the long lost craft of singing live.

There will be those that will pounce on her performance with sheer disappointment, particularly those Beyoncé stans who hail their queen to untouchable standards and who will forever glorify that performance as the best halftime showcase ever.  And then there will be rock groupies who simply despise what Top 40 has become, knowing that the next batch of halftime performers will probably be Rihanna, Taylor Swift and maybe Maroon 5. But Perry’s performance, along with a sweep through her massive catalog of hits, felt like a teenage dream. It was yummy, innocent, flirty and fun — all things you expect from a Perry tour stop.



About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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