Bruno Mars Sets Record for Super Bowl Halftime Performance

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Posted February 4, 2014 by J Matthew Cobb in News
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Landing on Planet Mars: Young pop/R&B star goes in the record books after nailing Super Bowl halftime touchdown 

Just when Beyonce’s devout stans were ready to throw in the towel on the idea of a Bruno Mars halftime show, Nielsen delivered the good news that all of Bruno’s Martians awaited to hear.

After the Mars performance, which included a special appearance from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nielsen reported that the halftime show attracted a record-breaking 115.3 million viewers. Those numbers are the largest reported in the history of the Super Bowl.

Yep. That means Mars was watched more than Madonna’s set (114 million in 2012) and Beyonce’s set (110.8 million in 2013). And more people watched Mars performance than the game itself. An average viewing audience of 115 million viewers watched the Seattle Seahawks pulverize the Denver Broncos in a 43-8 beat down.

On Monday, a day after the bowl, tickets for the second leg of Mars’s Moonshine Jungle Tour went on sale via Ticketmaster and his official website. Due to the overwhelming reviews from Mars’s performance, ticket demand has increased, and so has the demand for Mars’s music. According to industry reports, the Grammy-winning Unorthodox Jukebox LP sold 40,000 copies during the week of Feb. 2, giving the disc a 164 percent gain compared to the previous week from which it sold 15,000 copies. That would immediately put his album in the top ten on the Billboard 200.

Mars, a relatively young star, exploded on the recording scene writing big hits for Flo Rida (“Right Round”), B.o.B’s (“Nothin’ on You”), Cee Lo Green (“F**k You”) and even for rap king Eminem (“Lighters”), but his debut album — Doo-Wops and Hooligans – shot him into immediate stardom and featured three Top 10 hits (“Grenade,” “Just the Way You Are,” “The Lazy Song”). His follow-up album, Unorthodox Jukebox, repeated the same winning strategy, earning him three more Top 10 hits:  “When I Was Your Man,” “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Treasure.” Unorthdox Jukebox won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.

A few important side notes about the Mars performance:

  • It’s been brought to our attention that the guitar riffing on the Red Hot Chili Peppers number (“Give It Away”) was all staged. No wires were seen from the musical axes, pointing out that The Who weren’t the only ones that enjoy playing air guitar.  Stereogum reported the story.
  • Mars was in excellent form, showcasing those signature high notes and a heavy display of James Brown splits and fancy footwork. He even played a killer drum solo on the opening minutes. But Mars didn’t get paid for his performance. Actually, none of the superstar performers in Super Bowl history (since Michael Jackson’s 1993 appearance) are paid by the NFL or sponsors. And why? Because “we’re putting someone up there for 12 and a half minutes in front of the largest audience that any television program garners in the United States,” says NFL Director of Programming Lawrence Randall. “It’s a pretty good deal. It’s the famous win-win for both parties.”

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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