When it comes to Super Bowl halftime shows, everyone is still trying to top Madonna.
Back in 2012, her performance with recording artist M.I.A. drew a record 114 million TV viewers, even more than the 111.3 million people who watched the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI.
Once the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos head to their locker rooms at halftime, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will highlight the entertainment for a massive worldwide audience. As Jay Lustig of the Newark Star-Ledger noted, Super Bowl halftime shows weren't always over-the-top spectacles:
But something like this would have been unthinkable when the first Super Bowl took place, in 1967.
That was a watershed year for rock, with "Sgt. Pepper," "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Surrealistic Pillow," plus debut albums by Hendrix, the Doors and the Dead.
You know who played the Super Bowl halftime show that year? Three marching bands, a high school drill team and trumpeter Al Hirt.
But now it's 2014, and everything seems to be getting bigger every year. Here's a look at the two acts performing at Super Bowl XLVIII. Each brings something different to the table.
The Super Bowl traditionally features longtime established acts, but Mars is something of a bold pick directed toward a younger demographic.
As Mars is a rising star in the music industry, many are viewing his performance as a make-or-break opportunity for his career. But the 28-year-old Hawaiian doesn't sound concerned, via Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times:
Mr. Mars, who broke through as a member of the producing team the Smeezingtons, and for his contributions to hit singles like Flo Rida’s “Right Round” and B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You” before embarking on his solo career, said at a news conference on Thursday at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center that he is not concerned about the pressures of the halftime show.
“No matter where I perform, it’s my job to uplift the people,” Mr. Mars said. “So whether I’m performing at a graduation party, a wedding, a bar mitzvah, the Grammys, the Super Bowl, I’m going to give it all I got. Whatever happens, happens. I ain’t scared, if that’s what you think.”
His hit songs include "Locked Out of Heaven," "Just the Way You Are," "Grenade" and "Treasure."
Mars has a tough act to follow, as last year's ridiculous lights display from Beyonce was probably responsible for the second-half power outage at the Superdome in New Orleans, even if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claimed otherwise. With Mars, the business-savvy league is making a more marketable pick than going with a safe choice like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty in years past.
Even if you aren't excited about Mars' music, there are some prop bets that may make it interesting for you. Betting website Bovada.lv has placed moneylines on the type of headwear Mars will have to start his performance: Fedora (+125), Fur Hat (+700), Tuque (+500) or no hat (+120).
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Earlier this month, Mars extended an invitation to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the rock quartet that has been a major force in music since the mid-1990s.
Frontman Anthony Kiedis (51), bassist Flea (51) and drummer Chad Smith (52) are each in their early 50s, but the group still has plenty of well-known hits. From albums like Californication and By the Way to more recent releases like Stadium Arcadium, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have plenty of tunes spanning multiple generations to choose from.
You can also bet if the rockers will be shirtless (-175) or not (+135) during their performance, even though it's expected to be in the low 30s by halftime.
You have to figure that Mars and the group will collaborate onstage for some of the 12-minute set, with Mars perhaps singing the vocals for some classic Red Hot Chili Peppers tunes. Smith recently told Artisan News that the Chili Peppers could bust out a rendition of Led Zeppelin's live version of "Dazed and Confused":
But as Marc Hogan of SPIN Magazine noted, Smith was likely just joking around, since that spacey Led Zeppelin tune could go on for as long as 45 minutes in concert. For now, it looks like just some fun from the drummer.
Also, if you haven't had enough prop bets, you can wager if this year's show will beat Madonna's record from 2012, with no (-300) coming in as the favorite over yes (+200).