Super Bowl Halftime Show 2014: Bruno Mars' Old-School Approach Appeals to Masses

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2014

Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Recording artist Bruno Mars, center, performs at half-time in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

In an age when many musicians are better known for the clothes they wear than by the music they offer, Bruno Mars' record-smashing Super Bowl halftime show proved America still adores its old-school performers. 

According to Billboard's Phil Gallo, the show put on by Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers broke the all-time viewership record, which was previously set by Madonna (114 million) in 2012:

Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' performance on Sunday night attracted the largest audience in the history of the Super Bowl, attracting 115.3 million viewers, Fox announced Monday, citing Nielsen data. 

Event organizers were smart to pair Mars with the RHCP, as both appeal to different audiences. However, there's no doubt the bulk of those tuning into the 2014 halftime show were there to see a certain Hawaiian pop sensation—not Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Co. 

Even guys like Adrian Peterson and LeBron James were impressed by the incredible show put on by the talented star:

Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis loved the way Mars integrated different elements into his show:

From the first moment, when a line of children sang out lines from Mars' first hit song, "Millionaire," until the end, a mere 12 minutes later, fans were treated to a musical celebration that covered a lot of ground in a hurry.

Jim Farber of the New York Daily News further elaborates:

Mars' 12-minute display exuded a friendliness and ease so winning, it made the edginess or cool of some past Super Bowl stars irrelevant. More, the performance wore its sources well, doubling as a history lesson in song. The songs Mars offered represented a virtual pop nexus of the last 40 years, touching on bouncy '60s Motown, fun '70s disco funk, slick '80s pop and a hint of modern hip-hop-flash. At one point, he referenced James Brown's fast-footed dance moves.

Unlike so many other past Super Bowl performers, many fans likely appreciated the fact that Mars didn't lip-sync. The multitalented musical sensation sang out every note on time and on key, which is an absolute dream scenario in a live event. 

Even better, the choreography—dancing, music selection and visual treats—was perfect. 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02:  Bruno Mars (L) and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Get
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

He hit all the emotional highs and lows, pumping up the crowd with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give it Away," and then pulling everyone back to a hush with a beautiful and heartwarming rendition of "Just the Way You Are," which came on the heels of an emotional military tribute.

In short, Mars' Super Bowl halftime show was a good, clean, old-fashioned musical experience—devoid of any overt sexuality or mention of drugs, pimps and drunken parties. 

And America gobbled it up like Thanksgiving turkey. 

Madonna who?

Perhaps Mike Caren, president of A&R for the Warner Music Group, said it best:


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