The Black Eyed Peas headlined the halftime show of the most-watched Super Bowl in history, and, notwithstanding the unfounded complaints of baby boomers and alt-comics, brought pop back to the NFL after its unofficial six-year ban. So can we hope for more pop at next year's event? Popdust is setting the official line. Place your bets accordingly.
NBC, which will air the 2012 Super Bowl, will be pushing America's Got Talent hard next year, especially if The X Factor breaks through on FOX next fall. Simon Cowell's favorite would be a lock for the National Anthem if the game were tomorrow and Boyle weren't British. NBC is still struggling to come back from its Jay Leno prime-time mess and will use any possible tie-in to increase its market share. At least we can be sure that the near future does not hold a Glee halftime show.
Indiana's most prominent musical export (sorry, Freddie Gibbs) has already been floated as a potential halftime performer, if only because the game will be played in Indianapolis. Since airing the Michael Jackson halftime show "Heal the World," which had such a dramatic effect on the ratings of Super Bowl XXVII that it re-invented the halftime show as spectacle, NBC has aired 1994's Rockin' Country Sunday, 1996's Diana Ross-airlift "Take Me Higher," 1998's Motown 40th Anniversary, and 2009's Bruce Springsteen set (possibly the second-best, after Prince, of the mostly boring classic-rock sets that have followed in the wake of 2004's "wardrobe malfunction"). Mellencamp, quite frankly, doesn't have a wide enough appeal, unless NBC is afraid of pop's resurgence. Besides which, part of Springsteen's draw was a new album and a popular song in contention for an Oscar. Mellencamp's next project might be the long-gestating "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," a dude-musical co-written by Stephen King. That could be exactly the type of spectacle the Super Bowl needs, but will more likely make for a mess of a show.
The March 8 lockout date looms and no agreement is in sight, which leaves the NFL's entire 2011 season in limbo. That said, nobody wants to lose out on the money to be made from the Super Bowl.
Of course, Popdust is hoping for a pop halftime show, and what better choice than Beyoncé? Presumably within the year her new album will be released, and according to her collaborator Ne-Yo, "nobody will be in Beyoncé’s lane" after the album comes out. Her star trajectory has followed that of Diana Ross to an extent—and B's notional halftime show stands to be at least as successful as Ross's. She has proven more than able to keep up with the new stars on the pop scene, and can be as entertaining (and ridiculous) as a great halftime performer needs to be. Bonus: Guaranteed HOVA guest spot. A giant Roc sign will look awesome enacted by thousands of drunken football fans.
But the halftime producers might still be seeking to at least walk the line between classic rock and recent pop, in which case elder statesmen of California skate punk Green Day fit the mold perfectly. And thanks to the Broadway adaptation of American Idiot, they could provide their own stage show. If the band's ninth studio album is delayed until the fall or winter of 2011, they could be strong contenders for the spot.