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Taking sides: Picking Super Bowl halftime talent

BeyonceForget the geriatric rockers - give us Beyonce at halftime. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show -- excuse us, the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIV Halftime Show -- will feature a performance by U.K. rock legends the Who. Other acts that have graced the halftime stage in recent years: Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. See a trend there? When Prince somehow got booked it ended up being best halftime ever (more on that below) and while we would be fine if the Purple One would play each year - as long as he doesn't write any new, football-centric songs for the occasion - we decided to offer up some other ideas about who should get 12 minutes in front of the world's biggest TV audience of the year.

Chris Richards: After Prince's 2007 barnstorming, I'm sure millions of viewers wished the NFL would sign his Purpleness to a 10 year Super Bowl halftime residency. I did. The show had pomp, elegance, massive hits and perhaps most importantly, surprise. He covered Dylan and Creedence and even the Foo Fighters' "Best of You" -- making it sound like he wrote it in the first place. Beyonce pulled a similar trick at Sunday night's Grammy Awards with her superb take on Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know." (Sorry, Alanis. That's a Beyonce song now.) I think this woman is one of the few singers capable of delivering a Prince-esque performance. Yeah, yeah -- the NFL has a Cialis-chomping demographic to please and it might be years before the specter connecting contemporary pop music with the words "wardrobe malfunction" dissipates. But why bother with coaxing Led Zeppelin out of retirement when you could have Beyonce sing "When the Levee Breaks?"

Allison Stewart: Not counting recent appearances by Springsteen and Prince, the NFL has a long history of embarrassing halftime shows: Who could forget when Jessica Simpson showed up ('04)? Or the Judds ('94)? Or the year Phil Collins appeared ('00) as part of the Tapestry of Nations? It's time to book acts that players and viewers might actually have on their iPods, which is why my vote goes to a rap-rock double header. Lil Wayne could top the bill - he's from NOLA, anyway. Eminem could show up, and Jay-Z. And Kanye West could come, too - after Taylor Swift's Grammy performance, America may no longer be mad at him. Because MCs aren't usually good at spectacle, we could add some rockers to the bill. Not good ones, necessarily: Maybe Daughtry could come, or Nickelback. If we were trying to be really classy, someone could call Kid Rock.

Sarah Godfrey: Prince’s epic 2007 performance showed exactly how great a Super Bowl halftime show can be when the focus is a single, excellent act, rather than a cheesy, overstuffed production. But I sort of miss the big, messy Super Bowl halftime shows of yore - particularly those that paid tribute to the game’s host city. Way back when, one knew that if the Super Bowl was at Pontiac Stadium, a Motown tribute was in store. If the New Orleans Superdome was the setting, count on a Mardi Gras blowout. I’d like to see a Super Bowl halftime show that goes back to the regional celebrations of the ‘70s and ‘80s, but retains the superstar performers of the ‘90s and ‘00s. Much respect to the Who, but I’d love to tune in on Sunday and see a Miami-themed production studded with Florida stars. Maybe Rick Ross backing Gloria Estefan on “Get On Your Feet.” Or South Florida-reared Marilyn Manson and Miami-Dade’s own diamond princess Trina sharing the stage. Throw in a KC and the Sunshine Band medley and a steel band, and you’ve got a Miami-specific, camp-tastic good time.

David Malitz: Radiohead would be a fun choice. See what I did there? I used Radiohead and fun in a sentence together! You need a mega-popular band so why not get the one band that is (or at least attempts to be) the antithesis of everything the Super Bowl stands for? The big stage and fancy lights suit them well. You could probably convince them to do "Paranoid Android," a song of their choice and even end with "Creep," as everyone in the crowd waves glowsticks. And the band would waive its enormous performing fee and instead have its paycheck donated to climate change research, with public service announcements immediately before and after their performance.

By David Malitz  |  February 4, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Taking sides  | Tags: Beyonce, Eminem, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Prince, Radiohead, Rick Ross  
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How about Mary J. Blige? I hear she just did a killer version of "Stairway To Heaven" for her new album.

Posted by: Hemisphire | February 4, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

For some reason I see Coldplay doing it next year when they have a new album out. Metallica and Green Day can both do stadium-sized shows, but they curse too much.

Neil Diamond anyone?*shrugs*

Posted by: EricS2 | February 4, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'll second MJB!

Posted by: ChrisRichards | February 4, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Please don't even put the THOUGHT of a Nickelback performance out there.

Posted by: misere | February 5, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Chris Richards is the only person making serious suggestions in this post.

I'll cast my vote for Stevie Wonder. It would have made the most sense for him to be halftime performer when the Super Bowl was actually in Motown - yes, I am still bitter about this - but dude's got as deep a catalogue as anyone out there, and he still rips up the stage.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | February 5, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I guess I shouldn't say "rips up a stage." He delivers fine live performances.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | February 5, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

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