Super Bowl halftime is showtime

Super Bowl halftime is showtime
January 27, 2013, 3:30 am

Do you know the all-time leader in Super Bowl halftime appearances? Would you believe Up With People?

The famously — infamously? — upbeat collection of freshly scrubbed American youth singing freshly scrubbed songs has performed four times, but not since 1986. (In case you’re wondering, the organization is still around.) At a certain point, the NFL decided the time was past for marching bands and the Up people. The league booked New Kids on the Block for the 1991 game and never looked back.

Since then, it has been a series of big names playing the big room at the big game. Certainly, many of them have appeared way past their prime (The Who). And presumably there has been a lot of lip syncing, but also times when performers — and the ears of the audience — would have benefited from lip syncing (Fergie/Black Eyed Peas). There were incongruous choices (Madonna) and performers born to play a stadium (The Rolling Stones, U2).

There were bands that felt wedged into the time frame and just left you wanting more (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). There was an icon you rooted for as much as any team (Paul McCartney). There were performers you hardly recall (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Travis Tritt).

There was one wardrobe malfunction (Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake).

There was one transcendent performance (Prince).

This time, it’s Beyonce’s turn. Ravens fans should just be glad this wasn’t the year the NFL decided on a return engagement for Up With People.