Let me just start by saying that I’m a huge Beyoncé fan. I would have been happy with whatever she did at the Super Bowl. Having said that, Beyoncé blew all of my expectations out of the water with what could only be described as her A+ game.
The Pepsi commercial that aired directly before the halftime show was the perfect preface. Featuring the instrumental to “Countdown” along with an actual countdown to Beyoncé taking the stage, it set the mood and built the excitement for the main attraction. Then the lights flashed, fans ran and fire flew through the stadium. It lit the edge of the stage before Beyoncé rose from beneath the stage in a cloud of smoke. What. An. Entrance.
The show opened with “Love on Top,” which seemed like an odd choice to me. It’s not even one of her biggest hits, but she sounded amazing and it was very obviously live. She posed in time with the beat and strutted to the front of the stage like the diva she is, silhouetted dramatically the whole time.
Once she finished the intro, Beyoncé graced the world with her beautiful face, finally entering into the light to perform “Crazy in Love.” It was a fine choice of song, but it seemed odd that Jay-Z wasn’t there to perform with his wife; instead his vocals just came out of the speakers.
Despite Jay’s absence, Beyoncé powered through and lay on the ground while many digital Beyoncés were projected onto the stage. The impact of just one Beyoncé is hard to handle, but seven might have been a bit of overkill.
When the actual dancers showed up, Beyoncé was too busy shaking what her mama gave her to do much singing. She threw a phrase into her microphone here and there, but relied heavily on a backing track. The dancing was spot-on, but it would have been nice to hear her sing her own song.
Next was the strangely chosen “End of Time,” which is by no means a bad song, but it was never a single. If anything, it looks like the song was added to the setlist to give Beyoncé even more time to dance, because that’s what she did for most of the song. She did throw in a little singing for good measure.
After that was another strange choice: “Baby Boy” featuring rapper Sean Paul, although he only participated via a prerecorded track. Bey was once again joined by herself, this time on a giant screen that popped up from the stage. She sang and danced at the same time, which was an improvement on the last two songs.
Then came what I believe to be the highlight of the show: the Destiny’s Child reunion. The intro to “Bootylicious” was the perfect way to bring Kelly and Michelle on stage. When they popped out from under the stage, my heart skipped a beat. I was not ready for the jelly I was about to see.
It was the climax of the show, hands down. Once on stage, Kelly and Beyoncé seemed to command the show together. Michelle sounded on point with her harmonies, but she didn’t look quite as fierce as the other two and her dance moves looked forced.
After they had served the crowd their “jelly,” they showed their independence by singing “Independent Women Part I.” It seemed like an odd choice, considering other DC hits like “Say My Name” and “Survivor,” but it was not bad. I’m just glad that Destiny’s Child actually took the stage instead of making an appearance through the speakers like Beyoncé’s other guests.
I thought that Kelly and Michelle would leave the stage to let Beyoncé finish the show solo. My jaw was on the ground when they were asked to stay on and sing “Single Ladies,” which is arguably Beyoncé’s signature song.
Letting Kelly and Michelle take the lead on a verse really showed that Beyoncé was willing to share her moment with her former bandmates. I couldn’t help but notice how low the other girls’ microphones were compared to Beyoncé’s, but it was her show after all. Once Kelly and Michelle left the stage, “Single Ladies” was finished off with a plethora of dancing and very little singing.
For the finale, Beyoncé finally found her singing voice. It was worth the wait. Closing the show with “Halo” was an inspired choice, mostly because the backing track to the ballad was beefed up to have more of an impact.
The vocals were incredible. It was almost as if the rest of the show was lacking singing so she could save up her voice to blow the crowd away at the end. She powered through the final notes of the song before collapsing on stage, probably exhausted from all of the dancing she did thoughout the show.
There is no questioning that Beyoncé can perform. She can sing, she can dance and she can command the stage, as well as the audience’s attention. It doesn’t seem that she can do all of those things at once, but three out of four at a time is nothing to scoff at.
Despite questionable song choices (completely ignoring the existence of her second album “B’Day” is not OK with me), phoned-in guest appearances and an overemphasis on dancing, it was still a halftime to remember. One thing is certain: Beyoncé is the true winner of Super Bowl XLVII.
Zach Foley a freshman in education. Please send comments to [email protected]