On Sunday, February 2, 2014, Super Bowl XLVIII was hosted at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, where the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks competed for that shiny trophy and the title of Super Bowl Champions. Though the game was disappointingly uneventful for Broncos fans, for anyone who is a Bruno Mar fan, the Super Bowl was anything but lacking in excitement. Although I immensely enjoyed his performance alongside of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I do not think Bruno Mars had earned the honor of Super Bowl halftime headliner. As a non – New Jersey native, Bruno Mars, "the youngest halftime performer since Justin Timberlake in 2004," according to Glenn Gamboa of New York Newsday, has only been on the music scene for roughly five years after being signed by Atlantic Records in 2009.
Though New Jersey and New York co-sponsored the game, New York received most of – if not all – the hype. While most of the celebrations were in New York, the game was played in New Jersey, and because of this, I was hoping that we would at least have a New Jersey native perform at halftime. Instead, Bruno Mars, born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii until his move to Los Angeles after graduating high school, was chosen.
I am in no way expressing that Bruno Mars's performance was subpar, it was quite the opposite. In fact, I believe he blew viewers out of the water. However, as New Jersey fell short to the hype of New York, despite the fact that the game was located here, there were a handful of New Jersey-born artists who should have been chosen, if not at least considered. Bruce Springsteen had already performed a Super Bowl halftime show in 2009, so I understand his not being re-asked, but what about legend Jon Bon Jovi (who was not even asked, mind you)? Though some New Jersey pride was incorporated into the night compliments of Queen Latifah, a Newark native, singing "America the Beautiful," the halftime is the performance viewers anticipate, and I think it would have made more sense if a New Jerseyan took the stage.
All New Jersey pride aside, Bruno Mars is a fairly new artist, having only become a big name in recent years. In 2009, he debuted alongside B.O.B. in On You" and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy. It wasn't until 2010 that he put out his first album, "Doo-Wops and Hooligans," and the hits "Just the Way You Are," "Grenade" and "The Lazy Song" were played on repeat all over the radio. There is no denying he has won over the hearts of music lovers from all over the world, however, despite his exceptional musical abilities that have skyrocketed him to the top of ample billboards, his name has years ahead before it amounts to that of the legends Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.
The halftime performance of Super Bowl XLVIII left a bittersweet aftertaste on my tongue. Bruno Mars definitely gained a fan as his talent was explicitly proven through his strong vocals and hip shaking moves. I was thoroughly impressed, but the New Jersey-feel was a missing factor that could not be replaced, regardless of the artists' talents.