By I. Moregola
The Superbowl Halftime Show is probably one of the most high-profile and thrilling shows out there. People from all over the world tune in and watch the Superbowl just so they can watch the iconic halftime performances.
The NFL is a massive entity and American football is by far the most popular sport in the United States, because of this the halftime performers come from a very short, selective list. A journalist has claimed that in order to choose the best fit artists to lead the show, the league considers popularity, music genre, and the artists’ overall performance value. Then, the league starts to look for artists who appeal to as many as possible. However, there is a catch, the NFL is not the one that picks who will take the stage. They come up with a short list of potential performers and the city that will host the game picks the performers. Atlanta, which hosted the 2019 Super Bowl, picked Maroon 5 to perform at halftime. Therefore, it will be a while until the band plays at the Superbowl a second time.
Why is that?
The NFL does not bring back past performers too often. Aside from Up With People, who played four times between 1976 and 1986, the league has never repeated artists that have headlined in the show. Only a handful of artists have had the privilege to do so, such being: Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Gloria Estefan, and Al Hirt.
According to the New York Times, these artists do not get paid to play in the halftime show however, the NFL pays for all the expenses and its handlers and staff. The only time that the league opened the checkbook for an artist was for Michel Jackson, and the league ended up donating $100,000 to his Heal the World Foundation. Even though the artists don’t get paid to perform, their album sales skyrocket after appearing at the event. Artists have reported that their album revenues have tripled its sales the week after their performance.
The 2021 halftime show was a bit different. Having a socially distanced crowd and performing in the stands of the stadium, the Canadian artist, The Weeknd marked his name in the league as he was the first artist to do so. But he made the most out of the restrictions, putting emphasis on his set up and hit songs. Most of his performance was in front of a set modelled on the city in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis - all vertical layers and neon signs. He spent $7 millions of his own money on the production and was content with the way that his songs were able to speak for himself. He built his set around more optimistic songs and was able to pull off this challenge. Many questioned if the set would be more elaborate if it were a normal year. In an interview after the show the singer said that he hoped that he could have done more.