Why The Super Bowl halftime show only felt like the opener to something bigger and better


Last Sunday night, I was wearing a striped yellow and blue tank top from Urban Outfitters with a pair of dark blue jeans—I was supposedly supporting my favorite football team: the LA Rams. But to be completely honest and maybe a little stereotypical, I don’t know one thing about football.

While I can stand in the high school student section and cheer when everyone else does, I’m at a loss as to why people find this sport so enjoyable. However, I’m not concerned about whether the Cincinnati Bengals’ mascot is dressed in appropriate garb, I only care about the halftime show. 

For as long as I can remember, the A-list celebrities that performed at their not-so-miniature concert were praised beyond belief for their visuals and quality music—this year, I don’t know what happened. Without knowing the setlist before watching, I was excited about something similar to Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s masterpiece from 2020, but I just didn’t get the same vibe.

While I’m still probably making people mad about my American football opinions, I will continue to be extremely blunt: I hate rap music. So, when I saw one of the most glorified rappers, Snoop Dog, I instantly knew how this was going to go. I knew I would be bored and unimpressed because of my lack of interest in the music genre, but I quickly realized it wasn’t just that.

USA Today

With every new artist on the stage, I saw that these rappers were people who were only extremely relevant in music culture in the late 2000s. Eminem, for example, has had a heavy hand in the molding of rap music back when our generation hadn’t been fully introduced to it, and other than that, he has been living in the shadows of modern rap stars. 

The last time Eminem was number one on the Billboard Charts was in 2020 with “Godzilla (Feat. Juice Wrld)” for just one consecutive week. I think this could be chalked up to the hype around Juice’s death just one month and 16 days before this song’s trending mark.

@snoopdogg on Instagram

Even less relevant is Snoop Dog; his most recent single, which placed number one on the Billboard Charts was all the way back in 1998 with the song “Da Game is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told.” While it was at the top for a week, it has been twenty-four years since. 

While I could go on and on about the other irrelevant artists, like Dr. Dre and Mary J. Blige, I truly believe that Kendrick Lamar was the only spot-on artist who was invited for this opportunity of a lifetime. 

Lamar has created some of the most hype party songs of all time with hits such as “HUMBLE.” with over 1 billion plays on Spotify alone, “DNA.” which was played in the award-winning movie, The Hate U Give, and even my favorite: “PRIDE.” While Lamar’s relevance argument could be applied here as well since his last dropped album was in 2018, it was for the life-changing film, Black Panther, and he’s released a single in 2021.

@dojacat on Instagram

Besides Lamar, I think every rapper was a poor choice compared to other modern artists who have made unbelievable achievements within the past year. Even the last Super Bowl, The Weeknd was an interesting choice because of his quick rise to fame which has been quickly stunted—I think the most important way to choose an artist is based upon how they would get the crowd feeling.

Speaking of the audience, Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini—otherwise known as Doja Cat—had seats with other artists that were practically on the field itself. So, if she was already there, why wasn’t this legend the main act? 

Released in early 2021, Doja Cat’s album, Planet Her, is currently trending at number ten for The Billboard 200, has been on the chart for thirty-three weeks, and its topmost position was number two. And if her album’s fame isn’t enough, Doja herself has fifty-five million followers on Spotify and twenty million on Instagram. Doja Cat is one of the most influential women in music today, so why are we putting on irrelevant rappers when we could have the new and the best during their prime?

If fans are concerned about wanting more throwback music with still a newer artist, Adele is the perfect answer. While she’s been making hits since 2008, she still holds top spots in The Hot 100 today. She continues to produce singles that are true to her voice, still tie back to her original music, but are still willing to take some risks.

While I understand the need for musical artists with a bit more pep in their tracks, so Adele could be looked past, I don’t think anyone has forgotten about the electrifying Lil Nas X since his Earth-shattering “Old Town Road” in 2019. When turning on your radio, I wouldn’t be shocked to hear his voice singing through—all of his albums have been successful in one way or another, and he has dedicated his career to representing multiple different communities.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Not every artist can perform but young adult, Billie Eilish, has reached further than any well-seasoned musician in the music industry yet hasn’t performed such an honor as it is to sing for all of America at the  Super Bowl. While fans could argue that it isn’t her usual setting, I don’t think it’s any artist’s normal to perform for a crowd that expansive. With her five Grammy’s, I think this would be the perfect topper to her career and would add a slightly different genre to the production.

At the end of the day, the halftime show was not perfect; if anything, it was furthest from it. But, year after year, I still have hope. I hope that 2022 acted as the opening act for Super Bowl 57, and that year, there will be artists who deserve to perform.