Oh, say, did you see?
After an embarrassing stumble two weeks ago, Beyoncé came onto the stage with something to prove. She had been caught lip-synching the national anthem at Obama’s inauguration, shattering her image as a goddess riding the tide of third-wave feminism. She had been the “perfect pop star,” and she needed to reclaim her title. Her honor was at stake; millions of Americans were doubting her abilities as a live performer.
Beyoncé earned back everything last night at the Super Bowl.
The display itself was action-packed and dramatic. She started with “Love On Top” in a cappella and quickly followed with “Crazy In Love” with a prerecording of her husband, Jay-Z, rapping. Fire, holograms, illusions, strobe lights, and LED graphics complemented the extravagance of the show without turning the performance into a melodrama. Back up dancers raided the stage in perfect unison as Beyoncé ran through a medley of her greatest hits, masterfully tying together “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” “End of Time,” and “Baby Boy” at the end of her set.
There was not a single man on stage with her and many were surprised that Jay-Z did not make an appearance. I say that this is a point for Beyoncé’s “girl-power,” especially when former Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined her on stage to perform “Independent Women.”
There was no question whether the show was live or not. You could hear Beyoncé’s rough tone heaving through her heavy dance moves and her mic pop as she accidentally hit it while encouraging the audience to clap along with her. This performance was not just a Super Bowl halftime show but a moment to redeem her character, a moment to silence anyone who doubted her ability to perform live.
Last year, Madonna headlined with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and LMFAO. The performance was most memorable because of M.I.A’s decision to flick off the camera and the hundreds of millions of Americans watching the Super Bowl at home. The year before that, the Black Eyed Peas put on a tense and ill-rehearsed show that marred the band’s name. Given the poor performances preceding her own, Beyoncé took the opportunity to breathe life back into the Super Bowl halftime show, proving her doubters wrong. This girl—or I should say, woman—ran the world last night.
Watch her performance here: