You can’t blame the guy for thinking anything’s possible after taking home the top three Grammys last month, but the NFL and Pepsi have a better chance of blasting Roger Goodell out of a cannon (that’s the Commissioner of the National Football League, you’d know this if you liked sports) wearing nothing but nipple pasties for the halftime entertainment than hosting “the best party Tv has ever seen!” But Bruno got me thinking—who could save the institution of the Super Bowl halftime show? And would they even want to do it?
Unless you count possible repeats (Bruno himself, Beyoncé, maybe Stevie Wonder) there are only, like, six artists who even remotely have a chance of landing the milquetoast big-budget gig. Note: these don’t include Kanye West (the NFL would never ask him), Kendrick Lamar (he did the college one already), Rihanna (too good for it), One Direction reunion (someday), Imagine Dragons (give ‘em some years), and most every rotting classic rock corpse-to-be.
Anyway, if none of these artists perform at the 2019 Halftime Show, we’re scheduled to suffer through Justin Timberlake-level blasé for the rest of eternity:
1. Taylor Swift
A Taylor Swift performance is so inevitable that it makes me wonder if she’s turned it down three times by now. The only thing holding Taylor back from commanding the Super Bowl stage next year: she’d have wrapped the Reputation tour, with nothing to promote in the foreseeable future.
Would she want a victory lap for her most polarizing album yet? I wouldn’t put it past her.
2. Maroon 5
This one gives me pause for next year, if only because NBC isn’t scheduled to air a Super Bowl for another four years and the company craves brand synergy to promote season 83 of The Voice, on which frontman Adam Levine is a coach. But everything else lines up. Much like Coldplay’s headlining set from 2016, Maroon 5 would have over a decade’s worth of recognizable hits to pull from, leading up to last year’s accidental MRA album Red Pill Blues. Add into the mix artists they’ve collaborated with in the past (SZA, Wiz Khalifa, Christina Aguilera), there are so many quality acts who could be tapped for guest spots. It’d be boring, but it just makes sense.
3. Ed Sheeran
See Maroon 5. Every time I think Sheeran’s catalogue isn’t deep enough (yet!) for the big game, I remember that Bruno took the Halftime Show duties with just two albums to his name. Sheeran’s basically the shorter, British, Olive Garden waiter heir apparent to Justin Timberlake, so it’s only a matter of time.
The NFL is desperate to land Adele for the Super Bowl Halftime Show if anonymous NFL sources are to be believed. She also said the football institution extended an offer in 2016 (which the NFL and Pepsi swiftly denied, of course.) After saying “that show is not about music,” Adele left the door open for when her next “dance” album comes out. I’m not sure if there’s a better pick (for luring in older viewers who might not be tuning into the Super Bowl) already.
This might be the closest Bruno could get to his hip-hop showcase, if Drake managed to rope in all the right guests. He’s the nexus between big pop and big rap, with “Hold On We’re Going Home” in his back pocket to win over the skeptical olds. Drake probably won’t perform at the Grammys until they get their act together, but I don’t know if he’d apply the same moral fortitude to the NFL.
Pink has a shit ton of hits (like seriously, more than you remember). Pink likes to fly while suspended from wires. Both of those go well with stadiums and TV audiences of 100 million or more. I could see it.