NPR logo Why Lizzo Should — Nay, Must — Play The Super Bowl LII Halftime Show

The Good Listener

Why Lizzo Should — Nay, Must — Play The Super Bowl LII Halftime Show

Adam Kissick for NPR
Lizzo performs during NPR Music's 2017 SXSW Showcase at Stubb's.
Adam Kissick for NPR

At the dawn of the new century, the Super Bowl XXXIV halftime show featured, among other luminaries, Phil Collins, actor Edward James Olmos and an instrumental theme from Disney's "Tapestry Of Nations" parade at Epcot. It was, at least when Toni Braxton wasn't onstage, the sort of halftime show the kids of South Park might have spent an entire episode trying to thwart. The game that year — between the Rams and the Titans — was a classic, down-to-the-wire nail-biter. Lavish as it was, huge chunks of the halftime show had barely evolved from the Up With People days.

There've been 17 Super Bowls since then, and almost all have featured a fresher mix of (usually) safe and more-or-less contemporary rock and pop artists, from legacy acts (The Who, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones) to pop stars (Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Katy Perry) to a wholly astounding 2007 performance by Prince.

Rumors have circulated in recent days about the possibility of Britney Spears returning to the Super Bowl stage for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis — the singer last played the big game in 2001, the year after Collins and Olmos — but on Wednesday, Lizzo nominated herself via Twitter. In a thread you should really just drop everything and read in its entirety, the Twin Cities singer and icon-in-the-making presented what she calls "My fantasy @Superbowl LII performance."

To paraphrase Lizzo's Super Bowl fantasy — and trust me, it's better the way she tells it, complete with GIFs — it involves a grand Prince tribute, contributions from some of her finest hometown peers (Doomtree, Heiruspecs, Har Mar Superstar, et al), the release of a hundred doves, 300 dancers in nude bodysuits, and an untold number of cheeseburgers dropped from the sky via drones. It's hard not to read her thread and think that Lizzo should be placed in charge of not only Super Bowl halftime entertainment, but also all things, everywhere.

This is about where I was going to compile a list of cogent arguments in favor of Lizzo's plan — for starters, if you're going to put any Minnesotans on a Super Bowl field, I'd rather they not be the Vikings — but how am I supposed to top Lizzo herself? Prince, Doomtree, doves, dancers, foodstuffs parachuting from the heavens, SOLD. She had me at Prince, really.

Still need convincing? For the love of all that remains good and right in the world, please watch Lizzo and her incredible dancers play a set for NPR Music's SXSW showcase earlier this year. Watching their performance, you'd swear you're about to see a football game break out.

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