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Bruno Mars: All Hail the King of Pop

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At last night’s embarrassment of a Super Bowl, the only saving grace of the entire evening – most commercials included – was one Bruno Mars.

Mars, the halftime entertainment, had big shoes to fill; the stage has usually been reserved for megastars such as U2, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. But the 28-year-old Hawaii native fit the shoes perfectly. In fact, his style was reminiscent of Jackson and James Brown, with quick feet that seemed to glide off the ground.

Starting out on drums as everyone watching exclaimed, “Bruno Mars plays drums?”,  Mars showed that he’s a true musician, stomping out the beat to his hit single “Locked Out of Heaven.” He then took command of the show, decked out in his now-familiar pompadour hair style, shiny suit and skinny tie, energizing the crowd with his reedy tenor voice and nonstop dancing.

Things were going well until a bunch of 50-year-olds with their shirts off came out on stage. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were the equivalent of a bluegrass band interrupting an opera; there was no transition whatsoever from one act to the other, and Mars tried to hang with the Gen-Xers for a while during the tuneless “Give It Away” until he realized how awkward it was and left for a moment.

Fear not, though, for he came back out after only one song to save the show with his smash hit “Just the Way You Are.” Thank goodness.

This is all to say that Mars is a star. He is a Pop Star with the potential to be huge. Grammy already loves him; he’s already claimed two awards, 17 nominations and numerous performances at the show. He co-wrote “Fuck You,” perhaps the biggest hit of the 2010s so far. And now he’s played in front of 115 million people, a record viewership for the Super Bowl that eclipsed the performances of Madonna, Beyonce and yes, his idol, Michael Jackson.

You may think you’ve seen enough of Bruno Mars over the past two weeks. My guess is you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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