Beyoncé stepped out in front of a pumped Super Bowl XLVII crowd at the rebranded Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans — and time stopped.
With all thoughts of “Lip Sync Gate” gone, the Houston firebrand stormed her way through a 12 minute halftime show that would destroy all memory of Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, and a finger-wielding MIA.
Together with the superdome’s 76,468 capacity and the over 100 million tuning in, the Super Bowl is indisputably the biggest event in sport with advertisers prepared to pay $4 million plus for 30 second slots, and it’s certainly the biggest show of Beyoncé’s career.
It was high stakes for the singer tonight and, to some extent, included the redemption of her reputation, ridiculous as that might sound. Millions were watching to see if Beyoncé would keep her press conference promise and sing live, and with the fast and furious dancing she is known for, plus numerous pre-show teasers of something special — the world was ready for an event.
And that was exactly what it got.
After a poignant start with the Sandy Hook Elementary School Chorus and Jennifer Hudson, then Alicia Keys’ seriously long “Star Spangled Banner,” it was time for a break from the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens and on with the other big show.
Under a New Orleans evening sky, thousands of blue finger flashlights worn by the crowd transformed the superdome into “Close Encounters of the Beyoncé Kind.”
Arising as a silhouette from white smoke, clad in black leather, with dominatrix boots and heels to match (courtesy of designer Rubin Singer), the 31-year-old launched into the most difficult key changes of “Love on Top” a capella before the familiar horn intro kicked off an edited, jazz infused “Crazy in Love.”
Dancers flooded the stage amid kaleidoscope imagery and a music segue into “End of Time,” followed by a “dutty wine Baby-Boy” replete with video doubles and pyrotechnics. Throughout all of this, the lights are going crazy. That will become important later, but for now the show continues.
Kelly and Michelle aka Destiny’s Child arrive via under-stage jumpers, and the trio belt the middle 8 harmonies of “Bootylicious,” followed by “Independent Women” and “Single Ladies.”
Then, it was time for the show closer. Rowland and Williams depart, leaving Beyoncé alone with her dancers as her “Halo” anthem begins.
Without question one of the most polarizing singers alive today, who, ABC augured would “break the Internet” today, Beyoncé is one of the few pop stars around who generates insane levels of hateand adoration.
But, in the end it wasn’t the internet that broke, but the power.
For at least 30 to 40 minutes, a power outage stopped the third quarter of play from resuming, and a tsunami of hilarious online reasons as to why the power surge was happening. Best tweet: “Superdome Into Darkness.”
Power outages aside (an outside power feed died), the real power tonight was the soul and pop perfection Beyoncé brought to an electrifying, adrenalin-filled, halftime show stopper.
Her last words to the packed stadium and the virtual millions, ” Thank you for this moment. God bless y’all,” The Guardian notes.
On Thursday, the singer pledged, “I will absolutely be singing live. I am well rehearsed. This is what I was born to do. What I was born for.”
Turns out she was absolutely right.