Although we're still months away from the next NFL Super Bowl (which means the Philadelphia Eagles are still the reigning champions, GO BIRDS!), on Wednesday, September 19 it leaked that Maroon 5 was tapped to perform. Maroon 5 playing the Super Bowl halftime show seems kind of obvious, but after a bit of thought, I've realized that's the point. As soon as news broke, Twitter went absolutely nuts. Alternately roasting the band, the decision, and people who defended it, the majority of users couldn't believe that a band their moms sing along to in the car would be tapped to perform at the February event. Billboard first pointed out that it's not a weird idea at all — in fact, it's a great one... even if football fans are rolling their eyes.
Oh, Maroon 5. Popular? Uh, yeah, they've been a household name for over a decade. Cool? Not particularly, but cool enough. Their music is catchy, their frontman is always in the news, and their act is neither too edgy nor too lame. They're offensively inoffensive. Still, everyone has something to say about it! The problem boils down to this: Maroon 5 performing at the Super Bowl halftime is only controversial because they aren't interesting. As we know, executives have rarely taken a chance on their halftime performers — but that didn't change Twitter's opinion.
One major critique is that Atlanta — host of the next Super Bowl — has a flourishing, genre-defining music scene. That's valid. Maroon 5 is essentially a pop act, and Atlanta has produced some of the most inventive rap, hip-hop, and R&B ever made. It's just a fact. Given all this, it would make sense for a band that's not a white pop group to play at halftime — if that was how it worked. But it's not. What did Justin Timberlake have to do with Minnesota? Or Lady Gaga with Houston? When you think of Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, do you think of Tampa, FL? No. You'd name every city in New Jersey that you possibly could. You'd name Philadelphia (Go Birds!) before you named Tampa.
The Super Bowl halftime performance is a 15-minute spectacle designed to draw as many eyes as possible so the network can sell more expensive ads. That's it. That's all it is. It's not meant to be groundbreaking, or representative of the host city. At best, it's meant to be enjoyed. At worst, you leave it on mute while you refill the chips and recap the first two quarters of the game. It would have been meaningful for a local act to get the gig, but innovation isn't really the Super Bowl's thing.
Billboard also pointed out something else: Maroon 5 is really, really famous. Like, super famous. They're massively well known and Adam Levine is an ultra-famous dude on a major network TV show whose wife is a Victoria's Secret model. They're high profile, and even more importantly, they're well connected. Odds are high they'll bring out surprise guest performers. If you're the betting type, put a dollar down on Cardi B. Maroon 5's current hit isn't just theirs: It's a shared track with Cardi B, who couldn't be a hotter artist. She's also building a home in Atlanta to share with her husband, Offset, of the rap threesome Migos. Cardi's just one of the mega stars they could use to sweeten the deal. Christina Aguilera, Levine's costar on The Voice, is another.
So whether you watch, hate watch, don't watch, or don't care, Maroon 5 makes total sense as the next Super Bowl halftime performer. And that is why they were reportedly offered the gig.