With pretty much every news outlet still buzzing about Beyonce’s Inauguration Day lip sync, the pop diva is finally offering some clues as to what her headlining spectacle at Sunday’s (Monday morning in the UAE) Super Bowl halftime show will look like. After singing an astounding and unaccompanied redux of the national anthem during a press conference on Thursday, she issued a second glimpse of how rehearsals are coming together. Cheekily dubbed ‘Countdown to Touchdown’, the less-than-one-minute videos offer snippets of action.
Both are soundtracked by cuts taken from the singer’s last album, 2011’s critically acclaimed ‘4’. In one, Beyonce and her army of all girl dancers work through a number of frenetic dance routines, while the second focuses on the singer’s backing band getting into the groove.
But the question remains: What can the millions of viewers who will be glued to the Super Bowl — either for the big game, the commercials or halftime show — expect to see on Sunday? While the artist is tight-lipped on the subject, I’m pretty certain I’ve decoded what will take up her dozen minutes of stage time. Thanks to clues the singer dropped in the aforementioned rehearsal clips, this eagle-eyed (and unabashed) Beyonce fan has firmly placed his bets on what is on the set list of the halftime performance:
‘Crazy in Love’. Beyonce’s debut solo offering is a hallmark to her discography (it turns 10 this year) and will serve as the perfect introduction to a fiery set of potential pop diva-try. It comes complete with brassy horns (stripped from a Chi-Lites song), a sticky chorus and that iconic derriere shake. Count on Sasha Fierce to emerge on the count of “1, 2, 3, 4 ...”
‘End of Time’. In the second installment of ‘Countdown to Touchdown’, the singer’s backing vocalists launch into a crisp a capella of this fan favourite. It’s pulled from the high energy Afrobeat rhythms of Fela Kuti (God, please let her have called one of N’awlins’ finest brass bands to turn this moment into a sleek second line). It’s a safe assumption the track is included. Why else would she issue a clip of her girls ripping through a perfectly harmonised bit of the track under the watchful, and gleaming, eye of their boss?
‘Baby Boy’. If you’ve watched as many live performances of Beyonce as this guy, you start to notice her affinity for certain dance moves. While watching the first installment of ‘Countdown to Touchdown’, I spotted part of a move dubbed “the diva twist and shout,” a little saucy number she debuted in the video for the dance hall infused hit ‘Baby Boy’.
Destiny’s Child medley. Sure, certain members have been playing coy about a possible reunion of the group that launched Beyonce to superstardom. But come on, every outlet, including ours, has already confirmed it’s happening. A number of sites have reported the other members of Destiny’s Child — Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams — will reunite onstage to perform their hits ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’, ‘Survivor’ and end the set with ‘Nuclear’, their first new track in eight years. But after chewing on the ‘90s throwback, it would make more sense for the women to trade out the new track with a vintage hit that has a lot more oomph. It’s impossible to ignore their anthemic smash, ‘Independent Women Pt. I’.
‘Single Ladies’. Come on, those hand-clap grooves, call and response hook and that dance is catered for arena performances. Another essential track, this will have the crowd at the Superdome and the millions more watching in their living rooms on their feet for what’s become her extravagant finale. Beyonce really likes to drive the empowerment of the song home with a militia of fierce dancers and some crowd participation. So, football fans headed to the game should work on their hand-flipping skills, she’ll likely call on you to throw your hands up — especially the fellas.
‘Halo’. Beyonce has grown fond of pairing ‘Single Ladies’ and her hit ‘Halo’ as a finale/encore. She’s used the pop ballad as a tribute to Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and after a strenuous set, it will afford her the one big opportunity to display the vocal prowess that’s recently come into question, and she’s likely going to seize the moment and unleash some vocal acrobatics.
As for a new track? Yes, it’s been reported she would unveil her highly anticipated new single on the Super Bowl stage. But with only 12 minutes and her audience too busy trying to “put a ring on it” — speaking of which how awesome would it be if she slid a Super Bowl ring on her finger — there might not be time for a new track. Sorry.
But strangely enough, at Thursday’s press conference, a reporter asked about rumours of whether she would perform at the Grammys on February 10. Interesting considering music’s biggest night would be prime real estate to debut something new. She reportedly laughed and asked, “Who said I was performing at the Grammys? I don’t know if I’m performing at the Grammys.”
It would make sense that she would save something for next week and sample new material at the Grammys, where coincidentally Justin Timberlake (reported to have contributed to her upcoming album) is also making his anticipated comeback. Just saying, homegirl is pretty darn savvy.
*You can watch the Super Bowl XLVII match and halftime show in the UAE on OSN Sports 2 HD on Monday, 8pm