Super Bowl halftime review: Katy Perry’s 12 minutes of glory

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Call Katy Perry’s halftime show whatever you want; just don’t call it lackluster. The 30-year-old pop star poured everything she and Pepsi could afford into her thrill-a-minute set, including wacky, spectacular visuals and a three-song-medley from a forward-thinking hip-hop legend. Oh, and Perry grinded on Lenny Kravitz while he belted “I Kissed a Girl.”

Before that last visual becomes burned on your brain again, let’s take Perry’s 12 minutes of glory song by song, shall we?

Opening with the empowerment anthem “Roar,” Perry entered the field riding an oversized, creepy-eyed robot tiger (we spotted some human feet making it move). The entrance was dramatic in that Madonna-on-a-chariot way, proving that Perry is forever the pop student.

As Perry and her cast segued into “Dark Horse,” a magical chess board was projected onto the field’s temporary floor and dancers dressed as metallic, futuristic chess pieces appeared behind their leader. Perry’s next move was to point to a raised stage holding up the indomitable rock star Lenny Kravitz, who shredded his electric and joined the headliner on a belt-y version of her provocative early hit, “I Kissed a Girl.” We expected maybe a snippet of one of Kravitz’s tunes, but he and his leather jacket were gone in a flash, like the taste of cherry chapstick.

Singer Katy Perry performs during halftime of Super Bowl XLIX , in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Singer Katy Perry performs during halftime of Super Bowl XLIX , in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Suddenly, the stage was decked out in moving, singing beach items — sharks, beach balls, palm trees — all joining Perry for “Teenage Dream” in some sort of warped Sesame Street vacation sequence. Actual human dancers in polka dot bikinis joined the madness for “California Gurls,” but sadly there was no Snoop Dogg.

Yet, just as we were missing his Snoopness, here came another of our hip-hop heroes, Missy Elliott. Dressed for name-taking in swagged-out black combat gear, Elliott whipped her luxurious hair back and forth and casually reminded us how much we want her back on the charts.

Perry at first yielded the floor to Elliott and her line of dancers but later joined in for some choreography. The three song mini Missy set featured “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It,” and “Lose Control.”

Perry and Missy Elliott (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Perry and Missy Elliott (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Unsurprisingly, Perry saved the biggest visual element for the end. As she sang live (quite well, we might add) on the verses of “Firework,” she was hoisted into the air by a shooting star apparatus whose tail emitted sparks. As she took flight around the stadium, decked out in a sparkly gown, real fireworks lit up the sky above.

The whole Perry set was seamless, aesthetically pleasing and upbeat — just what we’d expect from a seasoned pop star of her caliber.

Before kickoff, the crowd was treated to two very fine patriotic performances. John Legend did a soulful but reverent rendition of “America the Beautiful,” channeling both Ray Charles and James Ingram as he tickled the ivories. His quick and classy vocal ended with an exuberant piano flourish, and then it was time for Adel-, er, Idina Menzel to do our National Anthem.

Menzel showed her boldness from the get-go as she tackled “The Star-Spangled Banner” a capella. Think of all the crowd noise, the feedback and the stadium acoustics, and such a task suddenly seems insurmountable. But she only went sharp once early on and absolutely nailed the ending. After the last line, she did a fist-pump of relief and yelled, “Yes!” That’s the art of letting it go. (Courtesy of


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