If Levi’s Stadium had a roof, Beyoncé would have blown it off with her explosive performance of "Formation" during the halftime show at February’s Super Bowl 50.
Beyoncé not only upstaged ostensible headliners Coldplay, but outdid her 2013 game-changing mid-game performance, with and without Destiny’s Child. The politically charged "Formation" number certainly offered far more brass than even jazz great Al Hirt did during the first Super Bowl halftime show in 1967.
Queen Bee’s growing gridiron legend loomed when Adele revealed over the weekend that she'd turned down the Super Bowl LI gig. The British singer reportedly told a concert audience in Los Angeles Saturday: “I can't dance or anything like that.”
Which might be true – but that’s no reason for Adele to skip a roll in the deep in front of potentially her biggest audience ever.
Still, Adele's comments underscored the increasing role of the halftime spectacle in generating pre- and post-Super Bowl buzz, threatening to overshadow the game (and even the commercials).
Blame (or credit) Janet Jackson, whose infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the hand of Justin Timberlake in 2004 revealed the full potential of the halftime spectacular that her brother Michael’s electrifying performance hinted at 11 years earlier.
The post-Janet Jackson years brought more seemingly "safe" halftime acts, many of them aging former bad boys: Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and The Who all mounted memorable sets.
In more recent years, audiences have been treated to the more contemporary and physically dynamic likes of the Black Eyed Peas, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry, whose bizarre poorly dancing shark became an online meme last year.
While Adele might have accurately described her dancing skills, she erred – as fans of many of past halftime performers can attest – in declaring that the show “is not about music.”
Adele might not even be able to dance as well as Perry's clumsy left shark. But she can captivate with her voice, and create her own version of spectacle via her persona as an ordinary human with an extraordinary talent.
She proved as much during her "Carpool Karaoke" stint in January with James Corden, which stands as her most mobile performance. The only thing she would need to move at the Super Bowl is the crowd.
Jere Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.