Pop plops, all fizz biz, oh what a grief it is!

If I were Justin Timberlake or Janet Jackson, I would feel like a complete moron right about now.

Even if a certain wardrobe hadn’t malfunctioned, the MTV-produced halftime show of last year would have compared with this year’s about as well as cubic zirconia compare with diamonds.

Super Bowl XXXIX showed the world what a halftime show is supposed to look like. Paul McCartney entertained us. Timberlake and Jackson just shocked us.

Last year’s halftime show resembled nothing more than a glorified music video. I suppose if you’re MTV that’s good enough. After all, they haven’t shown actual music videos for quite a while now. Maybe they were feeling nostalgic.

When did pop-culture decide that in order to be original and fresh it had to be as controversial as possible?

What’s wrong with putting on a classy concert that showcases musicianship instead of back-up dancers? Why do people think that flash can substitute for real showmanship?

The Super Bowl has seen some awesome halftime shows. In 2002, U2 blew everyone away with a tribute to the victims of Sept.11. It wasn’t just great because the nation was still sensitive after a disaster; it was great because U2 understands what a real concert looks like.

The bottom line is that “Rock Your Body” does not exactly compare well with “Live and Let Die.”

So-called entertainers like Janet Jackson and Justin “Still-Looks-Like-He’s-14” Timberlake can’t hold a candle to an actual musician like Paul McCartney. This is coming from someone who is not a fan of the Beatles. No song bugs me more than “Strawberry Fields Forever”-unless it’s the cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Still, everyone likes “Hey Jude,” and Sir Paul did not disappoint. As people sang along on the field, fans in the stands held up red, white and blue signs reading “Na-Na-Na-Na.”

Sure, it was shameless manipulation of the crowd, and that shot of the Statue of Liberty interspersed with clips from the first half of the game didn’t exactly seem like it fit in the montage, but who cares? I know that there were some people concerned that a halftime show put on by 62-year-old McCartney would be boring and forgettable. In the effort to cater to everyone, the show would likely end up being as nondescript as possible. I like to think of this as the “American Idol” effect.

Furthering concerns that the halftime show would completely blow was the fact that McCartney was required to sign a contract holding him liable if anything controversial occurred. Generally when people try to be inoffensive, they just end up being lame. But McCartney put on a performance of which he can be proud.

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