Cirque du Soleil, Joel, Prince bring the weird to Miami
Posted: Friday February 2, 2007 3:14PM; Updated: Friday February 2, 2007 4:16PM
MIAMI -- Super Bowl week is often described as a circus and on Thursday, the league took that description to the next level during its "press conferences" for their pregame show, national anthem and halftime show.
Let's forget for a moment the absurdity of even having press conferences for the entertainment surrounding the game and simply focus on the absurdity of the event itself.
The first press conference began much as I expected with a giant flamingo, "ridden" by a referee on stilts, pecking my shoulder with its beak. I mean, what's a press conference without a ref riding a flamingo? Oh, and the face painted Colts "player" getting picked up by a face painted Bears "player" while a costumed alligator looked on? Totally saw that coming too.
While Louie Vega, Romero Britto and Fernand Rainville tried to answers questions about the extravagant Cirque du Soleil pregame show, six of the 300 performers that would take part in the actual show walked, danced and pranced around the media and eventually made their way on stage during the session.
The intermission of the zaniest press conference ever was the rather tame Q&A session with Billy Joel where we learned that Joel isn't a big fan of the national anthem ("America the Beautiful is a much better song," he said) and that he might be making a wager on how long his rendition of the anthem will be, one of the more infamous lines being played during the Super Bowl.
After Joel left the stage, the curtains behind him where dropped to reveal the setup for Prince's press conference, which would actually be a live performance. It was a more than a fair trade off considering there are only so many ways you can ask the question, "So, um, how do you feel about doing the Super Bowl halftime show?"
Prince, dressed in an orange three piece suit, grabbed his guitar and surprised the packed conference room at the Media Center by saying, "Contrary to rumor, I'd like to take few questions." When someone began to ask Prince about doing the halftime show, he turned around and ripped into his guitar and began his 10-minute set with Johnny B. Good. After he was done playing a few songs, Prince left the media throng with one last juicy sound bite. "See you at the Super Bowl. Peace."
It would have been nice if Prince had taken song requests instead of questions from reporters but still forced them to raise their hands, go to the microphone and say their name and affiliation.
While the hospitality is certainly appreciated, I'm not sure how smart it is to put an open bar just outside of the media workroom in the media lounge. I'm not saying reporters didn't need a few drinky poos after the press conferences on Thursday, but free booze and sports reporters is never a good mix.
The oversized media lounge is located behind "radio row," which is more like "radio room" with dozens of radio stations sprawled around the convention center floor. The lounge is complete with a pool and foosball tables, HD televisions for your viewing pleasure, Sirius satellite radios for your listening pleasure and Motorola cell phones for your talking pleasure.
While publicists walk around with their clients on radio row trying to get the likes of Jared from Subway, who was wearing a Jeff Saturday jersey, on sports talk shows, the tandem of Stacie Burns and Michelle Nunes from Hooters didn't have much trouble getting on the air although they were probably better suited for being on TV. The tandem just barely edged out Drew Rosenhaus and his newest client, the Burger King king as the best on-air duo on radio row.