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Who Dat?" Saints supporters will bellow for four uninterrupted hours this Sunday, but at the commencement of the Super Bowl's halftime show the younger demographic among the expected 100 million American viewers will likely ask a far less rhetorical question, triggering Abbott-and-Costello-type routines.
Younger viewer: Who's that?
Older viewer: The Who.
Younger viewer: [quizzical look].
For mid-game entertainment, the NFL has selected a British group that was formed during the LBJ administration. This makes five of the past six years that the Super Bowl halftime act has featured performers whose ages qualified them for membership in the AARP. Prince, the outlier, was 48 when he took the stage in 2007.
No disrespect to the legendary and beloved Who (and none to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Prince, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney), but a great many viewers will have no idea what a pinball machine is, let alone how to become a "wizard" on one. The league, though, is happy, Jack. "We select acts with songs that are familiar, widely popular and accessible to a large and diverse audience, and that translate well to a stadium venue," e-mails NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, who also points to the Super Bowl pregame show, which this Sunday will have Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry.
"We also prefer acts that are not overexposed," adds Aiello. Overexposure was precisely the problem the last time the Super Bowl produced a memorably edgy halftime, in 2004, when a 23-year-old Justin Timberlake revealed a bit more of a 37-year-old Janet Jackson than expected. So Lady Gaga will probably have to come up with another way to occupy herself next Feb. 6, when Super Bowl XLV is played in Cowboys Stadium.