The Black Eyed Peas Take The Super Bowl: In Defense Of Fergie, In Condemnation of Slash

This probably won't last, so enjoy it.

They were better than the Who. Give the Black Eyed Peas that. Look: Super Bowl Halftime Shows are atrocious as a matter of principle, an overblown tribute to the startling decrepitude of our old rock stars or the appalling tackiness of our new ones, and with apologies to Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones, and even Bruce Springsteen's crotch, I'll take young tackiness every time. So the Peas wore porno-Tron outfits, don't so much sing as just yell at you semi-rhythmically, have no good songs other than "I Gotta Feeling," and had to literally airlift Usher in just so they had one guy available who could do the splits. And yet, as a dumbfounded nation watched Fergie bray "Sweet Child O' Mine" while grinding awkwardly against Slash, you felt way more affection for her than for him.

The mere presence of Slash is just depressing anymore -- the dude is just permanently for hire, available to any menace-lacking pop star on earth who needs quick, innocuous shorthand for Dangerous Rock-Star Attitude. Slash will show up at a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof and play the "Sweet Child O' Mine" riff for 90 seconds if you pay him $50. He is the Akon of hair metal, and that is no kind of thing to be. At least Axl is still legitimately self-destructive; at least Bret Michaels appears to be enjoying himself. Slash, by contrast, needs a new agent, and by new agent I mean any sentient human being who doesn't have an email auto-reply set up that says, "Yes, absolutely, we'll be there."

As for Fergie. Ah, Fergie. She is basically Plan 9 from Outer Space in human form. Camp incarnate. Terrible in a stupendously charming way, like reality television, like Taco Bell, like chillwave. The perfect avatar for an era where pitchiness is a virtue, where amateurs are more famous than professionals, where to be too good at something is to invite accusations of elitism. She is somehow both 3008 and 2000-and-late. As if by some whimsical series of misunderstandings she's to be permanently mistaken for a globally famous pop star, and she's making the best of it. Just as you would. Her "Sweet Child" is delightfully ramshackle and ill-advised, delivered with a three-pack-a-day hacking rasp and a vindictive-kindergarten-teacher undertone. It was like a wisely deleted karaoke-bar scene from Up in the Air, and it gave you bums something to complain about on Twitter for awhile, and as such it was tremendously successful. Andy Warhol would've loved her. He would've worn earplugs half the time, but still.

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29 comments
advinjhonsena
advinjhonsena

The inclusion of Slash and Usher terrible question sounds far from the worst seen. The only way it can say what perceive as normal plus a real standard.

Gabrielesposito
Gabrielesposito

what a bad bad show. how the B.E.P can be considered a real band is a mystery. What happened to the great american music ? the black guy and the indian are worst than Victoria of the spice girls. What a crap. Slash ? well he knows how to play. He looked relaxed. Maybe because Axl and Fergie they have the same age. Americans , what s going on with u amazing talent 4 music ?Gabriele. Rome. Italy

todd
todd

The Black Eyed Peas are the worst band in the history of music. I hate every ounce of that awful shit band. I would rather be locked in a room with every bad top 40 song in the history of music playing at top volume, all at once than to have to listen to a single note of shit from this fucking terrible band.

Tynkah
Tynkah

Aside from unnecessary the inclusion of Slash and Usher (and the atrocious sound issues) I rather enjoyed this year's half-time show... far from the worst we've seen! LOL!

OddWheelz
OddWheelz

I thought Fergie ROCKED "Sweet Child". Anyone who wants to be a critic better line up for American Idol and not get booted out.

Guest
Guest

Well, you don't count because you think that American Idol somehow validates talent. Everyone else, including Fergie, knows that she was a mess. Had Guns'N'Roses been up there playing that would have been an event worthy of the Superbowl.

note, I do like some of Chinese Democracy but when I say Guns'N'Roses I'm of course talking about the band that made Use Your Illusion if not Appetite for Destruction.

I can't knock Slash. What is he supposed to do? Say he won't appear at the Superbowl?

WLS-Gator81
WLS-Gator81

Some bands should be heard and not seen...

Xiongold
Xiongold

am i the only one who thought this was a good show

AV
AV

No! I thought Fergie ROCKED "Sweet Child". Anyone who wants to be a critic better line up for American Idol and not get booted out.

biter28
biter28

You gauge talent on whether or not they make it through Idol? Child please, that halftime show was sad.

Kazr
Kazr

I sat there with a look of absolute disbelief. So much so that my wife from across the room said "what's wrong?". I mumbled some colorful epithets to the effect that they could have used a disinterred Michael Jackson suspended by puppet strings and done a more interesting show. I wonder how many TVs other than mine got switched to off rather that view that absolute train wreck?

Verity In Stereo
Verity In Stereo

Unfortunately I don't think anyone turned off their TVs...we could only watch paralyzed by the horror...

Guest
Guest

So The Village Voice is an apologist for young and stupid, now?

Apologies to Springsteen's crotch, indeed.

Jackie Treehorn
Jackie Treehorn

I liked The Who's halftime show. Despite the rough edges, that was rock n roll by a band that can play live. the Peas don't "play" anything live.

memries
memries

why do i have a sense that the only reason that Slash was there was to p*ss off Axl?

Just me
Just me

This half time show was painful at best. For me, it was like passing a car reck on an interstate. Just gotta continue staring, in shock, and can't seem to look away. With a distressed facial expression and struggling to hold down the hot wings and and beer from reappearing on the floor, thinking to yourself, oh my, is this really where we've come to in music. Though music may be loosely used as a description hereto, I guess that's what they call it...I think it's time to restore a little class to the biggest sports event in this country. Black Eyed Peas? That was a blatant travesty.

Caitlin Tremblay
Caitlin Tremblay

Oh dear...It's performances like this that make me hate my generation for their poor taste in music.

choooch
choooch

Unfortunately, if the halftime show was left to a vote by the public, i have a feeling the BEPs would still be on stage last night.This is the world we live in.

fredo
fredo

Like most bands of today, they are hollow on stage. Blessed with dubbing and over dubbing they sound rich and full, left in the open air without the virtue of lipsync, they sound like a bad cover band. Add to this the Jerry World sound system and it made for a remarkable call for filmed half time shows, shown on the giant screens in the Stadium. Next year it should be the Faux Beatles

Guest
Guest

Just one thing: SHE's so 3008, YOU'RE so 2000-and-late. Other than that, yeah.

Dan Bensman
Dan Bensman

Solid freaking gold. Well played, Rob: "Slash will show up at a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof and play the "Sweet Child O' Mine" riff for 90 seconds if you pay him $50."

Greg Hoy
Greg Hoy

Other than being anachronistic, Slash is no different than the Black Eyed Peas. Both reached a large swath of demographic with their era's version of pop. Methinks the bitterness might better explain the author than the decision of whomever powers that be to include a 'guitar' in the spectacle. Careful Rob: your gray hair is showing.

Martin Johanssen
Martin Johanssen

"The mere presence of Slash is just depressing anymore"

I hate when people misuse the word "anymore" like this (not to be a pedant).

ECB
ECB

I think it's a regional thing -- I grew up in Pennsylvania, where this is 100% a standard usage, and in fact (despite being kind of a language snob in many ways), I have a very difficult time recognizing how this is an incorrect use of the word. The only way I can tell what I perceive as a normal "anymore" from an actual standard "anymore" is when my husband (not from PA) laughs at me.

4u2notice
4u2notice

Was it deliberate? It struck me as odd, but I was giving the author the benefit of the doubt. Maybe some people believe that 'anymore' should be used in this context instead of the far more appropriate 'now', and they are trying to force it down our throats through otherwise well written articles?

ibivi
ibivi

yeah, like "so fun". He had me until I read the "anymore".

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