Between the commercials, the halftime extravaganza and lingerie-clad counter-programming, it’s hard to remember that the reason the Super Bowl is the most-watched TV event of the year is because of, you know, the football game.
Music has increasingly become the biggest distraction from the gridiron action, and this year, that’s truer than ever, with a Grammy-night-worthy roster of acts lining up to get a bit of shine on football’s biggest day.
There is, of course, the prime-time halftime slot, which has become a haven for classic-rock acts, with one of the biggest one taking the stage this year: the Boss. [artist id="975"]Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band[/artist] will run onto the field between halves — two days before their latest album, Working on a Dream, drops — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
[artist id="501090"]Faith Hill[/artist] will sing “America the Beautiful” before the game on Sunday, and Jennifer Hudson will give her first public performance since the murders of her mother, brother and nephew when she sings that national anthem at the game.
On Thursday, the Pepsi Smash concert will air live from the Ford Amphitheatre on VH1, with sets from [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist], [artist id="1235716"]Fall Out Boy[/artist] and [artist id="1011129"]Lifehouse[/artist], with actor Jerry O’Connell hosting. The next night, [artist id="1508982"]Enrique Iglesias[/artist] will headline Pepsi Musica Super Bowl Fiesta at the Ford on Telemundo, which will air Saturday. Friday night will also bring the Miller Lite Super Party in St. Petersburg at Williams Park starring [artist id="1165809"]Hoobastank[/artist], and the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at the USF Sun Dome.
Saturday night boasts the Hard Rock Hotel’s Rock & Soul Super Saturday Night show featuring the ubiquitous [artist id="1521450"]Will.I.Am[/artist] and DJ Ruckus, with possible appearances by invited guests including Paris Hilton, Brody Jenner and the Kardashians.
That’s not to be confused with the Seminole Hard Rock Revolution party on Friday night, hosted by “Entourage” star Kevin “Johnny Drama” Dillon and Khloe Kardashian, with music from DJs Colleen Shannon and Selfborn.
If you’re in Florida, you gotta see [artist id="2583152"]Flo Rida[/artist], right? You’re in luck, because the “Low” rapper is playing at the Green Iguana in Tampa as part of a Low Dough Pregame Show. Celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson will take to the decks at another Green Iguana outlet in Tampa, in the Westshore Hotel, following the game for a Celebrity Postgame Show, and Tampa’s Club Underground is promoting the I Am Legend Super Bowl party, hosted by [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist], on Saturday night.
Not to be outdone, [artist id="1244169"]Diddy[/artist], NFL legend Deion Sanders and boxer Winky Wright are hosting what’s being called a three-day, star-studded party leading up the game called the Good Life Experience at the Venue in St. Petersburg from January 29-31. Among the guests promised to drop by are comedian Dane Cook and football legend Warren Sapp, and Diddy is set to host the final night’s events, called the Icons of the Good Life Diamonds and Pearls Gala.
And just like you can’t have a party without Will.I.Am, you can’t host an event without the equally everywhere-at-once Dave Navarro, who will be MCing the Rock-N-Babes gig at the Hula Bay Club in Tampa on Saturday with J-Mello. Another party staple, DJ AM, will be spinning with DJ Jazzy Jeff at a Super Bowl kickoff party at AJA on Thursday night in Tampa. [artist id="1330"]Journey[/artist] and [artist id="1784962"]John Legend[/artist] will also be part of the pregame festivities, performing adjacent to Raymond James Stadium at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Some other random acts making the scene: DJ Kid Capri at the 2009 Players After Party; Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander at the Band Together charity show on Saturday at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Petersburg; actor Kevin Costner with his band, Modern West, at the Super Sunday HQ party on Saturday night at TPepin Hospitality Centre with New York Giants legend Michael Strahan; Nelly and Jermaine Dupri co-hosting the Under the Veil 2 party on Saturday night at the Museum of Science and Industry; and Nick Lachey teaming up with NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson for the Super Skins Party at the Hula Bay Club in Tampa on Friday, followed by the Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic the next day.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that [artist id="1133"]Snoop Dogg[/artist] is performing at the Anheuser-Busch-sponsored pregame Bud Bowl concert at Channelside in Tampa on Friday night, with 3 Doors Down playing the next night.