The Super Bowl means just as much to the entertainment world as it does to those who follow sports.
As the big game approaches, one of the top questions along with “Who’s going to win?” is “What will Janet Jackson be doing at the halftime show?” But Janet isn’t the only celebrity cutie who’ll be catching eyes during the MTV-produced AOL Top Speed Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime performance Sunday. Jessica Simpson has just been added to the festivities.
MTV’s 12-minute program will commence with a short film, and then one half of the world’s most popular newlyweds will call for the party to start. From there the Houston native will hand it over to fellow hometown favorites Texas Southern University and the University of Houston. The TSU Ocean of Soul marching band and the UH Spirit of Houston Cougar marching band will unite as one, coming with their instruments blaring and feet stomping, leading the way for Ms. Jackson.
Although the bands have different styles – with TSU moving with a pump-and-drive, high-knee marching style and U of H using the more traditional heel-to-toe method – they’ve been able to meet in the middle.
“It’s working out fine,” affirmed TSU Band Director Richard F. Lee. “We have two different styles but we move the same distance at the same time; eight steps every five yards.” Lee and UH band director David Bertman will share the reins on Sunday.
After seeing videotapes of the bands, Jackson was eager to work with both squads so she could bring something new to the table for her halftime performance.
“Me and Janet thought it would be great to change one of our numbers and introduce a drum line into our routine,” Jackson’s choreographer, Gil Duldulao, said Tuesday. “This is different because I know a lot of band members aren’t dancers. So I’m happy to have the time beforehand to teach and sort of lead them in the direction that I feel is perfect for what we’re doing onstage.”
Janet will be backed by 26 dancers, 360 regular band members and a 60-person drum line. Each school has an equal amount of people playing.
“I don’t think the Super Bowl has ever seen a performance like this,” Duldulao added. “The dancing is great. She’s more stylized, she’s more feminine, she’s more a woman as she dances this time around. There are some shocking moments in there too. It’s a lot of pressure, there’s so many creative people and creative artists, you want to make sure everything is different, and I think she’s going to do that. She’s doing her job well.”
In addition to Jackson and Simpson, P. Diddy, Nelly and Kid Rock will also perform at halftime.
Super Bowl XXXVIII will air live from Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Sunday. Coverage begins at 9 a.m. ET with the special “MTV’s TRL at the Super Bowl.”