I'm not a Belieber, but I am a football fan and the two are mixing
At first I was afraid, I was petrified. Then, I resisted bit back an F-bomb and then I just shook my head in disgust.
That was my reaction when I read who would be gracing the stage during halftime at this year’s Grey Cup. Justin Bieber. Carly Rae Jepsen. Mariana’s Trench. Gordon Lightfoot. Poor, poor Mr. Lightfoot.
I’m a sucker for championship games, regardless of the sport. The teams are fired up, the pinnacle of the sport is on the line, the drama is amplified and there’s usually a decent spectacle to go with it.
In football’s case, the halftime shows are sometimes bigger spectacles than the game itself. A few weeks ago, I was wholeheartedly looking forward to watching the 100th Grey Cup, regardless of which teams were playing. The key word here is was.
Canada’s premier football league is celebrating an entire century and we employ a scrawny, 18-year-old Usher wannabe and a Canadian Idol reject to entertain us? No barbs against Mariana’s Trench or Mr. Lightfoot. MT’s a decent band that actually hits 90 per cent of its notes when it sings live and Lightfoot’s a legend. Though, I have a feeling he was half-heartedly thrown into the mix so some of the older fans would know at least one act.
From what I’ve seen, I’m not the only one who shares this sentiment. At least, that’s what Twitter tells me. There are those who used more colourful language than I did to express their repulse for the Biebs and the one we have to blame for Call Me Maybe. Others who have been able to keep a level head have said ‘deal with it, the CFL is trying to appeal to the younger generation and this is the way to do it.’
Fair enough. I have no doubt that BC Place will be packed to the rafters with diehard football fans, who will be too intoxicated to care who plays the show as well as squealing 13 year olds and that will make the league money. The latter should all be given a post-game quiz on who was playing in the game, who won and name one player from each team
For the rest of us who have to watch the game on TV, it will be four quarters of good, hard-fought football broken up by a beer and snack run and an extended bathroom break. The real football fans aren’t the teenage girls who burst into tears at the sight of Canada’s “greatest musical import.” However, if you are a parent who has raised a daughter who will be watching the game primarily for the football, bless your heart.
Bieber may be the biggest thing in music right now, but for a milestone as big a 100 years, why is the CFL trying to appeal to a demographic as small as the one Bieber reaches? Why not throw in a few different genres? Open with someone like Johnny Reid, allow Mr. Lightfoot or another classic act to grace the middle of the show and then end with Bieber. In one fell swoop, you’ll have covered the markets on the wives who aren’t allowed to change the channel, those who appreciate good, Canadian music and the teenyboppers.
It’s not just this year’s lineup that I have a problem with. For some reason, halftime shows have become a constant source of disappointment for me, and not just in the CFL. Every few years, a gem of a headliner comes along, like Springsteen, the Who or Blue Rodeo, and then there are messes like The Black Eyed Peas who would have been better off lip syncing than attempting to sing live.
It doesn’t help that most of these games are kicked off by some of the worst renditions of the national anthem I’ve ever heard, Canadian and American. Butchered anthems are one of my biggest pet peeves. I can forgive forgetting the words. If I was singing in front of 50,000 people I’d be nervous, too. But there is no reason to turn a two-minute song into a five-minute opera that has double the notes of the original melody.
There’s only one person who’s ever been able to do that properly and may she rest in peace.
So, for the Beliebers out there, I sincerely hope you enjoy the show. I say that without sarcasm. I once was a fan of the pop sensation everyone hated, but in their defence they played the Superbowl with Aerosmith. To the rest of you, enjoy the game. If you see me skulking down the chip aisle of the grocery store Nov. 25 around 8 p.m., you’ll know why.