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Bruno Mars at the Super Bowl: Why choosing him makes good (business) sense

There are still nearly four months left in 2013, but we already know what the most-watched musical performance of next year is going to be.

Over the weekend, the NFL announced that the next Super Bowl Halftime Show performer will be Bruno Mars. He’ll take the stage midway through football’s championship game on February 2 inside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (home to both the New York Giants and the undefeated New York Jets).

There are a number of names that were tossed out as alternatives to Mars, the most popular being Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Jay Z. But there are compelling reasons for all three of those to be avoided, if they were even considered: Springsteen did the halftime show too recently (remember when he crushed that camera with his crotch?), Bon Jovi seems to be in flux (who knows if the Richie Sambora situation will be resolved by February), and Jay Z is way too polarizing for an event of this size and scale (even with his nods to big business, he remains too risky a figure for this stage as far as the check writers are concerned).

Really, Mars is the biggest pop star to never have done the halftime show, save for maybe Taylor Swift (who seems like a lock to do this show some day). And his resumé is chock full of qualifications for one of music’s biggest gigs: He has two chart-topping albums, five Hot 100 number ones, has shifted over 115 million singles, and has already performed on the Grammys, the VMAs, and Saturday Night Live. He’s a bona fide superstar, and yet the overwhelming reaction to the announcement that he got the gig has been negative: He’s not a representative of New Jersey (or New York), he’s simultaneously too young and too old; he’s too short.

But really, the selection of Mars should not be surprising to anybody. The Super Bowl is, primarily, a massive business opportunity for advertisers, media outlets, corporate sponsors, and the NFL itself, and Mars represents a shrewd business solution: He’s famous and an excellent live performer, but most importantly, he sounds like someone your mom would like.

That last piece of criteria is the most important: Since the Super Bowl is the most-watched television event of the year (and many broadcasts have become the most-watched television event of all time, at the time), programmers have to assume that there are people watching who don’t normally watch football and don’t pay close attention to music.

That’s why the game itself is weighed down with non-sports-related tie-ins, why the commercials have been built into the entertainment, and why the halftime music tends to skew towards the broadest selections.  READ FULL STORY

Bruno Mars is not Jersey enough to play Super Bowl halftime, says Twitter

We all know there’s no pleasing Twitter, but the news of Bruno Mars playing the Super Bowl halftime show really got the micro-blogging site riled up — especially the New Jersey/New York contingent.

See, Super Bowl XLVIII is at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets, and a vocal group of fans thinks one of that region’s iconic artists — especially Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, or Bon Jovi — should have gotten the gig instead. Of course, the Super Bowl is the most-watched TV event of the year and reaches every corner of the United States, so to choose the musical act regionally really isn’t necessary. Last year’s Bowl was in New Orleans, but Houston native Beyoncé — not, say, Harry Connick Jr. or Lil Wayne — performed during halftime.

But let’s give the Twitter masses the floor to state their case:
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Bruno Mars confirmed for Super Bowl: What can we expect?

It was reported upon speculation yesterday, but now it’s official: Bruno Mars will be performing at the Super Bowl halftime show next year on Feb. 2.

The official announcement came moments before the NFL season’s first Sunday games began, but since we’ve had a day or so to digest this information, it’s time to start wondering what it all means.

For one thing, Mars will be the youngest performer in recent years to helm the world’s most-watched musical event. The past decade’s list of main acts have included Beyoncé, Prince, the Who, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul McCartney — all of whom have had slightly-to-significantly more experience than the 27-year-old Mars. (He’ll be 28 by next February.)

Plus, Mars only has two albums so far to cull songs from; most performers have much more of a back catalog to pick through. (His second record, Unorthodox Jukebox, dropped last December.) Of course, he’s not short on radio hits — from “Grenade” to “When I Was Your Man,” he’s got plenty of surefire crowd-pleasers to choose from. Yet the announcement also allows speculation as to whether he might release new music by then, giving him something further to promote in front of a global stage.

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Bruno Mars to perform at Super Bowl half time show

Grammy-winner Bruno Mars will sing at halftime of the Super Bowl in February, a person familiar with the NFL’s entertainment plans told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. The official word is expected to come at an event in New York’s Times Square on Sunday.

The NFL’s regular season began Thursday, and the first full slate of games is Sunday.

The Super Bowl will be played Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Halftime shows have drawn more than 100 million television viewers in the United States alone in past years.
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Paul McCartney added to iHeartRadio festival lineup

Paul McCartney will perform at the iHeartRadio music festival in Las Vegas next month.

Clear Channel said Wednesday that the former Beatle will perform on the second night of the two-day festival, which kicks off Sept. 20. He joins a list of top performers, including Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Drake.

Ryan Seacrest will host the event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Chris Brown, Maroon 5, Keith Urban, Miguel, J. Cole, and fun. will also perform.

The event will include a festival dubbed iHeartRadio Music Festival Village. It will feature performances on two stages from Miley Cyrus, The Wanted, and Avril Lavigne.

Muse, Tiesto, Phoenix, Zedd, Tim McGraw, Ke$ha, and Queen with Adam Lambert will also perform during the main show.

Bruno Mars' time-traveling 'Treasure' video: Watch it here

We should probably just change the name of this year from “2013” to “1978,” because there are more sparkly suits and disco guitars than we know what to do with.

Daft Punk is grooving with Giorgio Moroder, Mayer Hawthorne is channeling Steely Dan, and now Bruno Mars has gone full-on Betamax for his new video for the track “Treasure.” It’s all there: The suits, the setting, and the bong-water video effects. Check it out below:

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Billboard Music Awards: The three most memorable performances from last night

Last night’s Billboard Music Awards featured all sorts of great moments — at least, if you’re not Justin Bieber.

And while the Biebs getting booed may have been the highlight for more than a few schadenfreuders, there were plenty of other water-cooler moments, including Miguel’s accidental pro-wrestling body slam on a fan (don’t worry, she’s recovering), Taylor Swift’s insanely coordinated rendition of “22,” and Pitbull and Christina Aguilera going back to the source of the infamous ’80s sample in their “Feel This Moment.” (We’d love to show you an Afro’d Prince doing “Let’s Go Crazy,” but the Purple One does not allow his performance footage to live on the internets.)

And then, of course, there was EW cover boy Bruno Mars, who put on a reliably dazzling show, opening the broadcast with his newest single, “Treasure” and a whole lot of red satin. Click after the jump for clips of the night’s most memorable moments:

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Bruno Mars on his tour playlist: Waka Flocka, Jake Bugg, Michael Jackson and more -- EXCLUSIVE

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This week’s cover star Bruno Mars is about to spend the next five months crisscrossing the globe on his massive Moonshine Jungle Tour — and man cannot live on backstage catering and laptop DVDs alone. He needs music!

We got Mars to tell us about the songs and albums that soundtrack his life on the road, and put it all in a Spotify player after the jump so you can tour the tunes for yourself.

JAKE BUGG
“He’s kind of got an Arctic Monkeys thing, who I love, but there are also some parts that remind me of Elvis. I think his song ‘Lighting Bolt’ has a very rockabilly, ‘50s like Elvis [vibe], and I like ‘Slide.’”

 WAKA FLOCKA FLAME
“We’ll put on the most ratchet music you can think of backstage. ‘O Let’s Do It’ by Waka Flocka was kind of our anthem for the last tour — every night before the show it’d be that one, so we’ll probably do it again, just for comfort reasons. We’ll jump around, taking shots — ‘Alright, let’s go!’ and then the curtain opens on a bunch of 14 year old girls. [laughs]” READ FULL STORY

Billboard Awards performers announced: Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, more

Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber will hit the stage at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 19.

Billboard announced Wednesday that Bruno Mars and R&B singer Miguel will also perform at the awards show. Those acts are finalists for the milestone award, a new honor presented to an act who has achieved a landmark on the Billboard charts in the last year.

Other nominees include The Band Perry and Pitbull.Nominations for other categories haven’t been announced.

Prince will receive the icon award at the show, to air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Online voting is open for the milestone award and will be narrowed to three finalists later this month.

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Bruno Mars tops album chart for the first time, Thom Yorke takes second place

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It took a while, but Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox is now a No. 1 album.

When the album was released last December, it hit debuted at No. 2., just behind Taylor Swift’s RedJukebox has been hanging out fairly high on the Billboard 200 albums chart since then, and sat at No. 2 last week.

But with some help from a massive sale on Amazon, which sold the album for $1.99 and then $3.99 last week, Mars’ second release finally had enough juice to top the charts, with Nielsen SoundScan reporting 95,000 copies sold. That’s a 96% increase from its performance the week before, giving Mars his first ever No. 1 album. (Billboard’s math wizards have deduced that without Amazon’s efforts, Jukebox would likely have ranked at No. 2 this week.)

So who would’ve been No. 1 otherwise? All signs point to Atoms for Peace, the Thom Yorke-led group whose debut Amok came in at No. 2 with 50,000 moved units.

Before Mars’ ascent, Mumford and Sons’ Grammy-winning Babel had a two-week hold on the top spot, but this week it fell to No. 3, with 43,000 sold. READ FULL STORY

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