The Bruno Mars Halftime Performance Won the Super Bowl

Music saved an awful night.

Sunday night’s game in North Jersey was one of the worst Super Bowls ever, so let’s not even bother talking about that. There were some entertaining ads, but it was hardly a banner year for Super Bowl commercials. The real winner of the Super Bowl was Bruno Mars.

I can’t remember the last time that a halftime performer garnered such universal praise, and it is well deserved. As I monitored social media last night, it seemed like not one person offered a reasonable critique of Mars’ performance.

I watched the game at a bar in Delaware County, just outside of Philadelphia. When Mars took the stage, it was pretty clear that most of the white, middle aged, working class types around me had no idea who he was. “Who the hell is this guy?” asked one. But within a few minutes, Mars, a consummate performer and entertainer, had won them–and the world–over.

Here’s the entire Bruno Mars Super Bowl halftime performance, in case you missed it (or understandably want to see it again):

Some notable reviews of Mars’ performance:

The Washington Post says “Bruno Mars shines in his big moment.”

USA Today: “His records are more famous than he is, but that may have all changed Sunday night.”

The New York Times: “…seriously adept, a fluent showman and bandleader, with a cache of sturdy songs.”

Variety: “Bruno Mars’ Flashy Halftime Blends Old School Showmanship.”

Actually, come to think of it, music in general won the Super Bowl. Queen Latifah delivered a lovely “America the Beautiful.” It was a little low-key, as others have noted. But then came opera star Renee Fleming with the National Anthem, which sent chills through anyone with a spine.

Even the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a notoriously lousy live band, couldn’t ruin the fun, when they came out during Mars’ set for a nicely segued “Give It Away Now.”

PHOTO: Associated Press.