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NEW YORK — The Super Bowl has attracted iconic performers over the years — Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, the Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few.
After Beyoncé played last year’s halftime show, the NFL will stick with a younger performer for the mid-game festivities and bring a classical niche to a pregame performance.
Bruno Mars will perform Sunday during the halftime show, accompanied by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The 28-year-old pop star from Hawaii offered a refreshing break from the week’s structured NFL news conferences, joking and laughing with reporters Thursday at the Rose Theater in New York.
He made fun of his height and hair, and opened up about his appreciation for playing in front of one of the biggest TV audiences with one of his favorite bands.
“You got an apple box for me?” the 5-foot-5 singer said as he walked up to the podium.
Mars refused to hint at any big surprises planned for Sunday’s show, despite many attempts to coax him into sharing the details. He did, however, join the nation in commiserating about the cold weather for the game.
“It’s cold. That’s the surprise,” he said of rehearsals this week.
Getting down to more serious business, Mars said he was thrilled to share the stage with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He said it was the first band he thought of when the NFL asked if he’d like to collaborate with another artist for the show.
“I’ve been a fan a long time,” he said. “It’s an honor to be sharing the stage with them.”
When asked for a prediction in Sunday’s game, Mars remained neutral.
“You’re trying to get me in trouble,” he said.
Before Mars takes the stage Sunday, Renée Fleming will warm up the crowd with patriotic opera.
Fleming, who on Thursday was referred to as the “Peyton Manning of the opera world,” said she was pleasantly surprised that the NFL has incorporated her genre into the football sphere.
“If you asked me six months ago if I’d be doing this, I would have laughed,” she said. “I applaud the NFL for ... doing something different.”
Fleming also opted to pass on a prediction.
“I’m just excited to be here,” she said.
Other pregame performers include the Band Perry, Phillip Phillips, and Queen Latifah.