Earlier in the evening, Kelly Clarkson delivered a model and embarrassment-free rendition of the national anthem, all but erasing the butchering it got from Christina Aguilera last year.
Backed by 45 lovably geeky-looking members of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Clarkson demonstrated a couple of things about “The Star-Spangled Banner”: 1. The words aren’t so hard to remember and 2. Simple is still the best and most graceful way to deliver it. NBC’s only mistake was to aim the camera at everyone but Clarkson, at one point zooming in on Eli Manning’s pores.
Clarkson also got a helping hand from married duo Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, who delivered a similarly restrained and lovely rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Could we possibly be entering a post-melismatic era of anthem singing? Or is that just wishful thinking?
Back to the ads, if we must. VW kept it clever with a bit about a fat dog going on a workout regimen so he can once again bound through the doggy door and chase the 2012 Beetle, but then the commercial segued into “Star Wars” territory again, which served VW well last year but fell flat this time. As Darth Vader would say, “All too easy.”
More cars than beer this time: Hyundai tried it every which way, including an ad that featured its Alabama assembly plant workers singing the “Rocky” theme a capella, but it scored with an ad in which a cheetah tried to race one of the Korean cars and instead turned on its keeper. Another, for the Chevy Silverado, offered a wry take on apocalypse, in which only male, Twinkie-eating Silverado owners survive the end of the world — which brings new meaning to “Not if you were the last man on Earth.”
Chrysler enlisted Clint Eastwood to build on the advertising campaign it unveiled at last year’s Super Bowl — further jingoism and hubristic proclamations of Detroit’s resiliency. Last year’s “Detroit is back” ad, featuring Eminem and church choirs, at least made some sort of sense. This one just seemed like a ridiculous and even quasi-political tangle of images and bombast.
The Super Bowl continued to be a fair measure of our cultural weirdness around sex and gender, but nobody seemed terribly interested in getting too thinky or interesting about it. We see your Go Daddy babes and raise you one nearly-naked David Beckham, modeling his new H&M tighty-whities. My favorite commercial aired during the pre-game show: an Old Navy ad that featured the “Corporado,” those men who will forever wear pleated khaki pants and corporate-logo polo shirts and keep their phones clipped to their belts. They are beyond help, even at Old Navy.
Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima was featured in an ad for Teleflora, reminding men that Valentine’s Day “is not all that complicated. Give and you shall receive.”
You are expected to know what she means.
Sorry, seen that ad already. Seen ’em all. Watching Super Bowl on TV was like trying to rouse a lover who fell asleep long ago. How is all this pre-release considered progress?
More from Washington Post:
A play-by-play of the Madonna halftime show.
The 10 Super Bowl commercials that are worth a second look.
Photos from Super Bowl XLVI.