Say what you will about Katy Perry’s brand of pop music, but her Super Bowl halftime show was not short on entertainment. The frenetic energy of her performance at University of Phoenix Stadium provided a fitting intermission to one of the most raucous Super Bowls ever.
After her outstanding showing on College Gameday at Ole Miss in October, Perry is carving a nice niche in the football landscape. The same could not be said of Ashlee Simpson 10 years ago when she was tabbed to provide the halftime show of the Orange Bowl.
If you’re asking who the hell is Ashlee Simpson, consider yourself lucky. Hopefully you’ve forgotten other awful trends in the mid-2000s like Von Dutch caps and The Simple Life.
For those in need of a refresher, Ashlee is the younger sister of Jessica Simpson. Ashlee launched an abortive music career in the wake of Jessica’s meteoric rise during the early 2000s, the proverbial striking while the iron was hot.
And Jessica’s iron was hot. Her reality series on MTV, Newlyweds, aired at seemingly all hours and made then-husband Nick Lachey famous enough to be a USC football sideline celebrity.
However, the marketing geniuses behind Ashlee’s push to stardom had to differentiate her as more than just Jessica’s little sister. They did this by aping the Avril Lavigne blueprint of couching saccharine pop in Hot Topic wardrobes.
And it was all chronicled via reality series. On MTV. Very original.
Anyway, the 2005 Orange Bowl halftime show was one of Simpsons’ first national gigs after a lip-syncing meltdown on Saturday Night Live.
Now, a college halftime show is difficult to screw up. Let each schools’ marching band perform and that’s that. The Orange Bowl even had one of the premier marching bands right there.
Ashlee Simpson may have had a reality series on MTV, but the Spirit of Troy was in Naked Gun.
The show was predictably bad, but would not have achieved legendary status were the Orange Bowl a competitive game.
But whereas Katy Perry’s show fit the energy of Super Bowl XLIX, Simpson’s ill-fated halftime show fit the game of which it was a part.
USC went down to Oklahoma 7-0 in the opening minutes, then went on a 38-3 run for the remainder of the first half.
Imagine you spent the hundreds to fly from Oklahoma to Miami, another couple hundred renting a hotel at a peak season, and even more on tickets, all to see your team absolutely boat-raced.
Add some booze, and, well…the result is what you might expect.
Maybe labeling this the worst halftime show ever is harsh, but Simpson was undoubtedly the worst choice for the situation.
So if you didn’t appreciate Katy Perry before, hopefully you will now. And maybe consider thanking the organizers of the Fiesta Bowl for never inviting Kevin Federline to perform.