That all changed Sunday night when tens of millions got their first chance to see why he’s one of the most exciting live acts of his generation.
Mars, 28, took his high-powered live show to Super Bowl halftime, creating what felt like an intimate show in the arena and supersizing it in what has become a defining moment for those who preceded him on the list of halftime performers in the big game.
The Grammy Award-winning singer eliminated any doubters from the second he appeared on screen in a skinny tie and gold jacket almost as dazzling as his smile.
He played a deep-groove drum solo while rolling across the field on a raised, motorized platform, then joined his smoking hot live band for a series of energetically executed hits that were clearly not lip-synced. He then seamlessly integrated the Red Hot Chili Peppers set.
“There were a lot of doubters and my man delivered,” Fox commentator Howie Long said after the performance.
You couldn’t disagree.
There were no flubs, no negative moments that will live on at the water cooler this morning. And while you can argue about the entertainment value of watching shirtless Chili Peppers gambol about the stage, the 50-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famers managed to match Mars’ energy in a brief appearance that was no less memorable.
Mars is one of the youngest artists to perform during the halftime show, following recent performances from Beyonce, Madonna and the Black Eyed Peas, who flopped in 2011.
Mars was named Billboard’s top artist of 2013, and his latest album, Unorthodox Jukebox, won the best pop vocal album Grammy Award last week. He has connected with fans of all ages, his R&B-pop sound has become a staple on radios around the world, and his live shows are critically acclaimed.
Mars has written and produced songs for artists including Alicia Keys, Justin Bieber and CeeLo Green.
The singer, who grew up in Hawaii, said chasing his dream wasn’t always easy.
“Don’t let anyone ever try to stop you. That’s what I had to face when I moved up to California. Nobody knew what nationality I was and that was such a big deal I guess in the music industry, that we don’t know who to sell these records (to) or what radio stations (should play them), and a lot of people were trying to tell me, ‘You’re too unorthodox,’” he said during his news conference earlier in the week. “If you got your head on straight and focus on what you do and practice your craft, then you have nowhere else to go but up.”