PHOENIX — The Super Bowl halftime show doesn’t last long — just over 12 minutes in all — but Katy Perry is promising a memorable, wardrobe malfunction-free show Sunday.
“I don’t think I’m so much an expert on football,” Perry told reporters at a press conference Thursday at the Phoenix Convention Center. “But I can assure you that nothing about my performance will be deflated.”
Ouch. Perry knows enough about football to know that she won’t be rooting for the Patriots Sunday. The singer said she’s friends with Russell Wilson, and consulted with the Seahawks QB about how to stay fit for the big game.
“He said cheeseburgers and pizza,” said Perry. “That’s not going to work.”
Like the TV commercials that air during the game, the Super Bowl halftime show has become big business. But it wasn’t always. Before Beyoncé, Madonna, and the Who, a host of lesser lights performed at the NFL finale, including the Rockettes and Chubby Checker in 1988 and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in 1999. Perry confessed that it makes her a little squeamish to think that 100 million people in the US alone will watch her perform Sunday.
“It will be a spiritual experience for me a little bit,” said the singer, who went to kindergarten at Paradise Valley Christian School in nearby Scottsdale.
Perry said she heard that Pats party boy Rob Gronkowski warbled some of her song “Roar” at Media Day, adding “we’re in negotiations to have him be my opener for the rest of the tour.”
Asked if there’s a player on either team that she’s sweet on, Perry took a page from Marshawn Lynch’s playbook.
“I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” she said, copping a line from the notoriously recalcitrant running back.
Perry also pledged to keep her clothes on during Sunday’s Super Bowl performance, a reference to Janet Jackson’s controversial flash in 2004.
“I’m not a self-sabotager by nature,” she said. “My objective is to have people talking about the music and female empowerment.”
Thursday’s press conference gave us a much-needed break. The truth is, attending Super Bowl parties is an endurance test: How long can you be brutalized by a turned-up-to-10 PA and still make small talk with a stranger who’s looking over your shoulder to see if that’s Donovan McNabb?
Being properly fortified is key, of course, and for many that means a sitdown at a steakhouse, some place like Mastro’s or Capital Grille. But we followed the advice of our foodie friends in Phoenix and went to Virtu Honest Craft, chef Gio Osso’s splendid 25-seat restaurant in Scottsdale.
We’re glad we did. From the grilled asparagus with duck egg and bacon candy to Osso’s signature charred octopus — which looked ever so slightly like grilled pinky fingers with a drizzle of calabrian chile butter — to the pork rib chop with valdeon blue cheese, the food was exquisite.
Anything seems possible after such a meal, even standing for an hour amid the ravers at El Hefe, a Scottsdale bar where the female servers, wearing XXS T-shirts and pink volleyball shorts, occasionally stop what they’re doing to dance on a table. We were there because actress Taryn Manning, an Arizona native best known for her roles in “8 Mile” and “Orange Is the New Black,” was doing a guest DJ thing.
But Manning — no relation to Peyton — wasn’t expected until midnight so we headed over to Maya, one of a slew of Scottsdale nightclubs with one-word names. (There’s also Blur and Cake and Mint and Inter’l.) Maya is an open-air venue — this is the desert, after all — arranged around a gleaming, in-ground pool. After a generous pour of bourbon, we wanted to take the plunge, but figured one of the VIP guests — “SNL” alum David Spade or Fox Sports commentator Joe Buck or former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher — should go first. They didn’t. So instead we kicked back cabana-style and ogled the crowd, whose quotient of gorgeousness seemed unusually high.
Mark Shanahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.