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Superstars belt out favorites, or lip synch them

[Times photo: Carrie Pratt]
Gwen Stefani of No Doubt struts down the catwalk during halftime. The energetic band got hundreds of fans on the field jumping to their breakout hit Just a Girl before joining Sting for Message In a Bottle.
By GINA VIVINETTO, Times Pop Music Critic
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 27, 2003

Super Bowl XXXVII's dynamic halftime show might have helped convert any fans not already caught up in the game's excitement Sunday night. But macho guys craving roughhouse rock were probably puzzled by the estrogen bent of the performance.

Country superstar Shania Twain kicked off the set with Man! I Feel Like A Woman! Decked out in a futuristic goth cape, Twain put The Matrix in dominatrix. The singer opted to lip synch the tune, a disappointment to fans more interested in Twain's talent than her sexy good looks.

Twain's backing band pranced around her -- a good thing, since the Canadian singer's smooth pop country sound often doesn't require much from that fiddle player. Twain ended her set by being raised above the crowd in a cherry-picker crane.

Thankfully, the fun California ska-pop act No Doubt -- the only Americans on the bill -- saved the day with an energetic romp through its hit Just A Girl. Lead singer Gwen Stefani began by doing a few push-ups, then jumped to her feet, flaunting her famously bare midriff.

Stefani chose to sing live, and did so robustly, dancing and gyrating all over the stage. The blond bombshell made it a point to morph that song's lyrics for the event; she belted out, "I'm just a girl at the Super Bowl!" to crowd cheers. A group of punky-looking cheerleaders resembling the creepy pep squad of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit video emerged and flailed wildly. (Bucs fans note: The band and the squad both wore red.)

Next came Sting, who brought a pinch of testosterone to the festivities. The British pop star, a noted New Ager who does yoga, dusted off Message In A Bottle, his old chestnut with his former band, the Police. Sting, too, sang live, and midway was joined by the irrepressible Stefani. (Perhaps Twain was stuck in that crane? Or had she not prerecorded the requisite vocals?)

Backed by the No Doubt fellas, who donned various "sporty" accoutrements such as the black stripes under drummer Adrian Young's eyes, Sting and Stefani harmonized deliciously. In an interesting twist, Sting hit the chorus's high notes while Stefani tested the lower registers of her range.

What was all this gender ambiguity? And, at the Super Bowl, for heaven's sake. Hey, once upon a time, the Bucs, too, weren't ever supposed to be there.

For the television broadcast pregame festivities, country superstars the Dixie Chicks performed a spine-tingling, three-part harmonized national anthem. (It's standard for performers in charge of handling The Star-Spangled Banner duties to prerecord the song.) This performance marked the trio's first public appearance since Emily Robison gave birth to baby Charles in November.

Before the Chicks, pop songbird Celine Dion sang God Bless America. Who would guess from Dion's trademark over-the-top gusto on the patriotic tune that like, Twain, she's Canadian?
photo Country superstar Shania Twain sparkled during halftime, lip synching two of her popular tunes and rising above the crowd on a crane to close her set.
[Times photo: Bill Serne]

-- To contact Gina Vivinetto, e-mail .

Back to the Super Bowl XXXVII
Today's lineup

Super Bowl XXXVII
  • Treasure THIS
  • Gary Shelton: The best: Say it, savor it
  • John Romano: Gimme Five!
  • Howard Troxler: Hope springs eternal, but a win sooner is better
  • The journeyman from FSU leads the way to victory
  • Shining moment not just about stars
  • Defensive ends help set game's momentum
  • Game balls
  • Raiders refuse to give the Bucs their due
  • Secondary shines on grandest stage
  • McCardell leads receivers' big day
  • Raiders quotebook
  • Bucs quotebook
  • Pittman churns out 124 yards
  • Oakland sends center home for going MIA
  • Reaction in San Diego: At long, long last, it's nirvana for some ordinary fans

  • Hometown reaction
  • Welcome the team home tonight
  • Meanwhile, a quiet world still turns
  • Frenzied fans take over Dale Mabry
  • For jubilant fans in Tampa Bay, 'This is our time. Right here.'

  • Fans in San Diego: Good ol' boys wander in front of TV cameras
  • First quarter: A little early deja vu for the Bucs
  • Second quarter: A Bucs blowout is on the horizon
  • Third quarter: Bucs team effort pads the lead
  • Fourth quarter: The defense comes through
  • TV ads: Ads didn't live up to former glory
  • TV sound bites: Dream duo solid calling big game
  • Entertainment: Superstars belt out favorites, or lip synch them
  • Jacksonville planning committee finds model worth emulating
  • Letters:Revenge against Steeler is sweet
  • Back to Top
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