St. Petersburg Times: Super Bowl XXXV
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Super Bowl XXXV Tampa, Florida 2001
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  • The Road to Super Bowl XXXV

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    Pregame stars

    Sting, Ray Charles and the Backstreet Boys will highlight the star-studded pregame show for Sunday’s Super Bowl.

    [Times photos: John Pendygraft]
    Sting fires a football during Friday's press conference at Raymond James Stadium on the Super Bowl's pregame show. He will perform Desert Rose and Roxanne.

    By BABITA PERSAUD

    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 27, 2001


    TAMPA -- Sports meshed with entertainment isn't something you'd find back in England, said Sting. "Bands don't normally play football matches," he said.

    Why not?

    "They'd only get in the way of all the fighting."

    But at the Super Bowl, that oh-so-American event, you find stars sprinkled everywhere -- even at the pregame show.

    Some of those stars came out early, for a news conference at Raymond James Stadium Friday: Sting, Styx and the Backstreet Boys -- most tossing a football for the cameras.

    Sting will sing Desert Rose and Roxanne, which fulfills the producers' desire for something old and something new, he said. Desert Rose is his current hit, Roxanne his first hit with his old band the Police.

    Rhythm and blues legend Ray Charles, who was unable to make the news conference, will sing America the Beautiful, and then the Backstreet Boys will sing the national anthem.

    photo
    Members of the Backstreet Boys, who will sing the national anthem before the Super Bowl, toss a football during Friday's press conference.
    The Backstreet Boys almost didn't make the news conference, showing up 2 1/2 hours late.

    "We were stuck in the elevator," said Kevin Richardson. He was joking, but no one was laughing.

    The Boys spoke for 10 minutes, mostly bowing to Entertainment Tonight's requests to shout out to its camera: "Hey ET."

    Most of the boys are rooting for the Ravens. Nick Carter, who hails from Tampa, also sided with the Ravens "because of Trent." (For those who haven't been paying attention, that's former Bucs quarterback Trent Dilfer who was let go last season only to return to Tampa for the Super Bowl.)

    Carter celebrates his 21st birthday on Super Bowl Sunday. A party at FUN is planned for him afterward.

    While the Boys were late -- and reporters booed and grumbled -- 14-time Grammy Award winner Sting was on time. He looked very Florida with Navy blue sweater over his shoulders.

    He's staying in Miami and just flew in for the day for the news conference and will fly in for the game. Sting will be performing with Cheb Mami, the fluid, middle eastern voice you hear on the Desert Rose track. A native of Algeria, Mami is a big success in France.

    They add the international spice to the pregame show.

    photo
    Tampa teen group PYT talks with the media Friday. It will perform a remake of a Bee Gees song.
    But there is also a lot of local flavor. The Tampa teen group PYT will sing a remake of Bee Gees You Should be Dancing at the game. "We're very excited," the young girls said, almost together into the podium mike.

    Kaci, a 13-year-old from Seminole, will be performing -- but not live. A video of her singing will be shown on the jumbo screen.

    And then there are some 500 dancers, who will be in the Gasparilla and beach scenes, most of which won't be televised. The theme is Life's Super in Central Florida.

    Local resident Tom Cooney, a member of the deaf sports hall of fame, will sign the national anthem.

    Today's Super Bowl story lineup

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