Que Sarah, Sarah

Monday, March 24, 2008

Love It or Hate It - Abdul & Petty

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


By Sarah Spain
Love of Sports Correspondent

One is a gristly Floridian who has garnered 17 Grammy nominations and was named to the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame in part for hit singles like "American Girl."

The other is a ditzy Californian who started out as an NBA cheerleader, rose to fame with "Forever Your Girl" and became a worldwide celebrity judging American Idol.

Love it or hate it, Tom Petty and Paula Abdul are performing at this year's Super Bowl. I guess you could say "Opposites Attract."

Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers have been rocking stages since the '70s. As evidenced in a memorable Jerry Maguire scene, Petty's one of the great providers of "car anthems" — the jams that make you wanna roll down your windows, turn your steering wheel into a drum and sing along. From "Free Fallin'" to "Breakdown" and "Learning To Fly" to "Refugee," the man has generated more singles than a stripper at The Gold Club.

While many of Petty's upbeat songs have dominated airwaves, it's revelations like "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Don't Come Around Here No More" and "Crawling Back To You" that have solidified his reputation as a true artist, not jut a hit-maker. If you're ever going through a tough time and his song "It'll All Work Out" doesn't give you at least a moment's peace, then you're just not listening right.

While some have questioned whether Petty is a good fit for the Super Bowl, I for one have no doubt he'll rock the dome right off the University of Phoenix Stadium. New Yorkers and Bostonians alike will be out of their seats singing "I Won't Back Down" and "Running Down A Dream" out "Into the Great Wide Open" air of Glendale. That's why I'm lovin' Tom Petty as the halftime show headliner.

While Petty was announced as the game's halftime performer months ago, the details of Paula Abdul's involvement have been kept under wraps like Tom Brady's ankle. Rumors suggest that Abdul and fellow Idol judge Randy Jackson will perform a duet, but Abdul's official website provides only this cryptic message: "Stay tuned for Paula and Randy's 'Super' surprise at the Super Bowl on February 3."

A "surprise," huh? Well, one thing I'm not surprised by is FOX's decision to tie their big money-maker, American Idol, into their Super Bowl coverage. They've already got the king of cross-promotion, Ryan Seacrest, hosting a "red carpet" pregame one can only hope won't involve any singing.

I will, however, be surprised if Abdul's appearance is a success. "Straight Up," I'm hatin' the choice of Abdul as a Super Bowl performer.

Nevermind that the oft-parodied Abdul's abnormal behavior has fueled rumors of alcohol and substance abuse. Let's ignore her 2004 hit-and-run arrest and rumors of an illicit affair with an Idol contestant. For now, let's concentrate on Abdul's singing. That is, of course, why she'd be involved in the show in the first place.

It's been over 13 years since Abdul's last album, "Head Over Heels," which few people were in a "Rush, Rush" to buy. Of course, the market for bubblegum pop and beat-based songs hasn't dried up. Even the trainwreck that is Britney Spears found success with her recent dance track, "Gimme More."

Abdul will most likely debut her new single "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow," which will appear on Jackson's upcoming release, "Randy Jackson's Music Club, Volume 1." The song sounds a bit like Hillary Duff covering an unreleased (for good reason) 1980s Madonna song. If history's any indicator, these harsh football fans are gonna be one "Cold Hearted" audience. I anticipate a cacophony of boos the likes of which haven't been heard since Ashlee Simpson's Orange Bowl performance.

There is one possible light at the end of this proverbial tunnel: TMZ.com is reporting that Soulja Boy will appear with Abdul and I, for one, can't wait to see if he Supermans that ho.

No word yet on whether "MC Skat Kat" will make a appearance through the magic of CGI. One can only hope.

When all is said and done and "It's Time To Move On," I predict Petty will be humming "It's Good to Be King" while Abdul hears echoes of "Yer So Bad" for years to come.

Petty and Abdul in Super Bowl XLII. Love it or hate it? You decide.


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