Politically, our nation may be hopelessly divided, but on one thing, blue and red states can agree: the Black Eyed Peas’ Super Bowl XLV halftime show was dreadful. In an ESPN poll, a plurality of respondents from all fifty states gave the Black Eyed Peas a grade of F for their performance. 35 percent of respondents overall gave the group an F, while another 35 percent gave them a C or D. They received more Fs than any other grade in every single state, and also throughout the world, as 34 percent of over 3,000 respondents outside the U.S. gave the group an F.
To some degree, this surely reflects some folks’ preference for music that features people playing instruments, especially in live contexts. (There was some guitar playing thanks to a cameo from Slash, but only a little.) Some pop music lovers file this preference under “rockism,” which is the application of the values of rock music to music that isn’t rock. A lot of people are going to give a group like the Black Eyed Peas an F no matter what.
Still, that doesn’t explain most of the responses. Personally, I’m not opposed to live performances that don’t feature instruments, but the Black Eyed Peas are just bad. You could see the contrast between their weirdly limp performance and the cameo by Usher, which was so much more fluid and alive. And the sound quality left a lot to be desired throughout the show.