For the last 30 years, Mr. Ken Erlich has delivered many an unforgettable moment as the producer of the Grammy Awards, tasked with delivering a bigger, bolder and breathtaking show with every passing year.
Now, after reports revealed that the National Football League was to accept financial contributions from artists who hoped to book their iconic halftime show spot, Erlich has weighed in on the matter, after Katy Perry and Rihanna were named as the two female acts most likely to rock next year’s event.
His stance below…
Ken Ehrlich, who has produced the Grammy Awards for more than 30 years, tells Billboard, “I don’t know that a Super Bowl performance, other than exposing an artist to a larger audience, does as much as the right performance on ‘Saturday Night Live’ or the right moment on the Grammys. I don’t question the value of the cache of being the halftime Super Bowl act. It’s easy to rememberBruce Springsteen, it’s easy to remember Prince. Bruce and Prince — they were as big as the venue. Honestly, at other times, the venue was bigger than the artist.”
This year’s headliner, Bruno Mars, was a big leap of faith for the NFL, who had previously tapped more established stars like The Who, U2 and Madonna to anchor the 12-minute concert. The gamble paid off, with Mars’ halftime currently holding the record for most-watched in Super Bowl history. Though it helped sell out the second leg of Mars’ Moonshine Jungle Tour, Ehrlich argues it wasn’t a “career-defining moment.” “It’s kind of easy to remember Bruno Mars, but Bruno basically did the same thing he had done before, just on a larger stage with lasers,” he says. “Katy Perry, Coldplay and Rihanna have already had career-defining moments on television.”
As Billboard recently hypothesized in a speculative column posted on Aug. 15,Katy Perry is the most likely front-runner for the gig based on her track record of No. 1 hits, as well as sheer logistics — her PRISMatic World Tour has a month-long gap in dates right around the Feb. 1 timing of the Super Bowl. Ehrlich remains ambivalent on the Super Bowl’s relative impact for her too. “Katy Perry is larger than life. Her tour, no question, is the biggest tour out there. It’s probably the kind of performance that will not be dwarfed by the venue. Will it do for her what her performance of ‘Dark Horse’ did on the Grammys? Who knows?
“Katy Perry was a huge star,” Ehrlich continues of the time she played “Roar” on last fall’s MTV VMAs, as well as “Dark Horse” on this year’s Grammys. “It makes a lot of sense for Katy Perry to do a Super Bowl, but if it’s true she has to pay to do it, then it becomes questionable. I don’t know what the value received is.”