In the absence of a better option these days, it appears that we default to Alicia Keys as a live performer at big events. In the last two months alone, she’s played at the MSG concert benefit for Sandy victims (one of just two modern performers to do so), she’s sang at the President’s second Inaugural Ball (“O…bama’s on FIIIYAHHHH!!!!“), she performed that National Anthem at the Superdome before Super Bowl XLVII, and she’ll be showing up at the 2013 Grammys soon enough.
Now, she’s gonna be the featured halftime artist at the NBA All-Star Game in Houston as well. Now, NBA all-star halftime isn’t quite on the level of big-dealness as the Super Bowl, but for those pop-leaning hoop-heads of us out there, it’s a slot of decent importance, and occasionally makes for some memorable performances, as with Rihanna’s set two years ago featuring both Kanye West and Drake. Alicia is about the least exciting performer they could’ve gotten for this—whoreally wants to hear “Girl on Fire” again, like, ever?—and there’s no H-Town connection we can think of to explain the choice. (They couldn’t get Drake, really? He’s got a new song. Who loves Houston more than Drake?)
Making this an even worse choice is the fact that Alicia already played All-Star halftime not all that long ago—at Cowboys Stadium in 2010. She was OK, but certainly not so great that anyone watching said to themselves “Oh man, I really hope she’s back within the next three years.” I mean, imagine if next year’s Super Bowl halftime was played by the Black Eyed Peas again? It just seems so unprofessional to have a repeat halftime artist this quickly, especially one as meh as Keys.
At least there should be some interesting performances elsewhere throughout the weekend. Ellie Goulding will show up pre-game to give a run through “Lights,” which is actually a pretty great choice for NBA pre-game music, and Fall Out Boy will also be showing up at some point for their first TV performance in ages, presumably to play new song “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up).” Maybe Houston attendees will decide they like those guys better and stage some sort of coup at halftime. NBA fans can only hope.