Since Janet Jackson infamously bared her nipple on national television at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime Show, the NFL has played it safe by booking "heritage" rock'n'roll acts like Tom Petty and the Who. But those efforts to bring G-rated fare into everyone's living room haven't always worked: Bruce Springsteen managed to crotch-slide into a camera in 2009, while Prince appeared to mime masturbation.
So perhaps it's not surprising that the NFL is returning to comparatively edgier pop music again with this year's halftime act the Black Eyed Peas, who, according to Will.i.am, will deliver an eye-popping spectacle worthy of the Bowl's status as Most Watched Television Event of the Year.
"We're known for doing outlandish things and we're going to make this a big spectacle," Will says of the Peas, who've got a lot riding on the performance after their latest album The Beginning failed to produce as many No. 1 singles as 2009's The E.N.D..
But it's not like Fergie's going to drop her top.
Instead, Peas' creative director Fatima Robinson will choreograph a 15-minute medley of songs that features some outrageous new dance moves and an over-the-top wardrobe. "With this outfit I'm wearing, it created jobs," jokes Will. "I'm stimulating the economy."
He wants the performance to be one of the most interactive in years: "You know how before Super Bowl shows there's a crowd that runs onto the stage, like, 'Ahhhhhh!'? Well, we're not having it this year. Everybody is a part of it. Everybody is a part of the show!"
Interestingly, Will says he directed the commercials that will air immediately before and after the group's halftime set, although he won't divulge what they are.
And he adds that after the performance, the group will unveil an "animated series" on the website DipDive: "You'll see the next thing that we're going to do, what we're graduating onto."
All that aside, Will.i.am knows there are plenty of Black Eyed Peas haters out there, and he says the halftime show isn't intended change their minds - or gain new fans like your grandmother. "This isn't about winning people over. But even if people don't like us, I want them to say 'That shit was crazy! Them muthafuckas was nuts! That was the best 13-minutes I've seen! And that guy Will.i.am is awesome as shit. Damn!'"
More Black Eyed Peas on SPIN.com:
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Black Eyed Peas, Ludacris Kick Off World Tour >>