|Super Bowl coverage meets `American Idol' with Seacrest hosting, Abdul singing|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 03 February 2008 12:56|
The daylong broadcast of Super Bowl Sunday arrived with more than a few similarities to the media drum beat accompanying the impending primaries of Super Tuesday.
This year's Super Bowl broadcaster, Fox, trumpeted ``wall-to-wall coverage,'' trotted out endless punditry and unleashed innumerable predictions on whether those from New York had a chance.
The Giants were much more of an underdog than New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton heading into Sunday. But both contests - usually lopsided affairs - have a special buzz this year.
Drama was not hard to find in selling this year's Super Bowl, which matched the undefeated New England Patriots with one of the NFL's marquee franchises, hailing from the country's biggest market.
With those factors in mind, Fox and its advertisers were eyeing to break the record 94.08 million viewers who watched the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in January 1996, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Whatever the number, it will surely be more than the turnout for Super Tuesday. Still, an ABC News-Washington Post poll taken last week found Americans are nearly as excited about Tuesday's primaries (37 percent) as they were about the Super Bowl (40 percent.)
Fox opened Sunday's coverage at noon (EDT), with the official pre-game show beginning at 2 p.m., live from Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Curt Menefee anchored the regular Fox Sports cast of Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson.
Four hours, though, is a long time to fake laugh.
Their football commentary was surrounded by entertainment segments, including those from Fox News host Neil Cavuto and impersonator Frank Caliendo of TBS' ``Frank TV.'' Caliendo, a frequent contributor to Fox Sports, finally seemed to have gotten on Bradshaw's last nerve.
``My mom will whup his butt,'' said Bradshaw. ``I'm fed up with this little runt.''
Eventually it became clear the pre-game was more ``American Idol'' than X's and O's analysis.
A red carpet was hosted by - who else? - ``Idol'' host Ryan Seacrest. Among those joining him were former ``Idol'' winner Jordin Sparks, who was to sing the national anthem, and judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
how red carpet tradition to the normally beer-soaked stadium parking lot.
It was, literally, a red carpet to nowhere, as it was located a half-mile from Phoenix Stadium.
Abdul used the stage to debut her first new single in a decade: ``Dance Like There's No Tomorrow.'' Abdul, who has had her share of public miscues, performed the song in a taped performance from some undisclosed location.
Note to the next dismissed ``Idol'' contestant: Be sure to tell Paula that at least you didn't lip-sync.
Seacrest didn't draw any of the game's players to the red carpet, but he did find a fairly steady stream of celebrities on their way to the game, including John Travolta, Nick Lachey, Lawrence Fishburne, Hugh Laurie and John Krasinski.
Similar to the award show red carpets that Seacrest often traffics in, his only real question was: ``Who are you rooting for?''
The field saw its first action of the day when Alicia Keys performed before a not-yet-filled stadium and a mob of swaying fans clustered around a small, circular stage.
Thickly covered in makeup and wearing black-and-white leopard pants, Keys played the pop star, rather than the classic, Grammy-winning artist, and ably sang a medley including new and old songs.
The non-leopard-pants-wearing Keys, though, is much preferable.
The big event - no, not the game; the halftime show - was to be performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Petty's act was planned to last 12 minutes and included moving 56 carts on and off the field.
The ABC News-Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone between Jan. 25-29 among a random sample of 1,019 adults. There is a 3-point margin of error.