Baby, You’re a Firework: Katy Perry Blows the Roof Off Super Bowl XLIX

The powers that be at Super Bowl XLIX made an announcement prior to the game that the retractable roof at the University of Phoenix Stadium—where home team Cardinals have played with the roof closed for every game since December 2013—would be opened up Sunday evening.

Turns out that wasn’t just due to the fact that Phoenix was finally enjoying lovely temps after a week of unusually sloppy weather. Rain or shine, halftime attraction Katy Perry had a plan to make ‘em go “oh, oh, oh…” and that she did, treating the crowd to a finale of “Firework” which included a dazzling fireworks show—thus requiring, of course, the lid off.

That wasn’t Perry’s only striking moment in the half show, however. The singer, who has a long-held reputation for over-the-top, cartoon-like visuals, gave her all during a colorful and entertaining set that included as much to look at as to hear. 

Purrfect: Perry’s first move was showing up in a dress that appeared to be made of flames. From there, she opened up with her hit “Roar,” perched upon a giant animatronic cat—reminiscent of Broadway’s Lion King—which strode the length of the field.

Smooth Move: From there, Perry moved directly into “Dark Horse,” which featured an ensemble of dancers dressed as chess pieces, moving around a lighted checkered board which rippled and pulsated to the beat.

Are You Gonna Go My Way?: Much-anticipated special guest Lenny Kravitz joined Perry following the chess number for a straightforward version of Perry’s 2008 single “I Kissed A Girl.” Kravitz electrified the crowd, not with a dazzling costume (he wore his usual simple leather jacket, jeans, and sunglasses), but with an all-too-short display of his guitar prowess before disappearing from the stage while Perry made yet another costume change.

California Gurl: Perry re-appeared in a dress featuring beach-ball style bra cups to launch “Teenage Dream”; her backdrop literally came alive in an H.R. Puffnstuff-styled fantasy. Palm trees, cartoon sharks, more beach balls, and surfboards—all with googly eyes and smiling faces—joined her in a fun repertoire that likely got the kids in the audience all agog. Perry juxtaposed this number with her hit “California Gurls,” for which she added a backup team of (human) girls in polka-dot bikinis.

Freak Out: Perry announced directly before the Super Bowl that she would be joined on stage by an old-school female rapper. Indeed, she made good on this promise — Missy Elliott joined her following the beach segment for a full three numbers of her own music: “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It,” and “Lose Control.” While the crowd was appreciative, it remains a mystery why Elliott was granted a generous percentage of time to her own songs, while the equally venerable but higher-profile Kravitz was not given the same treatment.

Shooting Star: From there, Perry—no stranger to soaring above the crowd—boarded a pulley topped by a shooting star graphic to rise up, up, up for her finale of “Firework.” As previously noted, the open roof accommodated a full pyrotechnic show, much to the appreciation of the spectators.