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Bruce Springsteen a Super Bowl winner

February 2, 2009 |  2:42 pm

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Hey, Oscars voters, were you watching? Bruce Springsteen may have gotten shut out of your Super Bowl of Showbiz when you refused to nominate him for performing the title track to "The Wrestler," but he wowed viewers of that other Super Bowl, the one in Tampa Bay, with his hard-rocking half-time show. While Jennifer Hudson performed a poignant version of the national anthem that hushed the crowd in the pregame, Bruce Springsteen delivered a four-song set at half-time that set the stadium rocking. Both performances may now be nominated by Emmy Award voters next.

As the New York Daily News reported, "The Boss promised Super Bowl viewers a 12-minute party and what the Boss promises, the Boss delivers." The time constraint meant that verses from each of the songs — "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," "Born to Run," "Working on a Dream," and "Glory Days" — had to be cut. However, that did not take away from his performance. As Rolling Stone raved, "More than 70,000 who had been jeering, heckling and cajoling each other for hours were dancing, suddenly all revelers at Bruce’s party." Even the New York Times opined: "He rose to the occasion, but never above it. And Springsteen, a reliable left-winger — when he described his band’s sound as 'righteous,' it had a splash of double-meaning grit — didn’t use his platform to advocate for anything more pressing than louder volume."

'It's not a concert, but a teaser — and it was, admittedly, an entertaining one — for Springsteen's upcoming tour," writes Todd Martens in the L.A. Times' Pop & Hiss blog.

Bruce Springsteen has had a very busy few weeks. On Jan. 11, he won the Golden Globe for his title track to the film "The Wrestler." A week later, he was a stand-out in the all-star lineup for the inaugural concert of President Barack Obama. On Jan. 22, he was snubbed by the members of the music branch of the academy when his tune did not number among the three songs that scored Oscar nominations. This omission was even more surprising given that Springsteen won an Oscar in 1993 for the song "Streets of Philadelphia" from the film "Philadelphia." And he was nominated two years later for the title song of "Dead Man Walking" but lost to "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas."

Just as Jennifer Hudson was not the first Oscar winner to sing the national anthem — Cher (1987 lead actress winner, "Moonstruck") did in 1999 — so too was Springsteen not the first Oscar winner to appear in the half-time show. In 2000, Phil Collins did so just weeks before winning an Oscar for the song "You'll Be in My Heart" from "Tarzan." In 2005, Paul McCartney performed at half-time. He, along with the other three Beatles — George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr — won the 1970 original song score Oscar for "Let It Be." And two years ago, Prince — the 1984 song score winner for "Purple Rain" — headlined the half-time concert.

Photo credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images

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