Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show Sunday, with its eye-popping, stunning and colorful visual effects, illusions and lights was a success mainly because of others — including the energetic Missy Elliott — and high-tech effects.
Did Perry even break a sweat?
The pop star kicked off the performance atop a robotic tiger, her outfit covered in a flame design. She seemed confident and ready to take the big stage, her voice strong over what sounded like a pre-recorded track.
The stage turned to a futuristic vibe for the Southern, electro-flavoured "Dark Horse" and into a beach for "Teenage Dream" and "California Gurls." Now in a colorful dress surrounded by people in beach ball, shark, surfboard and palm tree costumes, blue lighting surrounded the base of the stage appearing as water. It came off like a music video.
Perry relied too much on the spectacle rather than her own talent. That was evident when Lenny Kravitz joined her for a rock-filled version of "I Kissed a Girl," where he was the highlight, shining on the guitar.
The 12-minute performance even turned into "The Missy Elliott Show" when the reclusive rapper hit the stage as the beginning beat of "Get Ur Freak On" blasted. A decade later, the song still sounded like a hit as Elliott rapped like a veteran.
Perry joined Elliott, attempting to dance beside her but came off like a student lost in choreography class. She nicely rocked an oversize jersey, but had zero swag. Elliott went on to the steal the thunder with performances of "Work It" and "Lose Control."
Perry ended her set in a shimmery gown, as she rose in the air and slowed it down for the inspirational "Firework" as, appropriately, fireworks burst.
That wasn't the only fiery moment: Before the game began, "Frozen" star Idina Menzel belted out an outstanding live rendition of the national anthem ahead of the big game in Phoenix.
Menzel was confident in all-black, singing what she assured would be live days before Super Bowl. After she sang the last note, she yelled in excitement: "Yes!"
"I didn't want to rush," Menzel said in an interview after the performance. "I wanted to take in the moment and connect to the song that I was singing, not get swept away by all the grandiosity and excitement, and connect. And sing from my heart."
The performance comes a month after the Tony-winning star was criticized for her performance of "Let It Go" during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve." At one point the crowd booed loudly, but it was because Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was shown on screen.
Asked if the booing was a distraction, Menzel said: "I knew better. I knew I hit the note well, I wasn't worried it was me."
"And they warn you," she added, laughing.
John Legend, in typical form, brought the soul when he sang "America the Beautiful." He hit all the right notes while playing piano before the Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots.
Kravitz said he was grateful for Perry's call to join her onstage.
"This wasn't my thing. She asked me to come and perform with her and I said, 'Yes' and it ended up being a really great experience," he said in an interview.
AP writers Anthony McCartney and Astrid Galvan contributed to this report.