Katy Perry says that she did not pony up for the opportunity to headline a gig that is annually the world’s most-watched concert, the Super Bowl halftime show. “I put my foot down very early in the courtship,” she told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I said, ‘Look guys, here’s where I draw a line in the sand.’ I want to be invited on my own merits and not with some fine print.”
The pop singer went on to say that she remained adamant to her position during negotiations. “I don’t even care if my contract leaks,” she said. “I have nothing to hide, basically.”
Perry, who said her performance would last 12 minutes and comprise two different “worlds,” also described herself as the perfect halftime performer in the interview. “I’m all about female empowerment and uplifting people’s spirits, and people finding their own voice with songs like ‘Roar’ and ‘Firework,’ so maybe there is no better person [for the show],” she said. “Hopefully I can bring that incredible strength and empowerment to people through the performance.”
The Super Bowl will take place on February 1st at Glendale, Arizona’s University of Phoenix Stadium.
Last summer, news broke that the NFL had reportedly approached Perry, Rihanna and Coldplay – their top choices for this year’s halftime show – and asked them for a portion of their post-game tour earnings or some other form of payment for Super Bowl exposure. Last year’s halftime show, which featured Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers and a heap of post-show controversy, was seen by 115.3 million viewers. Mars went on to gross $43 million in tour revenue by mid-2014. Similarly, Beyoncé – who performed during the 2013 halftime show – went on to make nearly $180 million from touring that year.
When Rolling Stone approached the agents for superstar artists last summer to weigh in on the NFL’s pay-for-play concept (a rep for Perry did not return a request for comment), they scoffed at the notion. “Is Paul McCartney going to pay?” Dennis Arfa, who reps Metallica, Billy Joel and Rush, said. “I doubt it.”
“We’ve ruled out Janet Jackson,” an NFL spokesperson joked to Rolling Stone, referring to “nipplegate,” at the time. They had not yet confirmed Perry. (During her Associated Press interview, the “Roar” singer downplayed any censor-baiting salaciousness: “My intention is that everyone talks about the music and nothing else.”)
The “Firework” singer confirmed the gig last October. Prior to the booking, Perry joked with ESPN’s College GameDay about the pay-for-play scheme. “I have let them know that I’m not the kind of girl who would pay to play the Super Bowl,” she said. “The ball is in their field.”
Earlier this month, Perry raised the profile of her appearance by announcing Lenny Kravitz as a guest performer, calling him an “incredible rock & roll icon, a guitar god,” on the Today Show. She added, “He’s the coolest!” Perry’s recent AP article mentioned “guests,” so another announcement is likely to arrive soon.