Twelve thousand dollars for a single seat; three million for a box; 1.4million chicken wings; Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Ben Affleck selling donuts – it could only be one thing: The Superbowl.
We were also teased by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. At one point we were told they might be ‘in the building’ (the building being the Allegiant stadium in Las Vegas), but hide nor hair of them came there none.
Not like them to miss out on an opportunity to hob-nob with some of America’s biggest players, both on and off the pitch. Must have been a prior engagement, or perhaps a childcare emergency. Surely they couldn’t be NFI to the NFL?
No matter. The night was a glorious reminder that, despite being led by a man who can’t tell the difference between Egypt and Mexico, America is still pretty damn great when it comes to putting on a show for the watching world.
Some 115million viewers, including yours truly, tuned in to watch the Kansas Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in a thrilling showdown. That’s more than Swift’s monthly private jet bill.
Victory at The Super Bowl undoubtably went to Swift, whose blinding star power is such that it seems to obscure everyone around her, writes Sarah Vine. She embraced her Chiefs star boyfriend Travis Kelce at the end of the game
Taylor Swift, 34, was joined by pal Blake Lively, 36, as she cheered on her boyfriend Travis Kelce, 34
At one point audiences were told Harry and Meghan might be ‘in the building’ (the building being the Allegiant stadium in Las Vegas ), but that didn’t seem to be the case
I must confess I had never heard of either team before last night, and was only vaguely aware of the existence of one Travis Kelce, boyfriend of the aforementioned.
Having never seen a single game of American football I was also somewhat thrown by the action on the pitch, which to me seemed far more reminiscent of rugby than football, but I guess that’s just semantics. As to the rules, they seemed even more baffling than cricket.
If the Brits have Wimbledon, the Americans have the Superbowl, both in their unique ways as much expressions of the national culture as they are sporting fixtures.
We like to show the world what we stand for against the polite backdrop of strawberries and cream, rain and gentle courtside applause; the Americans go all out with Dunkin Donuts, dry ice, scantily clad dancing girls and a headache-inducing soundtrack.
Last night’s spectacular kicked off with the somewhat bizarre spectacle of the rapper Post Malone, complete with face tattoos and metal teeth, warbling a breathy version of ‘America’ on acoustic guitar.
That was followed by veteran country and western star Reba McEntire singing the national anthem (cut to Taylor clutching her chest), a task she performed admirably given the fact that her entire face seemed almost incapable of movement.
We were told that the presence of Swift was to draw a whole new audience of ‘Swifties’ to the game, intent on keeping tabs with their idol. Her legions of fans are not best pleased about her romance with Kelce, and given his general demeanour it’s not hard to see why.
At one point during the first half, frustrated with how the game was going, he shoved his 65-year-old coach in a most un-sporting manner. Up in her box, Taylor downed her drink in one – and the crowd went wild.
Ever the player herself, she took the opportunity to do some networking of her own, fangirling Paul McCartney (who wouldn’t?) and scotching rumours of a rift with Lana del Rey, whom some thought she had snubbed at the Grammys recently.
There’s been quite some beef online between Lana and Taylor fans as a result, so it was clever of her to be seen arm-in-arm – despite supporting opposite teams.
No wonder Kanye West, in attendance with his new ‘wife’ Bianca (for once actually wearing some clothes) arrived wearing a face mask, presumably to shield his eyes from her power rays, writes Sarah Vine
Also among the stars in the audience were Beyonce and Jay-Z, pictured, Lady Gaga , Kim Kardashian and Ben Affleck
Apart from the ‘football’, the big event of the night is the half-time show. Last year it was Rihanna, in an iconic performance during which she revealed her latest pregnancy; a couple of years before that Dr Dre, Eminem and Snoop Dog performed a truly memorable set.
Last night it was the turn of R&B star Usher, and I’m afraid it wasn’t quite in the same league. There were quite a few sound issues, and despite his impressive dance moves it all felt a bit flat.
Yes, he took off his sparkly tank top to reveal his pecs, yes, he roller-skated in sequins, yes he made all the right noises and moves – but even with Alicia Keys, Will.I.Am and an entire troupe of circus performers to back him up, he still couldn’t win the night.
That victory undoubtedly went to Swift, whose blinding star power is such that it seems to obscure everyone around her. No wonder Kanye West, in attendance with his new ‘wife’ Bianca (for once actually wearing some clothes) arrived wearing a face mask, presumably to shield his eyes from her power rays.
If the presence of her one-time nemesis disturbed her, it didn’t show. She ended the night in the arms of her new beloved, kissing him passionately after his team narrowly stole the trophy from the 49ers in a move that will have sent her fans into a frenzy.
It was positively gladiatorial: he the undisputed champion in the arena, mighty in victory; she his muse, his inspiration, his lucky charm. Honestly, her own agent couldn’t have scripted it better. Once again, Swift makes history – by becoming the first woman to win the Superbowl.