Katy Perry promises ‘wild’ Super Bowl halftime show

PHOENIX — Katy Perry says her Super Bowl halftime performance will make you “Roar” – with animals.

The singer told reporters at a press conference Thursday that her performance Sunday will include “a lion and sharks.”

“It’s going to be wild out there,” Perry teased.

Perry, 30, said she feels blessed to perform on the Super Bowl stage “at such a young age.” She said she enjoyed past Super Bowl performances from Beyoncé and Madonna, and what she adds “is some lightheartedness.”

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Lenny Kravitz will join the pop star at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. Perry said her performance will also include an “old school” female singer who she declined to identify but said would be instantly familiar from the get-go.

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“When you hear the first ring of the chord, I think jaws will drop and faces will melt,” she said.

Later Thursday, a person familiar with the plans for the halftime show told The Associated Press that the surprise guest is slated to be Grammy winner Missy Elliott, who was featured on a remix of Perry’s song “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).”

She said the audience can expect to hear two of her hits, “Roar” and “Firework.” Her performance would be a visual feast in the tradition of Madonna and will celebrate “female empowerment,” she said.

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Perry said one element of the show is the unfurling of a giant screen that will go on the field for visual effects, and she’ll also change her outfit several times.

She said the logistics of the performance will be difficult, and she plans to sing through much of it. “A lot of it will be live,” she said.

Perry, who’s in the midst of a world tour, said she’s been closely involved in planning the extravaganza. “There is not a diamond on the shoe that has not gone past my eyes,” she said.

“I feel that in some ways it’s a spiritual experience for me,” she said.

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“I just hope that at the end of the day, over 100 million people are all smiling in unison,” Perry said.

Perry was playful with reporters, indulging one who wanted to take a selfie photo with her and shouting at a pair of puppets brought by a Mexican television crew.

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While she was enthusiastic about talking about her show, when the topic turned to her love life, Perry channeled Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who’s gained fame for refusing to answer reporters’ questions.

“I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” Perry said with a serious face. In true Lynch fashion, she repeated the line again.

Perry said she’s good friends with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and will be rooting for the Seahawks on Sunday.

Perry said she’s taken health advice from Wilson, and her tour has her in good physical shape for Sunday’s performance.

“I think that we’re all athletes out there on the field,” she said. “We’re all very athletic in the show. We’re really prepared.”

Idina Menzel, pictured on Jan. 29, 2015.
Idina Menzel, pictured on Jan. 29, 2015. Getty Images

Kicking Off The Game

Broadway star Idina Menzel says Whitney Houston’s rendition of the national anthem is her favorite version, but she’s looking to make the song her own this Sunday.

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Menzel said singing the anthem before Super Bowl 49 is the culmination of a lifelong dream, one forged on Sundays watching football with her father.

“It’s the pinnacle. It’s the milestone in my career,” Menzel, a Broadway star who’s gained widespread popularity, said Thursday.

But Menzel cautioned people not to just pay attention to the song’s high notes, which have been a benchmark for singers since Houston’s rousing version before Super Bowl 25.

Houston radiated the spirit of the song, Menzel said. “It was Whitney,” she said of what made that rendition memorable. “There was just something so beautiful that was coming from her that day.”

Menzel said she will sing the song live, so that her rendition captures what she is feeling at the moment.

“It’s a beautiful melody, and I just want the humanity and the truth to come out,” she said.

Menzel, who’s become a superstar after singing and voice acting in the Disney film Frozen, said she doesn’t expect to be more nervous about her upcoming performance than she is singing before a Broadway audience.

“I love to sing, I love to perform live,” she said. “I love to put myself out there and make myself vulnerable.”

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She became famous for appearing in both the stage and film versions of Rent, and has since appeared in films and performed at last year’s Academy Awards.

Menzel infused her press conference Thursday with details about her relationship with football.

“I grew up watching football every Sunday with my dad,” she said. Despite that, she couldn’t easily pick a favorite team.

“I’m a daughter of a betting man and whoever covered the spread was who I was going to root for,” Menzel joked.

She knows she’ll be pulling for the Seattle Seahawks, though.

“I’m rooting for Seattle because I’m a New Yorker and I cannot in good faith root for the Patriots,” she said.

– with files by Howard Fendrich of The Associated Press.