Pitbull and Chris Brown’s All-Star Game Performance Will Make You Nostalgic for M.I.A.’s Middle Finger

If, like most of us, you spent your Sunday night watching Billy Crystal viciously mock Christopher Plummer, then you missed — well, technically you missed Pitbull’s NBA All-Star game performance, which featured Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, and what has to be at least three/fourths of Orlando’s lithe, smiley-female-dancer population. But really: You missed nothing. Over 13 minutes — 13 minutes!!! — Pitbull, dressed like John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank, mugged ferociously, callously switching out his precious lyrics in order to better pander to the collected NBA fandom. “Orlando make it crazy! NBA All-Star weekend! Everybody put your hands up!” No thank you, Pitbull. I think I would rather wander the concourse in search of a commemorative pretzel holder. Also: You “don’t play baseball” but you “hit a home run”? Who is writing your lyrics? And how extensive is that person’s whippet budget?

Oh, right: Chris Brown showed up, unannounced. That’s right: Chris Brown, still not nearly close to being ostracized enough to not be invited to nationally televised events. (This probably would not please Seth Rogen, who went at the guy on the Independent Spirit Awards over the weekend via a sideways defense of Bret Ratner: “You say a few hateful things, they don’t let you within a few hundred yards of the Oscars. You can literally beat the shit out of a nominee and they’ll ask you to perform twice at the Grammys.”) Later, Ne-Yo materialized within some sort of alien space-probe light to get felt up by dead-eyed girls.

Look, going as big as humanly possible has long been the norm for these things. But when will it stop? When will bombarding our every sense not be the only way to go? When will a gentle acoustic number from some anonymous, baseball-cap-wearing country guy soothe our fried nerve endings? I say to you, organizers of major sporting event music performances: Hire Eric Church. That dude is pretty dope.

Filed Under: Chris Brown, Music, NBA, Ne-Yo, Pitbull

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Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

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