3DownNation contributors share their thoughts on Canadian music star Shania Twain being named as the halftime act for the 105th Grey Cup in Ottawa.
By John Hodge
The purpose of a Grey Cup halftime show is to engage a young audience — one that may not otherwise be interested in the CFL’s championship game.
Twain may be the second-best selling Canadian artist of all-time, but she hasn’t released an album in fifteen years. She has a new album upcoming (Now will be released on September 29), but there’s no guarantee it will connect with listeners — particularly the young demographic a Grey Cup halftime performer is supposed to reach.
Many people asked who I’d choose to perform at the Grey Cup halftime show after I expressed negativity about the league’s choice during last night’s game between Edmonton and Ottawa.
Complaining about halftime performers at football games is tired and cliche… but Shania Twain is a terrible choice. #2017GC
— John Hodge (@JohnDHodge) August 11, 2017
To me, the choices are plentiful.
Three of the 13 top-selling albums of 2016 were released by Canadian artists: Justin Bieber’s Purpose, Drake’s Views, and Michael Buble’s Nobody But Me.
Drake is one of the most popular hip hop artists on the planet, regardless of nationality. A Drake Grey Cup performance would get international attention and create a stir on social media with young audience members across the country.
Bieber has performed at a Grey Cup recently, but so has Twain (2002), meaning there’s no reason that Bieber couldn’t perform again. He may have been booed in 2012, but widespread Bieber hate has died down in recent years. Finally, Buble may not be of strong appeal to youth, but he’s ten years younger than Twain and has sold more than 30 million albums since Twain last released a record. There’s momentum there.
Also worth mentioning is B.C.-born Carly Rae Jepsen. Though it’s been a few years since her smash hit single “Call Me Maybe,” Jepsen’s 2015 release Emotion was met with widespread critical acclaim.
And that’s just the Canadian options. Ed Sheeran, Twenty One Pilots, Sam Smith, and many more international acts would be big enough to move the needle for the league without being impossible to get (like, say, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars or Beyonce).
I have nothing personal against Shania Twain or her music — I just feel there are fresher, younger, and more relevant artists who deserve an opportunity to play the 105th Grey Cup.
By Darrell Davis
Wearing a puffy, yellow winter jacket and red toque, Shania Twain bounced on-stage at the 2002 Grey Cup and performed like the host Edmonton Eskimos’ offence:
Two and out!
Here’s hoping the Canadian superstar sings more than two songs during her next Grey Cup performance. The CFL has announced Twain, the world’s best-selling female country artist, will continue revitalizing her career with another halftime performance at its championship game, Nov. 26 in Ottawa.
The announcement caused flashbacks to 2002, when most of the 62,531 fans inside chilly Commonwealth Stadium believed Twain was lip-synching her two songs, “I’m Gonna Getcha Good” and “UP!” She also seemed to be lip-synching during her Super Bowl performance a few months later. It didn’t matter.
Fifteen years ago, Twain was at the height of her popularity. She almost made the pro-Eskimos crowd forget their team, with a struggling offence showing an inability to extend any possession longer than two plays, was trailing 11-0 at halftime against the Montreal Alouettes, who would ultimately win 25-16.
A five-time Grammy Award winner Twain hasn’t produced a studio album since 2002, but her fifth album (NOW) is not-so-coincidentally dropping this year.
By Ian Busby
Finally, a Grey Cup halftime performer ‘Any Man of Mine’ can agree is a great choice. There are still probably those who say ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’ but those people can just don’t understand what the CFL needs to do with this year’s Grey Cup.
First off, with the game in Ottawa, a Canadian star was absolutely required to appease those who simply believe it must be a homegrown talent to do the halftime show that always seems to draw scrutiny.
You pay for a football game and get a free mini-concert, and considering how much Canadians were shelling out to see Shania Twain during her Las Vegas run a few years ago, this should be great value for those in attendance.
With the 150th birthday being celebrated in Ottawa at the end of November, getting a product of Timmins, Ont., someone beloved around the world who has sold 85 million records and is making a comeback with a new album — this is a no-brainer.
Kudos for the CFL for landing her. Kudos for Shania for being part of what should be a great festival this year.
Hopefully the game lives up to the amount of attention it will garner.
But if you end up complaining about the halftime entertainment, well Shania put it best: ‘Don’t Be Stupid.’
By Josh Smith
Even if you aren’t a fan of her brand of music, which I very much am not, it is nearly impossible to say Shania Twain is not the perfect choice as a Grey Cup halftime performer.
She sings catchy, poppy songs that will get people out of their seats; she is Canadian, which to some is a must, especially with this being Canada’s sesquicentennial year; and she is about as inoffensive an artist can be. She ticks everything off the list that you want in a halftime act. She’s a four-quadrant act.
Maybe her music isn’t to your liking, or maybe you want someone younger, but as far as entertainment value and fun goes, getting Shania Twain was a home-run shot by the CFL.
By Justin Dunk
Shania Twain should have Canadians saying “We’re gonna rock this country” at the Grey Cup in November. “Ka-Ching” should be the reaction for the CFL getting one of the country’s most famous singers for the halftime show in Ottawa. The league had to get a Canadian for the biggest event on the sports calendar in our home and native land during Canada’s 150th birthday year.
Her country pop style should create an energy flowing through the stadium and out of television screens from coast to coast.
She’s not just a pretty face, come on over and rock this country.
By Santino Filoso
First off, kudos to the CFL for going with a Canadian act, given that it’s Canada’s 150th, it’s extremely fitting. That being said, although Shania Twain is a huge name, surely the league could’ve done better than picking an artist who hasn’t released an album in 15 years.
As the TSN Panel announced her halftime show, they un-ironically joked about brushing off her CDs. For a league that constantly insists they want to get younger, Twain’s selection hardly seems like a way to appeal to millennials.
And I get that the CFL will never make a choice that’ll leave everyone happy, but choosing Twain seems like taking the safe and boring way out. Why not be a bit more aggressive and go after (and land) a larger Canadian name with more international appeal? Someone like The Weeknd, Drake, Michael Buble, Justin Bieber or Arcade Fire. Those names might not appeal to an older, more traditional CFL fan, but they’d certainly create a much bigger social media buzz.
To sum up, this choice don’t impress me much and I hope is that Twain doesn’t lip sync her way through another Grey Cup performance, a la 2002 halftime show.
By Drew Edwards
There are basically two ways to analyze the Grey Cup halftime show: 1) will I personally enjoy it? And 2) Does it make sense for the CFL?
Before we get to Shania, let me acknowledge that the answer is rarely “yes” to both these questions. My personal music tastes are an eclectic mix of old school rap (the Beastie Boys), classic rock (ACDC, Zeppelin etc), modern Canadian rock (the Sheepdogs, Monster Truck), jazz, instrumental beats and classical (mostly for working) and a slice of what my kids listen to (Childish Gambino, two or three Blackbear songs.)
Not on this list: straight up pop music and country, which means Shania Twain was always going to be a tough sell for me.
The league, meanwhile, has got itself trapped in a no-win situation: no matter who it chooses to perform at halftime, it will be accused of either pandering to the young audience it is trying so desperately to engage (One Republic, Fall Out Boy, Imagine Dragons have played the last three years and the Biebs was five years ago) or appeasing it’s aging core fan base (see BTO in 2010 and Blue Rodeo in 2009.)
The whole Canada 150 celebration and the game’s location further tied the league’s hands: picking an American act would have been roundly criticized. With the Tragically Hip no longer playing shows (and yes, I love them) and Canadian mega-stars like Drake and The Weeknd likely unattainable – he’s playing a show in New Zealand three days after Grey Cup – the list of options is further limited.
Shania Twain is 51 and hasn’t released an album in 15 years but my 16-year-old daughter (my most reliable gauge as to what’s cool in the world) still knows who she is: that’s a testament to Twain’s remarkable staying power. If she manages to forge a hit from her upcoming release – particularly if it resonates with the kids – then the CFL’s safe choice will turn into a great one.
Either way, I’ll be watching Shania in November. Whether I’ll be enjoying the show is another question entirely.