With 108 million people tuning in, Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII ranks as the third most-watched program ever on U.S. television — thanks in no small part to the halftime show featuring Beyoncé leading a troop of dancers, a mini-reunion of Destiny's Child and even a spark-spewing guitar. But there was one co-star that was cut from the performance after rehearsals: the new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. And no one's saying why. (UPDATED)
Automakers dominated the Super Bowl airtime with advertising, but General Motors claimed the title of vehicle sponsor for the game itself and decided not to buy any commercial airtime as its major competitors did. In the run-up to the game, rumors around Detroit suggested the Vette would make an appearance at the halftime show, but there was no mention of the car — or of any GM product — during the game itself. Only today did Chevrolet announce it was giving one of the first 2014 Corvette Stingrays to Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.
The absence of the hottest car Chevrolet has launched in a decade from the biggest stage in the world wasn't planned.
The evidence for the missing Corvette comes from a style blogger named Lauren Craig, who won a trip to New Orleans to be part of the on-the-field crowd during Beyoncé's halftime show. Craig kept a diary of the experience for MTV.com, and arrived early last week to take part in the rehearsals at the Superdome for the show. Last Thursday, Craig described how Beyoncé planned to arrive onstage:
We finally gathered in the dome, where we got to see how the stage was set up and tried to guess who would be popping out of the red Corvette we saw at the back of the stage.
Finally, we were led onto the field and placed in the positions we had rehearsed on Sunday...Then finally, it was her! She arrived on the stage fresh faced and gorgeous, signature honey blond hair swept to the side, a black long sleeve tee and a pair of Phillip Lim harem pants. Suddenly, the Corvette turned into a transformer before our eyes and we realized Beyoncé herself was going to be coming out of it.
After the performance, Craig congratulated Beyoncé, saying: "We weren't even sure what to expect, as she had axed the red Corvette from the show, but she definitely made the right decisions."
But at some point after her comments were posted, MTV scrubbed the references to the dropped Corvette and many of the other backstage details from Craig's article. Her earlier comments survived in the cached version caught by Yahoo! search.
Chevrolet spokesman Monte Doran declined to say why the Corvette was dropped or confirm its role. "The only part of the Super Bowl we played a part in was the most valuable player," he said. "Beyond that, we can't talk about any other things we worked on."
The halftime show was a production of the National Football League itself, which also declined to comment. Whether the decision to cut the Corvette Stingray from the show was GM's or Beyoncé's or even the NFL's, it represents an epic missed opportunity for the automaker. Next time, maybe Chevy will put a ring on it.
UPDATE: In response to this story, GM released an official statement confirming that it had planned to make the Stingray part of the show:
"The public's response to the new Corvette Stingray has been extraordinary, so we were glad to help when we were approached by the producers of the Super Bowl half time show about the possibility of integrating a car into the show production. We worked with all the parties involved on a variety of possibilities, including one scenario that would have included the new Corvette Stingray as part of the show. In the end it did not work out, but we were honored to be asked to be involved, and pleased the Corvette was the vehicle of choice. "