Bruno Mars is just days away from headlining the Super Bowl halftime show — whether he’s ready for it or not.
“I’ve never had to do a press conference before I perform, so it just got real, I guess!” he joked at a press conference at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater in New York City on Thursday.
When asked how he felt about accepting the invitation to headline the halftime show — by Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, reporting for omg! Insider, no less — Mars told her, “We were all watching you as a band last year when you performed with Beyonce, and we wondering just like, what if one day we get the call to do that,” he said, later noting that his favorite halftime acts to date also include Prince, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen. “It definitely came soon.”
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Mars noted that he began rehearsing two nights ago, and was faced with the reality of the New Jersey/New York winter elements. “There was a lot of things that happened — the microphone turns into a popsicle!” he explained. I’m grabbing the mic and it’s frozen! Just stuff like that that were taking into consideration, and getting some heaters on everything.” But how will he keep his signature hairdo intact? “I got three gallons of hairspray in this thing, so I’m good!”
While he won’t be giving away any secrets about his set list — “it’s only a couple days away, they can hold tight,” he told reporters — Mars will stay true to his usual laid-back big-band aesthetic. “No matter where I perform, it’s my job to uplift the people — whether I’m performing at a graduation party, wedding, bar mitzvah, GRAMMYs, Super Bowl, I’m gonna give it all I got,” he said of the gig. “I don’t trapeze and all that stuff. I hope to get people dancing and get people smiling. if you ever come to my shows, it’s just us up there with these songs and our instruments. I hope that’s enough.” Yet, when asked if he’ll be shouting out to his Hispanic roots, he responded, “You’re gonna see that on Sunday.”
Mars also explained how he chose his co-performers. “The first band I thought of was the Red Hot Chili Peppers — I’ve been a fan of theirs for such a long time, I admire their career,” he recalled when NFL presented him with the opportunity. “They’re a soulful band — and not just musically, but as people. I sat down with Flea, and he’s so passionate about music. Even to this day, doing it for so long, he’s still so passionate about creating music and performing. I want to surround myself with guys like that forever, and it’s an honor to share the stage with them. They’re one of my personal favorite bands of all time.”
He thanked the NFL for the rare chance to headline the televised event. “I still feel like a new artist — the NFL is such a prestigious stage, and they’re giving the new guy a shot. No, I haven’t been able to take it in, but I will. Come Sunday, I will.”
Mars didn’t disclose which football team he’s hoping will win, but he spoke on his general team affiliations: “Being from Hawaii, we always watched the UH [University of Hawaii] Warriors, so that was our team growing up. And whoever’s got the most Polynesians on their team, that’s who we’re rooting for.”
While there was a grand piano onstage (Beyonce performed live at last year’s press conference, following her national anthem lip sync controversy at the presidential inauguration), Mars didn’t sing after his Q&A session.
The conference also introduced Renee Fleming, who will perform the national anthem with top military singers and the New Jersey Symphony, while wearing an outfit designed by Vera Wang. The opera singer and upstate New York native added, “I want to thank Rochester for preparing me for singing in the cold!”
Sunday’s Super Bowl will also feature a performance by Queen Latifah. Football legends Phil Simms and Broadway Joe Namath will be present for the game’s coin toss.
This article originally appeared on THR.com.