While crowds are flocking to the NFL Experience on the first floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center all week long, media from around the world recently headed up to the third floor of the GRB to meet the two major performers at Super Bowl 51: Luke Bryant and Lady Gaga. Houston's own Simone Biles also made the scene as a correspondent for Access Hollywood. The sprawling space is home to press conferences, Radio Row, massive media workrooms and, one of the nicest media lounge set-ups I’ve ever seen. Seriously, way to go, Houston First.
Also in the massive convention center: The Old Spice Guys and several beauty queens. Here are some tidbits from my Super Bowl Diary:
Don't Call Him a Cowboy
Country singer Luke Bryan has “Entertainer of the Year” honors from the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association, but he says he most honored by singing the national anthem at Sunday’s Super Bowl. “It’s a very important moment for me to think of the military while I’m singing. Its a way for me to thank all of America for making our country what it is. It’s kind of a little way for me serve my country by using my voice and uplift and bring smiles,” he said.
Bryan brought the laughter along with The Late Late Show's James Corden’s two sisters, Andrea Henry Corden and Ruth Corden, during Thursday’s press conference when the sisters took the mic and told Bryan their brother sent them to Houston on a mission.
“He sent us here to hug a cowboy.” Bryan happily obliged, although he said he doesn't quite fit that bill.
“I’m more of a country boy, but I can hug,” Bryan said.
Lady Gaga, Simone Biles Go Off-Script
Prior to the press conference, media questions were selected in advance and read in front of the masses of television cameras and reporters, including Olympic gold medalist and Houston native Simone Biles, who is a Access Hollywood correspondent this week. After a cute exchange where Biles gave Lady Gaga some performance tips (especially since she’s making her grand entrance from the roof of NRG) Gaga broke script.
“I just wanted to say I love all the work that you do with foster children. You are a inspiration,” Gaga said, surprising Biles a bit.
Spicing It Up
Old Spice Guys Terry Crews and Von Miller held court Wednesday, introducing Old Spice’s Hardest Working Collection Hydro Wash, pitching the new product and the football. The duo hammed it up for the media and faced off in small-scale football challenges and at one point, challenged each other to an impromptu dance-off.
Miller, a Texas A&M graduate and outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos, knows a little bit about Super Bowl hoopla. He was named the Super Bowl MVP after the Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in 2016. His newest Old Spice commercial runs Sunday and has him attempting to get to the quarterback if only he weren’t faced with ridiculous and amusing challenges.
Von revealed some details said that when he was filming a part of the commercial involving spoons, eggs, two little girls and a race, he had to pace himself.
“We had to keep filming that scene because I keep beating them,” Miller said.
Well, he IS a Super Bowl MVP after all.
GRB Beauty Queens
The first thing you see when getting off the third floor escalators at the GRB is the massive Radio Row, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Radio stations from around the globe set up shop and guests pop from one booth to the next. There are “No Autograph” signs all over the gigantic space and the whole room buzzes with activity. It seems the athletes who’ve turned to television like Michael Strahan are the most popular, but it’s the beauty queens (crowns and all) that stop traffic. Members of the heavily male media keep stopping curvaceous women with tiaras on their head for a selfie.