Super Bowl XLVII: Beyonce turns up New Orleans ahead of Sunday appearance at the Superdome
By Paul Higham in New Orleans - Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 31/01/13 11:03pm
It's Thursday, and Super Bowl Thursday is the day everything starts to change and the atmosphere starts to intensify around the host city - and New Orleans definitely had a sense of that today.
It was nice of the sun to finally come out for the occasion as well, it's cold here according to local weather forecasts, it's anything but cold to anyone who has spent a few winters in Yorkshire - it's positively balmy weather for us.
It's a great day for the two sets of players, as it's their last day of media grilling before they look themselves away and prepare for the biggest game of their lives on Sunday - sadly not the case for the coaches who have one last ordeal to get over.
John and Jim Harbaugh will take part in another Super Bowl first when they hold a joint press conference on Friday, and that will be the highlight of the week for many. I can't see it becoming a tradition though.
It's also celebrity Thursday as Beyonce popped into the media centre to plug her latest tour/album/perfume, sorry I mean to talk about her pride at performing at the Super Bowl half-time show.
Beyonce delighted to be doing half time show
The real big highlight of the day though is the return of Papa John's pizza delivery - nothing tastes so sweet as free media pizza, even at 11.30am or whatever time it was, and that for some of the greedier member of the press is what Super Bowl week is all about.
Anyway, back to Mrs Jay-Z - after last year's debacle of a love-fest towards Madonna, including the probing question 'Madonna, explain to us why you are the greatest ever star in music, what makes you so great?' Paxman was hardly quaking in his boots after that grilling.
A quick look shows Beyonce has 6.9 million followers on Twitter, for just four Tweets! Still, being a global icon is exactly the kind of CV needed to land the gig at the half-time show at the Super Bowl. She even admitted that she sang along to a backing track during President Obama's inauguration because she did not have enough rehearsal time, she was busy prepping for New Orleans.
The answer to her critics was to walk on stage, belt out a brilliant rendition of the American national anthem, and simply finish with 'any questions?' Luckily the questions were not as bad as last year, with Denmark's input of surrounding the colour of her toothbrush being the highlight.
After the big distraction, it's back to focusing on the matter in hand - the small matter of a huge Super Bowl game coming up on Sunday - although this week is seemingly all about distractions.
The superstars will soon by flying in to New Orleans to take up residence at their plush hotels ahead of their VIP parties, the French Quarter will soon be booming with tourists, football fans and revellers, while the alligator population will be quaking like turkeys at Christmas at the thought of ending up in the increased amount of burgers being devoured.
Hopefully everything will go smoothly, New Orleans has already proved to be a great host, in a similar vein to Indianapolis last year being a relatively small venue helps enormously. This place is far more geared up for the party aspect of the week though - there's a reason this place has held nine Super Bowls before.
We'll now be looking towards Sunday soon enough, and starting to dissect the match-up, pick out the strengths and weaknesses of each team and then somehow try to pick the winner - this could take a while, might need to seek out Papa John again.