palm tree

IAMA Palm Tree in the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Performance featuring Katy Perry. AMA!

My friends and I were cast in the Superbowl halftime show as palm trees, and one of us discovered an ama request for the trees. I was the downstage right palm tree. /u/asumello61 is the infamous palm tree that was grinded on by Katy Perry who will be participating in this as well.

/u/asumello61‘s proof is the halftime wristband we were issued upon entry, the leather converse we wore during the performance, and his Sun Devil band jacket (we were selected from Arizona State’s marching band).

My proof is a picture of me in costume before we performed today, the converse we wore under our costumes, and the radio we were provided so that we could hear our cues.

What a time to be alive.

Right? Still riding the hype train from earlier today.

Why didn’t you audition for the part of “Left Shark”?

The sharks were originally supposed to be dancers from Mesa Community College but 2-3 days before the performance Katy decided she wanted her own people in costume. The worst part is the MCC dancers had been practicing it for much longer and definitely knew it better at least in my opinion.

What was your favorite part of the whole experience? Did you get to meet Katy herself? If so, what was her personality like?

She showed up to our Props Cast rehearsal on Monday and said hi. That’s the closest any of us got to meeting her. She seemed nice, bubbly personality. Also she has the cutest damn dog, it looks like a teddy bear.

When you guys were little trees, did you ever think you’d make it this far in showbiz?

I always had dreams…aspirations and I finally made it. I’m a rockstar!

Do you think that you will be able to brag about this for years to come, or will your be forgotten in the sands of time, and all this will come to nothing?

I will brag about it until the end of time!

How many rehearsals did you have/how long in advance did you start preparing for the show? Also, what was the coolest thing you saw behind the scenes?

We started on January 22nd. We had two sectionals on the 22nd and 23rd. Then on Sunday we had a put together rehearsal with the orbs (both opening and closing orbs). That Monday and Tuesday were another sort of sectional put together rehearsal. Wednesday-Friday were the full dress rehearsals in the stadium. The sectionals were shorter but the put-together and dress rehearsals were usually 3-4 hours long.
The coolest behind the scenes thing was definitely have Katy show up to our Props Cast rehearsal. I was a little star struck. Seeing the Lion for the first time was pretty awesome too.

How exactly did the lion function? Do you know what was supporting it on the bottom?

The lion was supported by a huge steel frame on wheels that went up into the structure of it. The outside of it was made by what I think was fiberglass covered in that gold foil.

Were you compensated?

We were not compensated. It was a volunteer position.

I volunteered and I’m not upset that I didn’t get paid. It was a great experience and I got to work with some great people. Definitely worth it.
I may have been a little greedy though and tried to keep what I could from the performance.

What have you managed to keep?

The converse, the radio, and gloves. I really wanted one of the long sleeve shirts that stage crew got.

Did you get to watch the game?


How will you spin this on your resume?

I will probably leave it off. It’s not relevant to engineering.

Can’t remember if the palm trees did it but the sharks and the beach balls definitely had moving mouths. I can imagine since the beach balls don’t have arms you could operate the mouth with a hand rather easily, but what about the sharks, how did they move the mouth bits with their hands in the fins?

Our mouths definitely moved. We had to use our hands to flip the upper lip to simulate singing along to the chorus. For the sharks they would actually pull one hand out of the fin to operate the mouth.

How old are you?


What is your dream job?

I want to build rockets. I’m a senior in Aerospace Engineering at ASU.

You want to be a rocket scientist and you’re dancing around in a palm tree? .. I like your style..

Whatever it takes to get there.

Sorry I’m so fixated on the shark costumes, but HOW CAN I GET MY HANDS ON ONE OF THEM?

I wish I knew! They were definitely the best, but I have no idea what is happening to any of the costumes.

When did you guys know that the kids from our old high school would be there as well?

When we showed up to the rehearsal that was at the school. SO MANY HIGH SCHOOL KIDS. I want to say there were at least 3-5 high schools participating. Mostly band kids and dancers.

If you have a chance, will you do it again?

If I had the time I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a very worthwhile experience. Definitely was not expecting how awesome it would feel on game day.
I really hope you get the chance to do it someday!

The biggest mascot gig I’ve done in a stadium was in front of 20,000+ people at a Canadian Football game halftime. Performing in front of 70,000+ and millions more watching on TV would totally blow my mind. I bet there’ll be quite a pressure to not fuck up but at the same time you’d want to enjoy the moment as much as possible.

The trees were really top heavy so all of us were hoping not to fall over in the middle of the performance. Me especially because my tree was the problem child of the group.
I really hope you get the opportunity to do something like we did!

Just think of how famous you would be if you were the tree that did fall over. You’d be even more talked about than left shark.

This is a really good point…

What were you wearing under the costume? Were you naked?

We were in unitards with only boxer-briefs or compressions shorts on underneath, so pretty close.

Did you get to meet any NFL players?

I did not.

Did you get free food?

Yes. They fed us at all but one rehearsal.

How was the food?

They provided us with food from Papa Johns, Jason’s Deli, and Paradise Bakery. Papa John’s and Jason’s Deli was pretty good, Paradise Bakery was okay.

Patriots or Seahawks?

Patriots! I’m a Denver Bronco fan so I was still bitter after last year.

Would you have called for a pass play at the 1 yard line with 30 seconds left and 2 time outs?

Not when I have an overrated quarterback and beast mode in the back field.

Honestly, how mad were you that Katy didn’t grind up on you?

I wanted to kill /u/asumello61 and take his place.

Would you rather have been a shark? Do you think you would have done better than the left shark?

I would have to say no because unfortunately my dance skills are much worse. I will say the shark costume was definitely the best out of all of them.

Are you sure they would be worse?

I don’t know. Maybe the costume could hide all the white guy dance moves I got.

Did you all have fun or was it more like hard work?

There was one point where we had to wear the costumes for an hour because we had no idea when we were going to do a full run through. That was the only time it felt like hard work. Other than that it was a blast.

Are you planning on having sex while wearing the costume, or is it too late to ask?

We didn’t get to keep the costumes 🙁

How did you manage to land such a sweet deal like this? Did someone approach you or did you seek it out?

It was actually through Arizona State marching band. They posted about needing 30+ people for what was known then as the Sunshine Cast (Inflatables in California Gurls), and then a second post was made looking for 6’0″ or taller slim guys for prop crew. The marching band was already set to play at the Super Bowl since nearly a year ago, so I’m assuming they saw that as an easy way to get people that actually have a clue about timings and musical cues.

Was Snoop Dogg in one of the sharks?

He was not. It was two of the chess pieces from the Dark Horse portion of her show.

What were your thoughts while you were onstage?

“Please don’t fall, please don’t fall, please don’t fall” the costumes were very top-heavy and took a while to get used to. surprisingly, no one ever fell during any of the rehearsals.

–I will piggy back off of this and say at the last rehearsal I almost got knocked over twice.

How would you even get up! I’d be lying there for the rest of the show like “this is my life now”…

There was absolutely no way to get up if we fell down. I’d probably just lay there and cry.

Did you get to meet Missy Elliott or Lenny Kravitz? Were they nice?

Missy walked by us a few times during rehearsal but that’s about it. Anytime Lenny was around I was in costume so I don’t know if anyone else got to meet him.

Did they make you sign some sort of agreement stating you wouldn’t talk about the performers beforehand?

Correct! We couldn’t reveal anything about the performance either.

So uh… did you get a nice view?

I was in the front, but I definitely made sure to include rotating along with my bouncing “choreography” to get a nice view. The other two definitely had a better view than me.

Were you the one twisting so much near the end that I was concerned you would topple over?

That could have been any of us to be honest

How did you change the scenery so quickly between songs?

The camera aimed over at Lenny and Katy while we waddled onto the stage. Definitely not as fast as it seems.

Katy perry looks like a sweetheart. Is she a diva or bitch in person?

I honestly can’t say for sure. When she showed up to our rehearsal she seemed nice and said hi to all of us. During some of the full dress rehearsals she would get a little antsy. In my opinion I think that’s because it was the biggest performance of her career and she wanted to do it right.

When you first saw your costume, what were you thinking when you found out that you were going to be a tree that looks like it has Down Syndrome in front of millions of viewers?

I honestly didn’t care what it looked like. It’s Katy Perry so I knew it would be a little absurd. Just the opportunity was enough to outweigh the drawbacks to the costume.

Do you think you have what it takes to pursue a career as a dancing palm tree in the big leagues?

Is the Super Bowl not the big leagues?

Did you ever consider falling down on purpose just to see what would happen?

We joked about it because we could have made Super Bowl history. That’s the extent of it though.

Was the performance with the palm trees, sharks, and beach balls Katy Perry’s choice? Or was the show created and laid out for her to follow without much freedom?

I wanted to say that they were Katy Perry’s choice, but I can’t say that with 100% certainty. I believe she had quite a bit of freedom with it but the production crew definitely had a lot of it laid out.

Are you upset that we’re only talking to you because you were dressed up as a palm tree, and not for the many life accomplishments you’ve probably achieved?

Not at all. It’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve done in my life so far. Maybe in the future I can do an AMA on some awesome project I’ve done.

What’s your very best life advice?

My very best life advice hmmmm….Maybe I’ll sound all cheesy and say be open minded, try new things, and learn an instrument.

You do realise that you are an idol to all those people out there who, for their school productions, were cast as the tree. Where do you see you career as a tree going next?

I started out at the top. I don’t know where to go from here.