Joey Fatone Reveals Who He Wants To Join Eminem & Mary J. Blige On Super Bowl Stage As A Surprise

Ahead of Super Bowl LVI, Joey Fatone – who rocked the Halftime show alongside Britney Spears, Aerosmith, and more – tells HL who he wants to see as a 'surprise performer' this year. Hint: it's not 'Weird' Al.

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Image Credit: Courtesy of Schlotzsky

There is someone who knows what makes a good Super Bowl Halftime Show, it’s Joey Fatone. Along with the rest of NSYNC, Joey helped kick off the modern era of the Halftime Show at Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 by sharing the stage with rockers Aerosmith and a bevy of guest performers. “I think it was the first time they really had a collaboration where it was two completely separate different kinds of [artists],” Joey tells HollywoodLife in an EXCLUSIVE interview about the launch of the “Fatone Calzone at Schlotzsky’s. When reflecting on his 2001 Super Bowl performance, Joey noted that the show saw two groups “that don’t even really belong together, and make it work together.”

“And then you added Nelly, you added Brittany Spears, you added Mary J. Blige,” Joey tells HollywoodLife. “So I think the fact that [with the] Super Bowl, it’s cool when they do the one artist, but it’s so cool to do different groups or different acts together. Because, just like the game, you’re having two different teams come together for this game. Why not have different groups and artists come together for this halftime show?”

Meet Joey Fatone (Courtesy of Schlotzsky)

With that said, who does Joey want to join Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and Snoop Dogg at the Super Bowl LVI Halftime show? “You’d have to go for a twist, do something more rock, you know?” Joey tells HollywoodLife. “Put in a Bon Jovi, put in somebody completely different that doesn’t belong in that group. That’s what that’s all about. And Snoop’s all about that kind of stuff, I mean, you’ve seen Snoop with Martha Stewart. Bringing in those things always raise eyebrows and ears, so when you see that, it’s like … It actually is a little bit of East Coast, West Coast, and you’re kind of like, ‘Well, that’s interesting. Well, that’s cool.'”

Bringing people together is what the Super Bowl is really about. While there is a sports game at the heart of the extravaganza, the day has become much more than that: it’s about reconnecting with friends, watching the commercials, and enjoying good food and drink. Joey is also helping out in that regard with his new partnership with Schlotzsky’s.

The restaurant has just introduced calzones as part of the menu, made from Schlotzky’s trademark bread (“Every time I’ve told somebody, anybody that is from Midwest, from Texas, Atlanta, Oklahoma, any of those places, they literally say to me, ‘You have to have the bread. Did you have the bread?’ says Joey) and bursting at the seams with ingredients. Fans can enjoy the French Dip Calzone, the BBQ Chicken Calzone, and the Italian – uh, the Fatone Calzone.

“I’m a pepperoni lover, you know? So also we did different types of salamis in here as well, so it’s different types of like general salami, but also pepperoni,” he says when describing a calzone that will make your stomach growl. “And your classic cheese, it’s their cool take, twist, on a calzone because it is almost kind of an open face, if you will. If you’re an Italian kind of person like I am, or love the Italian food, again, pepperoni, salami, cheese, you can’t go wrong.”

The calzone might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “Super Bowl Party Spread,” but Joey – under his Joey Calzone persona – and Schlotzky’s is looking to change things up. After all, who would have thought Aerosmith, Britney, and NSYNC would have worked? And yet, it’s now regarded as one of the best Halftime shows in history.

‘Weird’ Al Yankovic (Larry Marano/Shutterstock)

Joey could be part of Super Bowl History again if the NFL finally listens to the fans and books “Weird” Al Yankovic for the Halftime Show. In 2014, fans began circulating a petition that demanded that Al get the gig. Despite over 120,000 people signing the petition, the NFL has yet to comply. “Weird” Al’s name always gets passed around social media whenever the NFL announces a new Halftime Show performer, and fans continue to wait until the day comes.

The thing is, if “Weird” Al were to get the gig and pick Joey to join him onstage, Fatone would be more than down to do it. “I am a huge ‘Weird’ Al fan,” he tells HollywoodLife when asked about what songs Joey would want to do with “Weird” Al (and that 2003 MTV News interview where Joey’s bandmate, JC Chasez, says that Joey was a master of parody himself.)

“I know his actual songs,” says Joey, “and even some of the originals. But you know, for me, it would either maybe be ‘The Saga,’ or ‘Lasagna,’ which is ‘La Bomba.’ I can give you, ‘Nature Trail to Hell is another song.’ You know what I’m talking about. If you’re a Weird Al fan, you know what I’m talking about.”

“So those kinds of songs, but what would be cool is if he did the halftime show and then he would bring those artists out of the songs that he parodied, and they sing it with him,” says Joey with a smile. “Come on now, Super Bowl. And then we all have a Fatone Calzone at the end of it.”