15 Years Ago, Ashlee Simpson Gave Us the Only Memorable Orange Bowl Halftime Performance

By Stephen Douglas
FedEx Orange Bowl - Halftime Show - January 4, 2005
FedEx Orange Bowl - Halftime Show - January 4, 2005 / Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
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Florida won the Capital One Orange Bowl on Monday night, beating Virginia, 36-28. It was a matchup of the ninth- and 24th-ranked teams in the country. A far cry from the BCS-era 2005 Orange Bowl which featured No. 1 USC and No. 2 Oklahoma playing for the national championship. Back then the Orange Bowl was so important that they had a halftime show with two premier musical acts: Kelly Clarkson and Ashlee Simpson.

While Clarkson performed the immortal song Since U Been Gone, Simpson performed the nearly-forgettable La La. No one should remember that one, which peaked at No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100, except for the Orange Bowl performance. It was a disaster, just over two months after she was caught lip-syncing on Saturday Night Live.

Determined to sing, she butchered her own song while a menagerie of cheerleaders and football players danced to her faux-punk rock backing band. The performance was so bad that it wasn't even mentioned in the Nick & Jessica episode that was filmed during the game.

Not to go too much further down the rabbit hole, but what a time to be alive and have basic cable. This episode is from the third season of Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica. It aired in March 2005. They were divorced a little over a year later.

During the episode they take a Miller Lite-fueled party bus to the Orange Bowl where Nick acts very stressed as USC rolls over Oklahoma. That's right, 15 years before Joe Burrow threw seven touchdowns and LSU beat Oklahoma by 35, Matt Leinart threw 5 touchdown passes and USC beat Oklahoma by 36. Some things never change.

While Nick and Jessica didn't touch Ashlee Simpson's performance, the other MTV reality show camera crew in attendance that night did.

Yes, in case you forgot, Nick and Jessica were so popular that Ashlee Simpson had her own reality show. Two episodes of The Ashlee Simpson Show dealt with the disastrous performance and offered plenty of excuses from lyric changes to technical problems.

The show also provided crucial video evidence that Jamie-Lynn Sigler (between seasons 5 and 6 of The Sopranos at the time) was in Nick and Jessica's box during the Orange Bowl.

That's the look you give someone who tries to explain why Ashlee Simpson sounds like Ashlee Simpson. Meanwhile, the rest of the stadium was booing, as you can hear in this clip if you didn't already subject yourself to the full performance.

Kelly Clarkson also dealt with sound issues, but performed admirably and was met with cheers when she finished.

Back in 2005, Simpson shrugged off the boos, wondering if it was just Oklahoma fans mad she was rooting for USC. Via MTV:

""Maybe they were booing at me, maybe they were booing at the halftime show 'cause the whole thing sucked," she said. "I was facing [the Oklahoma Sooners], and I was rooting for USC, and they played a clip of it, so maybe it was that those people didn't like me. You never know. But I can't make everybody happy.""

Simpson went on to release two more albums. She's currently a mother of two with 2.4 million Twitter followers. Unfortunately, her last three tweets were Merry Christmas, Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Halloween, so we don't know if she tuned in to watch Florida beat Virginia. What we do know is that she has the only memorable Orange Bowl halftime performance and that's worth a trophy full of oranges.

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