Why You Might Recognize The Song In Michelob ULTRA's Super Bowl 2022 Commercial

You might not necessarily associate beer with the peak performance of an elite athlete, but Michelob Ultra is here to change all of that with its star-studded 2022 Super Bowl commercial. The beer brand's ad is a showdown of big names, iconic brands, and high drama, all set to a familiar song with a name that's on the tip of your tongue... but we'll get to that in a minute. At the Superior Bowl, Michelob's fictitious bowling alley and the setting of its new commercial, the music is just one aspect of a whole feast for the senses.

In the ad, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning arrives, bowling ball bag in hand, to the Superior Bowl, "where the players play when they're not playing," according to Michelob Ultra. Per Q105, in a nod to his role as Donny in the cult favorite film, "The Big Lebowski," Steve Buscemi is behind the counter, disinfecting rental shoes and serving up cold beers. Meanwhile, golf great Brooks Koepka is racking up balls and drinking a hard seltzer at the pool table, while NBA forward Jimmy Butler is on karaoke duty. The ladies dominate the lanes, with soccer pro Alex Morgan and WNBA phenom Nneka Ogwumike throwing strikes. All while a famous song plays in the background...

This 1970s tune em-bowl-dens Michelob's ad

The vibe in the Superior Bowl bowling alley is distinctly vintage, with a retro color palette, old-school bowling shirts, and neon bouncing off of very '70s-looking furniture and fixtures. But it's the song playing over the action that really sets the scene: "Showdown" by British rock band Electric Light Orchestra from 1973. The song's slow build creates the perfect tension among the bowlers, and by the time the muted crescendo announces the ad's crowning glory — the arrival of Serena Williams in a royal purple jumpsuit, ready to dominate the lanes — you're desperate to know what happens next. The "she" in the lyrics is given an identity, and Manning is given a formidable foe. "Game time," as Steve Buscemi says before the screen fades to black.

People reports that the ad is one of three in a series from Michelob Ultra, so we may get some narrative closure and another chance to hear ELO's funky track. According to Pop Culture Wiki, this isn't the first time that "Showdown" has been used to great effect in a bowling alley: The song scored the bowling tournament in 1996's "Kingpin," too.