If you thought last year's Puppy Bowl offered an overload of cuteness, prepare yourself for what's shaping up to be the greatest feel-good two-hours of television we're likely to see in 2014. Here are five reasons Puppy Bowl X is shaping up to be amazing:
1. Keyboard Cat Halftime Show
Just like the Super Bowl, Animal Planet is adding a very special guest star to its Kitty Half-Time Show with Internet sensation Keyboard Cat. Some 30 kittens will dance all over the field while Keyboard Cat tickles the ivories with a rendition of Bruno Mars' "Locked out of Heaven." Apparently, one kitten will even parachute onto the field. (Seriously.)
2. Penguin cheerleaders
Last year's Puppy Bowl IX featured hedgehog cheerleaders. This year, likely due to union disagreements, the hedgehogs are out and the penguins are in. I consider this an upgrade as my children weren't sure what they were looking at last year. But penguins? Perfect. Let's just hope a leopard seal doesn't crash the party.
3. Lil Bub
4. Fantasy Puppy League
Still bummed that this year's Fantasy Football has come to an end? Animal Planet has you covered with its first-ever Fantasy Puppy League where fans can "view profiles of 11 all-star players and create their team of fierce and fuzzy competitors in advance of the big game." How will they measure yardage, points scored, and other details? It doesn't matter. If you're participating, you've already won.
5. You + Your Pet On Television
Thanks to the wonders of Instagram, Animal Planet is giving pet owners around the world an opportunity to snag a moment of televised fame and submit selfies of their pets or (even more creepy) themselves. AP will then select photos listed under #puppybowl for display during the big event. Act quickly — I have the feeling Instagram has no idea what's coming.
All this, plus Animal Planet is partnering with the ASPCA to celebrate its 10th Puppy Bowl anniversary with a week-long live experience in New York City's Times Square. Free to the public, this event will give fans an opportunity to adopt pets, see a replica of the Puppy Bowl field in action, and participate in activities like face painting, a pooch "kissing booth," and other games.
Puppy Bowl X debuts on Feb. 2 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (ET/PT). We'll have more updates on the big event (including how you can adopt the kittens and puppies featured in this year's starting lineup) soon.