Monday, February 6, 2012

Madonna’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance

Nicki Minaj, Madonna, and M.I.A.

The last couple days’ blog posts focused on the Super Bowl halftime shows with one post focused on the 5 worst halftime shows of all time and another post dedicated to the top 10 halftime shows. To wrap things up, today we’ll revisit Madonna’s halftime performance from last night in which she delivered a football-themed “high-energy spectacle packed with Roman warriors, Cirque du Soleil dancers, marching bands, cheerleaders, and some very famous guests.” MTV

She entered in “Cleopatra mode” MTV on a throne accompanied by Roman warriors while she sang “Vogue”. She segued into “Music”, complete with dancers doing acrobatics on bleachers, a tightrope walker doing flips on a wire, and a mash-up with LMFAO and brief bits from their #1 hits “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It”.

In continuing the guest star parade, she trotted out Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. in cheerleader outfits to contribute to “Give Me All Your Luvin”, the new Madonna single on which the pair also sing. By aligning herself with some of today’s biggest names in music, Madonna seemed to “position herself as the queen of a new generation of pop stars.” CBS

Finally, Cee-Lo Green entered as a drum major, backed by dancers in maching band attire. After brief interludes of “Open Your Heart” and “Express Yourself”, Madonna, Cee-Lo, and the dancers shifted into gospel wear and closed out the show with “Like a Prayer”. After that, she disappeared in a puff of smoke down a trap door and the field lit up with the words “World Peace”.

As expected, the 12-minute show was very visual and heavily choreographed. As one blogger said, everyone knew she’d make it “dazzling and unforgettable” NJ and the show “was probably the most impressive Super Bowl halftime performance ever.” NJ Despite how nervous she’d said she was before hand, Madonna tore “through her hits with plenty of superstar swagger.” MTV Unlike last year’s Black Eyed Peas, who looked like “awkward amateurs,” NJ Madonna looked like “she belonged there.” NJ

Critics were quick to suggest that her “vocals were not strong throughout” CBS and simultaneously rip on her for her “vocals being lip synched or augmented by tapes.” WSJ She also appeared to slip on the stage during “Music”, but quickly recovered. For those fearing a “wardrobe malfunction” or other deliberate controversy-baiting moments, Madonna managed several costume changes, but all without incident. However, M.I.A. flipped the bird while belting out a line with an expletive bleeped out.

One of the strangest pre-show criticisms was that Madonna wouldn’t appeal to football fans. For those uttering such rumblings, perhaps they need a reminder that this is the most televised event of the year attracting the eyeballs of more than 100 million viewers. There are a lot more than just football fans tuning in. The halftime show should feature an iconic singer who can provide solid entertainment. Given that criteria, Madonna was a perfect fit.

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  1. Madonna's halftime show was entertaining- certainly miles beyond last year's crapfest- and she proved that she can still enthrall a crowd. All in all, a solid effort- possibly worthy of your top ten but "...the most impressive Super Bowl halftime performance ever"? Hardly. (And, yeah- I say that as someone who considers myself a Madonna fan.)
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Well, I don't personally think it was the most impressive ever, but it was a worthy line to quote to capture how the show was generally well-received. As you said, I think it was a performance worthy of the top 10. My personal favorite is Bruce Springsteen, but Madonna definitely trumps him and most other halftime performers when it comes to putting on a show with costumes, choreography, etc.

      Thanks for the feedback!

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