Madonna – Super Bowl Halftime (review)

Madonna – Halftime Show – Super Bowl XLVI While attending a Super Bowl party, I was intrigued by the comments that were made during Madonna’s halftime performance:

“Wow, she looks great”

“Man, she must work out a lot”

(and after being turned upside down): “Ouch, I would’ve pulled something doing that.”

Not once did anyone mention how great she sounded. The fact is, with Madonna it’s always been about the total package.  She’s never been a great singer, or dancer, and she really isn’t overly attractive.  But, she’s been able to utilize every ounce of talent that she has and exploit it into one of the most successful careers in music.


I remember watching her very first video on MTV back in 1983, “Burning Up,” and thinking that the song wasn’t particularly good, but what she was doing in front of that car (writhing around on the road) was, well – sexy as hell.  In a way, almost 30 years later, things haven’t changed much.

She opened her halftime performance, looking like a queen reigning over her ancient warriors, singing her biggest hit, “Vogue.  I say “singing” when in fact, I’m 99 percent sure she was lip synching.  Nevertheless, the ever-changing stage was scintillating – the video screens on the stage itself at one point gave the impression that dancers were in each of the hundreds of boxes on the floor (a nod to the China Olympics), then changed to images of classic ladies of the silver screen.  Her second song was “Music,” but the song took a backseat to the breathtaking acrobatics of her dancers flipping all over the stairs (this was the point where one of them turned Madonna upside down).  There was even a guy bouncing on a tight rope.  Then the two guys from LMFAO joined her for a short refrain of their smash “Sexy and I Know It” (at one point, Madonna sat on the shoulders of one of the guys).

Of course, it wouldn’t be Madonna without a tie-in.  She performed her brand-new single, “Give Me All Your Luvin,” along with Nicki Minaj and rapper M.I.A.  The “L-U-V, Madonna” chant sounded a lot like Toni Basil’s 1982 hit “Mickey,” and the rapping added nothing to the song.  Yet, these guest appearances by newer artists may help break her into the younger generation (remember, Madonna’s last #1 was all the way back in 2000 with the aforementioned “Music”).  She closed her set with a rousing rendition of “Like a Prayer” featuring Cee-Lo Green, and a large church choir chorus.  At the very end, Madonna disappeared in a cloud of smoke, leaving the words “World Peace.”

After watching it again, not only did everything sound canned, the cameras had some sort of filter that gave everything a film-like feel; it’s as if we were watching the climax to some great blockbuster, rather than a real, live concert event.

In all, it was an exciting performance – yet most people won’t be talking about her music, but rather all the crazy stage show and dancers.  Yet, that’s nothing new for Madonna.  –Tony Peters