Monday, February 06, 2012

First night: Madonna at the Superbowl

Last night, while America recharged its glasses and flushed its toilets, Madonna popped up to do something from the new album at the Superbowl.

How did it go down?

The LA Times' Randall Roberts was left breathless with the audacity:

Think about it. In less than 10 minutes, America watched marching warriors pulling a massive chariot; faux trumpeters announcing the arrival of Madonna; a man name Redfoo with a ridiculously large afro fronting a duo called LMFAO; a polyglot British-Sri Lankan rapper slyly flipping the bird at the camera; a cartoonish multiple-personality Nicki Minaj; and a charismatic Buddha of a singer with a golden voice in one of the best bandleader outfits ever created, to say nothing of his stunning black choir robe.
Audacious, but...
But despite its success AND extravagance, this whole halftime package most of all was little more than an ingeniously well planned — and shockingly transparent — advertisement for "MDNA," and not much more.
It's a little hard to get outraged at the idea of the Superbowl being used to flog stuff. Not least because if you do get outraged, you're then legally obliged to add "this outrage is brought to you by Bud Light - the official beer of mild outrage at Superbowl XLVI."

MTV's John Mitchell also saw MIA's finger:
The pom-poms Madonna promised surfaced when she lit into her new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin," along with a blonde Nicki Minaj and a, ahem, bird-flipping M.I.A.. That's right, the lone bit of controversy around the often provocative Madonna's Super Bowl show will most likely have to do with the Sri Lankan singer briefly flipping off the camera. The otherwise slickly produced show went off without a hitch.
There's a lot of that in the reviews - how slick, how well-oiled it was, how well-choreographed. So that finger has taken on massive significance as it turns out to be the only interesting thing that happened. The Press Association tries to ramp it up as NBC struggles to play it down:
The Super Bowl, shown on NBC this year, is routinely viewed by more than 100 million people, the biggest TV event of the year. "We apologise for the inappropriate gesture that aired during half-time," NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. "It was a spontaneous gesture that our delay system caught late."
The screen briefly went blurred after MIA's gesture in what was a late attempt - by less than a second - to cut out the camera shot. The National Football League (NFL), which produces the show, had no immediate comment.
The fnal verdict, though? As Reuter's Tim Molloy at the end of the performance, the ball would not have moved one yard in either direction:
Twitter responses were fiercely split, but it's hard to imagine what she could have done differently to win over the non-fans. If you like Madonna, chances are you liked her wild, genre-twisting performance. If you don't, you probably didn't.