Life is a mystery. Everyone must stand alone. Except Madonna. Performing at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, Madge rolled up with voguing Roman soldiers, old-school breakdancers, tightrope walkers, cheerleaders, a marching band and special guests Nicki Minaj, MIA and Cee Lo Green. She reworked some old tunes, played her new single and then disappeared into the floor, leaving us with the words “World Peace” spelled out on the field.
If Madonna, once the ultimate pop provocateur, seemed a risky choice for the halftime spectacular, NBC sensors likely breathed a sigh of relief. Save for MIA’s middle finger during the brand-new ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’,’ Madonna played it safe. Opening with ‘Vogue,’ she writhed and gyrated as much as might be expected, at one point riding the members of LMFAO, but the whole thing was pretty tame.
On ‘Music,’ the second song in the medley, she descended a set of bleachers with Adidas-wearing b-boys. Those pom-poms Madonna promised weeks ago surfaced during ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’,’ as did Nicki Minaj — replete with blonde wig — and the bird-flipping MIA.
Cee Lo then played the world’s hippest drum major, helping the erstwhile Material Girl sing bits of ‘Open Your Heart’ and ‘Express Yourself’ before donning a monk’s robe and assisting on the grand finale: ‘Like a Prayer.’
Toward the end, Madonna fell to her knees in mock rapture, evoking moves that, back in simpler times, had religious groups up in arms. In 2012, it was no biggie: She came, danced and vanished with a puff of smoke. It was slick and professional, but as far as tomorrow’s water-cooler conversation is concerned, Pats quarterback Tom Brady’s first-quarter safety might be more newsworthy.