By ISAAC WHALEN
As a general rule, the entertainment for an age-old event should not be older than the event itself by more than five years.
Nothing confirmed this rule more than Superbowl XLVI’s half-time show, where 53-year-old pop icon Madonna came on stage and pounded into the American mind that she is still alive. Covered in enough gold to make the Aztec empire go bankrupt, Madonna took the stage dressed like Cleopatra and jumped right into “Vogue.”
The events’ choreographer took a hint from handling bone china, and instructed the back-up dancers to ease Madonna into cartwheels and handstands as if to say, “Don’t worry, she’s not a zombie yet.”
However, things were only heating up for America’s most-watched televised event. After a few seconds of awkward tightrope bouncing, the party-rock band LMFAO showed up to further emblazon their Kia car commercial song into the audience’s ears.
With the arrival of Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., Madonna ignored the painful lessons learned from No Doubt’s varsity high school foray of “Hollaback Girl” and busted into a version of the new “Give Me All Your Luvin.”
In an attempt to create her own buzz of Super Bowl offensiveness, M.I.A. flipped the audience the finger, just to remind America how forced the entire experience seemed.
The show did have one high point in the arrival of Cee-Lo Green and a full-piece marching drum core.
The sudden arrival of the drum core, however, did not signal a sudden coup d’état and firing squad to the Super Bowl stage, but rather a segue into Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.”
This being the set’s final song, the halftime show ended with Cee-Lo, Madonna, and a large choir dressed in black gospel choir robes chanting the refrain to ”Like a Prayer,” a safer choice than having Madonna reenact the music video to her 1989 hit, in which she makes advances on a black Christ-figure and dances in front of burning crosses.
If anything is to be gained from this overtly grandiose and frankly annoying spectacle, it is that show business can learn a lesson or two from Johnny Carson. It never hurts to leave while you’re on top.
Madonna was a fine entertainer and singer in the ‘80s, but when the combined score of the two Superbowl teams is lower than your age it might be time to let another generation take the reigns.
America should also learn that no amount of gold, lights, or fireworks can compensate for true talent.
Speaking of which, the true star of Superbowl XLVII’s half-time show were the engineers and workers who constructed the stage, which contained not only a screen in the floorboards but, also elevating platforms.
Sadly, the stage was far better than anything that was performed on it.
Image courtesy of stereogum.com