How much controversy can one empty gesture cause? If today’s Internet furor is anything to go by, a lot. In a blink-and-you’ll miss it moment (we didn’t even blink and we missed it the first time around!) during last night’s Super Bowl half time performance, rapper M.I.A. gave cameras the middle finger live on stage, as she suggestively sang “I don’t give a shhhh…” during Madonna‘s “Give Me All Your Luvin’”. In an vain attempt to erase the ‘obscene’ gesture, the broadcast blurred seconds later — but it was too late! We already saw it! That dreaded, awful… Middle finger! GASP!
Of the ‘incident’, Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL said, “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans,” while NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said, “The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show. Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.” We feel like we really missed something here — on the spectrum of one to controversial in the Madonna-sphere, a flipped bird seems pretty weak.
We were really expecting the show to yield some real controversy — Madonna stealing a kiss with Nicki perchance (not that we think there’s anything wrong with that, but we imagine it really would have caused a stir!), or something along the lines of a boundary-pushing, 80s Madonna. Instead what we got was a half-baked push of the button, and not even by Madonna herself. It’s unclear whether or not the action was staged; if it was orchestrated by Madonna, we think it’s a cop out on her part to have the non-white, UK artist make the move. However, if it was an impromptu movement on M.I.A’s part, it seems like a fairly desperate attempt to reclaim the title of “edgy” pop star after the truffle fries incident.
Either way, the flipped bird was school-yard level offensive at best — and it seems like detractors were expecting to have something to gripe about before they even saw the show, so are grasping at straws to find something perturbing about the performance. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and in this case, the complaint-mongers are milking that bird for all it’s worth.
Madonna redefined the word ‘spectacular’ with her Super Bowl half time show over the weekend. In what we’re sure cost the debt of several small third world countries, Madonna’s show was a no-holds-barred exercise in precision choreography and aesthetic decadence. Ushered in on the shoulders of an army of Roman Empire soldiers on a giant, regal float complete with gold throne, Madonna vogued to open the set, and what better song to vogue to than “Vogue”? After the perfectly synchronized, slow pace of Madonna’s voguing, the veteran broke seamlessly into “Music,” showing off some serious athletic agility and surely making America forget that she’s a woman in her 50s.
“Music” got a cool mash-up from guests LMFAO, who mixed the classic Madonna track with their hit “Party Rock Anthem.” The LMFAO boys shared a fun synchronized shuffle and some awkward slap-stick visual narrative with Madonna for the remix, ripping off her gladiator style skirt to reveal a simple black dress just in time for her new single “Give Me All Your Luvin.’” Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. joined Madge on stage for a gold pom pom filled dance extravaganza which wasn’t entirely without controversy (and what would a Madonna show be without controversy?), courtesy of M.I.A. and an inconspicuous enough little bird (more on that later).
It’s official! After months of rumors, Madonna has been confirmed to be the guest performer at next year’s Super Bowl halftime show. Obviously our whole morning has been dedicated to speculation — we want to know what Madge will play! Considering the release of her new album is expected next spring, hot on the heels of the February 5 Super Bowl, we’re expecting Madonna to play a few new tracks, but there’s got to be room for a few classics too, right? We’ve put together our dream set list, what’s yours?