Guys. Let’s talk about the Super Bowl.
And by Super Bowl, I mean the halftime show. There are some years where “talking about the Super Bowl” would have meant talking about the commercials, but the feed we watched on the ship did not include commercials unless you count the riveting MLB promos, ads for 2012 soccer season, and the unbelievable commercials for this year’s Tour de France. And since there’s no way I’m blogging about the actual game, that means we have to talk about Madonna, who I owe tremendously because before she appeared last night I had no idea what to write about today. And as she disappeared into those lights spelling out “World Peace” all I could think was “Thank you, Madonna. I promise to buy a cone bra in your honor. Or maybe just a copy of Vogue.”
But seriously, let’s talk about it. And by “let’s” I mean, just me, because I have a LOT to say.
First, a general evaluation. Ummm… Best. Super Bowl. Halftime Show. Ever. I will remember this one. I could not tell you what happened in halftime shows prior to this one. I remember that once we had the Black Eyed Peas, and I think Mick Jagger, and of course the wardrobe malfunction (will JT ever be able to play the SB again?), but I can’t remember what the show was. I mean they sang, and I’m sure there was cool lighting, and maybe some dancers, but I don’t remember. This I will remember. This was a show. A production. And it was surprisingly well done and quite fantastic.
Now please, do not think this is some sort of love letter to Madonna. I did not grow up listening to Madonna, I don’t have fond memories of her (ummm… raised in a super conservative Southern Baptist church… holla!). In fact, I don’t even really like her. I don’t get her fake British accent, I’m not down with the nickname “Madge” and I’m not a fan of her music. This is not about Madonna. Mostly.
This is also not about whether or not there was lip syncing. Oh, there was lip syncing. And I’m down with that. Maybe it’s because I made some money lip syncing (What up, Six Flags over Texas!), or maybe it’s just because, let’s be honest, we can’t put on a good show acoustically at a Super Bowl Stadium that’s not pre-recorded. Why try? People will boo you like Ashlee Simpson (sorry girl) That being said, after talking to some musicians on the ship, they think that the drum line portion of the show was live, and I’m inclined to agree. Also, Cee Lo Green may have also sung live, and if he did not then he is a PHENOMENAL lip syncer. So this is not about lip syncing.
And yet… it kind of is. Here’s the thing. If you’re going to lip sync (which, for me, is fine in situations like this, as long as you’re not claiming that you’re live), then put on a show. And that’s what happened last night. Yeah, it was obviously pre-recorded and if you’re not a Madonna fan then you might not have liked the songs and maybe you didn’t even know who LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green or MIA (knew everyone but her) were, but the scope of the show was utterly fantastic. The dancers, the costumes and costume changes, the set changes, the tight rope walker, the breakdancers, the gospel choir, the Roman soldiers… it definitely made a statement. Whether it was your taste or not is another argument entirely, but we can’t fault Madge (ok, the nickname is growing on me) for a boring show. It’s not like she just stood there with a microphone and waved her hands around as she lip synced.
Now, a lot of you might be thinking “yeah, but Madonna looked like a hot mess up there.” And for certain parts of the show I’d completely agree. I’m really hoping that moment with LMFAO where she attempted some assisted breakdancing and ended up on her hands with her legs flailing about like a three legged dog at a fire hydrant was a stunt gone horribly wrong. It was not cute. But hey, it was live and stuff happens, so I’m just hoping SNL has taken note and we get to see Kristen Wiig imitate her for the next 5 years. And at least no clothes came off. I also think she had (weirdly) very little expression. Stage presence and command of the stadium, sure, but her expression was really stagnant. Plastic Surgery? I don’t know. I also wished she’d practiced in those boots and on the actual stage (probably not at all possible) oh, at least 100 more times. A few times when she had to move from one portion of the stage to another fairly quickly it looked like she was grasping after whomever she could to help her move fast enough to be on her mark. She made those afro LMFAO dudes look like gentlemen as they offered her their hands, and if they hadn’t I’m pretty sure we’d have a viral Madonna faceplant video (Ms. Wiig, get on that, now).
But. Fifty Three. That number, her age, is why I say “who cares?” about all that stuff I just said. Plus she did some stuff really well. She did actually dance. Anybody catch that develloppe (in those six inch heels she could not actually walk in, but whatever) she did randomly at about 160 degrees? WHAT? (for non-dancers- that’s when you lift one leg off the floor, knee going in the air first, and then extend the lower leg from the knee). And she managed to keep up with the newer artists she collaborated with. And while there was a lot going on that did not have much to do with her and her skill level, she was the only one who danced and sang (ok, “sang” but still) through the entire production. And she did all this, and yet has not really been consistently performing, at least not for this type of audience. It takes work to get into the kind of shape you need in order to give that kind of performance, especially if you haven’t been giving those sorts of performances for awhile, and she hasn’t done a show like that in years. Or ever.
But ok, so what, you hated Madonna. I get it. I still think the show was brilliant and, for once, an homage to the setting. I know it was a mish mash, but allow me to analyze (I was an English major, after all…).
Part 1: Madonna as a Roman goddess, and other Roman symbols (costumes, choreography, etc.). An homage to football’s greatest stage, where they are like Roman Gladiators on the field. Boom. yeah, you thought that part was random didn’t you? Also, we keep track of Super Bowls with ROMAN numerals. Yeah, that’s right.
Part 2: The stage changes at one point to have these thin platforms on different levels. It was awesome because the dancers were breakdancing on them, moving and jumping from one to the next and flipping Madonna on and off of them. Cool visuals, amazing stunts. And these platforms look a whole lot like bleachers. Like the ones IN A FOOTBALL STADIUM.
Sidenote: I don’t really know why there was that crazy tight rope walker acrobat, except I guess you can compare it to the feats of the football players as they catch the ball on the edge of the sideline. But really, I just think this was a missed opportunity to bring in Janelle Monae to sing “Tightrope.”
Part 3: I might be skipping some parts but when the drum line comes out followed soon after by Nicki Minaj and MIA in band-esque uniforms (when will band uniforms go back to being uncool? I hope never) and performing as a drum-line, majorette, drill team hybrid, the stage appears to be a football field (they even project the 50 yard line in front of the stage) and again they’re celebrating football and all of it’s odd trappings of big brass bands and cheerleaders and mobs of people moving in synchronization.
Part 4: Cee Lo Green and the Gospel Choir. Remember, this level of football is a religion. And if that’s not good enough for you, can’t we all just appreciate a good pop song sung in Gospel style? I mean, really, does it get any better than that?
Finale: World Peace. hmmmm… I don’t know. Madonna wishes she’d done this at the Miss USA pageant?
So I guess you could say I liked it. Like I sat there with my jaw dropped. And if you disagree that’s fine, but please remember that this could have been a Lady Gaga show, and that would have been much, much weirder.
Oh yeah, and the Giants won in case you didn’t already know. I bet Gisele was crushed.
Sooo… Super Bowl Halftime Show? Yay or Nay?