It’s fair to say that there are plenty of overrated things in the entertainment industry. HBO’s Entourage, Michael Bay, the entire clan of Kardashians (not just Kim), and essentially everything in the vein of “Hollywood life” or “Los Angeles culture” all lead the pack in worthless assets to the industry that should make people cringe, and maybe even throw-up in their mouth a little bit. Close behind all of these resides a special spot for the worthlessness of the Super Bowl halftime show. Don’t get me wrong, I love football, and the Super Bowl itself, and all the fun and hype that come along with it. But over the years, the halftime shows have just become a chore to watch. In fact there are really only two non-nudity involved halftime shows that have really ever stood out to me, and last nights performance was actually one of them.
Super Bowl halftime shows began drifting away from marching bands and focusing on popular music in 1987 when George Burns and Mickey Rooney performed alongside some Disney characters and live music as a 100th anniversary tribute to Hollywood. Six years later, Michael Jackson walked on the moon, ended racism, and healed the world all between quarter two and three, and the ratings for the big game had never been higher. Since then, the effort to maximize ratings via halftime performances has both shocked and appalled many … partly due to the array of terrible performances, but largely due to hot older female artists flashing themselves at the most viewed moment in the world of national broadcast.
After “Nipplegate”, the only halftime show really worth mentioning until now was Prince’s performance in which he melted the face of anyone and everyone that tuned in. Sure the slew of old classic performers seemed great from a musical lovers stand-point, but they ended up all sounding terrible and their performances were boring (The Boss’s performance is not included with this statement, my Jeep left me stranded in nowhere Ohio that evening and I missed the entire Super Bowl).
Madonna was chosen this year for a few reasons. Obviously she is one of the largest acts in the entire world, she is incredibly sexy (even at 53), she has a new album about to drop deeming her relevant again. She’s also old enough that even though her past is quite controversial, the network trusts that her days of publicity stunts are over. All-in-all it was a good choice. Especially after The Black Eyed Peas left everyone’s ears bleeding last year, it was good to have a show that was tolerable audibly, visually stunning, and had a supporting cast that was not only entirely relevant, but in some cases, extremely talented. Unlike many pop stars, Madonna is very meticulous and very actively involved in her music and her shows. She actually designed most of this performance herself, and I think she deserves kudos for it.
Here are some things Madonna did very well:
-Lip Syncing: You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. I think that we can all agree that it was fairly obvious that entire show was pre-recorded. The biggest reason being, it actually sounded good. I think we can also agree, that the Super Bowl halftime show, is absolutely no place for a concert. If that is where you go for live music, than you simply don’t care for live music. So who cares if you are actually singing or not and don’t make the audience suffer through a larger than life concert assembled in less than 3 minutes, audio setup included.
-Cirque Du Soleil: Having crazy dancers/performers do outrageous maneuvers all over the stage, and especially on a bungeed tight rope, greatly distracts the audience from the fact that her 53 year old self almost fell and shattered her hip while attempting to simply step onto a bleacher.
-Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.: Surrounding herself with incredibly acclaimed (critically and otherwise) artists that are also known for wild acts public out lash was brilliant. She wins over teen pop lovers, Kanye West, boosts some indie-cred, and enables a controverisal censorship “scandal” that she cannot get pinned for. Of course M.I.A. was going to use the biggest platform she has ever had as an opportunity to cause problems, her last album was basically dedicated to slandering google, twitter, Apple, and the American media.
-3D Video Mapping on the Field: Yes, it did look like the performance was green-screened. Video Mapping is brilliant and that was a killer use for it. Some other examples to melt your mind are here, and here,!
-Use of Midgets: Rev. Cee Lo Green looks funny, has a ridiculous voice, and was a brilliant choice for “Like A Prayer”.
-Being Madonna: Call it a guilty pleasure or not, but I’ve always had a sick obsession with Madonna. She is an incredibly talented artists/performer, and knows how to work the public. She accomplished all of these while still turning me on at 53 years old yesterday.
-World Peace: Somehow since MJ healed the world in ’93 we managed to lose our way again as a human society. Luckily Madonna offered us a solution tonight by suggesting “World Peace” at the end of her performance. Somehow this solution to so many problems was staring us in the face all along. Luckily she pointed this out to us now, so we can get back on the right track and love each other once again.
Of course their are a lot of people out there that will say I’m stupid, and the classic legends that have owned the halftime shows in recent years are far superior than the annoying pop shows that are sure to now come back in full force. Personally, I was kind of sad to hear most of the audio cut out for Rolling Stones, and it was even sadder to see 1 of the 2 remaining members of The Who hook himself up to an oxygen tank in between screams while performing a 4 song set.
Now, I didn’t see Michael Jackson or Bruce Springsteen perform in their halftime spectacular and I am sure they were awesome. I’ve seen U2, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Tom Petty in concert and they were all great, but sounded awful in their mid-game shows. I also love Paul McCartney, if you don’t it’s only because you’re a conspiracy theorists and you think he killed Lennon, Harrison, and is working on Ringo (hopefully before he makes another solo album). But as far as halftime shows go, Madonna’s performance last night was only trumped by the Prince of Pop himself (and probably also his predecessor, The King of Pop, but I didn’t see it).
I’m sure a lot of you disagree, but in the kind words of M.I.A. …
^ … “Imma say this once, yea I don’t give a shit!”
If you missed the show, you can watch the entire performance here. Thanks for reading.