The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

Madonna halftime show: lots of material, little substance

Madonna’s halftime show was a glitzy, ultimately forgettable spectacle.

Hundreds of millions looked on as a muscled mass of oiled-up gladiators yanked an enormous winged figure onto the field this past Sunday night. If I had any doubts about the extravagance of Madonna’s performance at halftime for the Super Bowl, her entrance shut me up pretty quickly. She burst out of her feathered cocoon-carriage looking as fit as ever and gave a glitzy performance that, if nothing else, at least managed to avoid the now-feared wardrobe malfunction that Janet Jackson made infamous eight years ago.

Surrounded by a back-flipping gang of dancers, 53-year-old Madge, wearing an enormous horned helmet, put on a sparkly but ultimately forgettable show. Because she clearly lip-synced the entire performance (it was so obvious that I wished she hadn’t even had her prop microphone), I expected some spectacular dancing—come on, we all know the lady can move. However, she never really got past strutting across the stage, though a random man would occasionally lift her leg or give her a flip. There was a significant amount of leg lifting in this show.

As she Vogued her way up a flight of multicolored steps, she tripped (hey audience, there’s the cringe moment we were all secretly hoping for) and bared a little bit more skin than anyone wanted to see, but overall, she made it through the performance intact.

Rapid-fire artist appearances that were more disorienting than enjoyable characterized the rest of the show. What was LMFAO doing up there? (Please, Madonna, get off that young man’s zebra-clad shoulders.) Did M.I.A. do anything besides flip off the camera and curse? Why was Cee Lo Green wearing a floor-length black sequined frock, looking like a priest who had been attacked by Liberace? Aside from his performance, the only cameo I really enjoyed was Nicki Minaj’s, which lasted less than 30 seconds. The show’s most memorable moment came not from the Material Girl or her many friends, but from a man in a toga who danced on a tightrope. Now that was impressive. I’m not quite sure why Madonna pretended to shoot him.

Though Madonna’s new song fell miserably flat (how many times can you repeat, “L-U-V, Madonna, Y-O-U, you wanna”?), I was happy to hear some of her classics. I have a weakness for “Like a Prayer,” and she did the song justice with the help of a swaying choir and a lot of smoke. She almost won me over with that as her closing piece, but just as I started to think the show would end on a high note, the camera zoomed out to reveal a massive light display that read “World Peace.” Wait, what? Which part of the performance was supposed to promote peace—the drumline or the hip-swiveling cheerleaders? That was an abrupt and confusing end to a confusing show, and I couldn’t help but laugh as the million-dollar commercials kicked back in.

Overall, the performance was entertaining in its over-the-top production, but that’s about it. The whole thing was just glitzy and loud (and considering the venue, that might be just what everyone wanted). Nip-slip avoided, the act was an expensive and safe success that will be forgotten as soon as NBC stops apologizing to everyone for the one finger that stole the show.

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