The Many Ways in Which Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl Performance Can’t Be Surpassed

There have been numerous memorable moments in the annals of Super Bowl Halftime Show history. From “Walk This Way” performed by Aerosmith, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly to Janet Jackson’s nipplegate incident, the storied past of the mid-game break at the Super Bowl has been rich and varied–particularly considering that New Kids on the Block was the first mainstream band to perform at the event in 1991. 

A Roman representation of "Vogue"
A Roman representation of “Vogue”
While Michael Jackson (who performed in 1993) continued to add to the notion that the Halftime Show was an extravaganza to be highly anticipated, the Super Bowl experienced something of a lull in major performers until the advent of the 00s, with the likes of Tina Turner and Christina Aguilera performing in 2000 (the other way of the dodo performers that year included Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Phil Collins), and persisting in its star-studdedness as the decade progressed with U2, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince and The Who performing in the years subsequent to Janet Jackson, the woman that caused the NFL to bristle at the thought of using “young acts” in the wake of her nipple-bearing.
Bringing "good cheer" to the stage in Indianapolis
Bringing “good cheer” to the stage in Indianapolis

In 2012, an apocalyptic year that was kicked off by Madonna’s February 5th performance, the Queen of Pop truly showed everyone how it was done. Not just in terms of staging, theatricality and fanfare, but in the all-out media blitzkrieg that took place to promote the show. In addition to holding a press conference with the NFL, Madonna also tailored her latest single at the time, “Give Me All Your Luvin'”, featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, to the culture of football (though that sounds somewhat oxymoronic).

Re-donning a cheerleader uniform (M was one in high school) in order to capture the “ra-ra” nature of the song (think Toni Basil’s “Mickey”), Madonna enjoys, among other things, being carried around by a flurry of football players and wielding her pom-poms like a veteran. Unlike any other artist, Madonna brilliantly marketed the first single from her album (MDNA) to tie in with the Super Bowl.
With Minaj
With Minaj

As for the performance itself, what could be more fantastical than Madonna making an entrance onto the field like some sort of Roman Cleopatra as the intro to “Vogue” played, a slackliner jumping up and down like a rag doll during “Music” or M.I.A. notoriously flipping off the camera while dressed as a Roman sentry during “Give Me All Your Luvin'”? Beyonce may have blown out the electricity in the stadium the next year, but nothing will ever compare to the showmanship of Madonna, one of the gayest icons, brought seamlessly to the “straightest” sport in the world.




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