This Sunday was Super Bowl XLVI for which Madonna was the half-time entertainment. It was a performance that was met with generally positive reviews. In a nutshell: people liked the scale of the performance, they liked the choreo/costumes/ staging, but disliked the (necessary) lip-syncing and pre-recorded shenanigans.
Honestly, the stage felt HUGE; as in, bigger than past Super Bowl performances. And Madonna actually filled the 13-minutes whereas past performers like the Black Eyed Peas used too much filler and phoned it in. She did well. It’s not exactly clear what parts were pre-recorded, as alleged, and which parts necessitated lip-syncing. But MEH. Who cares? It was slick and did its job.
M.I.A. decided that, with 111.3 million people watching the highest rated television show ever, it would be the perfect time to flip off cameras. As she did at the same point in Madonna’s Gimme All Your Luvin’ music video (so, yeah, it’s not like there was no forewarning).
During her rap, the British musician broke from the routine to flip her middle finger. It was contrived, lame and childish. But it worked. People have been overlooking Madonna, somewhat, in favour of commenting on M.I.A.’s behaviour. It’s not clear whether it went out live. Some sources claim not. However, it seems so because TMZ.com had a screen cap sent in by a viewer. And YouTube rips clearly show it with the subsequent failed attempt at censorship.
Since its airing, the NFL and NBC have apologised.
“The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans,” said Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL, which produced Madonna’s halftime show noting that M.I.A. had not done anything similar during rehearsals.
“The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show,” NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. “Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.”
TMZ.com notes that all performers signed contract agreeing that, were an incident to occur and NBC/ NFL to be sued, the artist would pay the fine. In this case, the possible six-figure fine would go to M.I.A.
Also during the Super Bowl on Sunday, Kelly Clarkson did a nice, if laboured, job of singing the National Anthem.