from houston chronicle
Madonna showed us something during her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show that I don't think I've ever seen on her. Nerves.
The still-reigning - yes, indeed - queen of pop knew what was riding on this performance. A new single. A new album. Charges of irrelevance. (Haven't those been happening for the last, oh, 20 years?) Haters gon' hate, y'all.
But you know what? It suddenly, made her seem human amid the botox and bare arms. Madonna stresses out, too - as much as one can stress while vogue-ing amid gladiators and gold headresses. (And yes, that was a slip on the bleachers during Music. You try it with heels.)
But by the time she got to Give Me All Your Luvin', she was back in superhero mode. And yes, I dig the cheery new single (much more than 4 Minutes, the first taste we got of 2008′s uneven Hard Candy). Nicki Minaj and even M.I.A. - who offered a single-finger salute during her rap – seem to be having fun.
Was she lip-syncing? Probably. But the Super Bowl halftime show isn't about vocal prowess (and neither is Madonna). It's about spectacle, and Madonna brought it via A-list guests, visuals, dancers and a parade of her biggest hits.
Madonna has never been big on looking back, but this was a pitch-perfect mix of eras. A regal Vogue gave way to Music, and it's impossible to deny the impact the of pop classics Open Your Heart, Express Yourself and joyous finale Like a Prayer. An unexpected, but welcome, assist by Cee-Lo Green - in a sequined robe, no less - was likely a nod to the network's season 2 premiere of The Voice after the big game.
I've been party-rocked plenty in the last year and could have done without LMFAO. (Though the shuffling did make me smile.) But the Will Ferrell-esque tightrope bouncer was inspired, and the stage and entrance were pure pop Madge-sty.
And consider this: younger divas Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson have been relegated to weight-loss ads, while JLo and Christina Aguilera are clinging to reality shows for relevance.
But Madonna, whether you like it or not, is still here. She's 53, and she's making pop music. Deal with it.
Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton were unassuming and adorable on America the Beautiful (though someone should have just said no to her pink microphone and matching earrings). And Kelly Clarkson offered a solid take on the Star Spangled Banner ,which given recent travesties made it downright revolutionary.