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At 53 did Madonna manage to pull off the greatest show on Earth?


Leading up to yesterday’s Superbowl there was a lot of speculation (to the concerted glee of sponsors one presupposes) of how Madonna would fare as the master of half time ceremonies.

Implicit in the understanding of whether Madonna would pull off the performance of a lifetime (as it was by now conspicuously now being billed) was the knowledge that Madonna and co (her stage performance came with the affable likes of Cee Lo, M.I.A, Nicky Minaj, and the crew of LMAO)  was being brought on by the organizers to give their product a wide appeal to world wide viewers who reached the spectrum of 111 million viewers.

To be frank, it was always going to be irrelevant whether Madonna would pull off the performance of a lifetime. It was a situation of buy the rumor (ie tune in) and then sell the news (pan her later if she so much as slipped, which she did for half a moment). This was corporate America signing off and collecting a huge pay day, as it is said that Superbowl advertising premiums commanded into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 30 second spot.

What perhaps makes Madonna’s appearance somewhat ironical and perhaps says a lot about the direction of pop celebrity and the manufacturing of popular culture is where Madonna in her prime would have sought some degree of transgression or the desire to express her reluctance to be part of some corporate ploy (as M.I.A was said to be doing by sticking her finger at tv crews) Madonna gladly lip synced herself to posterity (save for her Like a Prayer duet with Ceelo). Even her dance routine and usual stage antics were sorely subdued.

The verdict? Yes, Madonna wowed and dazzled us. But as far popular culture and  musical innovation? A complete failure and a sign of the times that the rise of the individual artist who seeks to go it alone and not subscribe to corporate posturing just got way harder. Then again, what does Madonna care about making a statement when it’s nothing but the rent and then some…..

Let the manufacturing of bubble gum and lip posturing reconvene….