Today is a very special day, it’s SUPER BOWL SUNDAY. We sure do love our football in this country, but if you’re like me and could care less about sports there’s not much of interest unless you like entertaining advertisements…and the spectacle that is the half-time show.
It wasn’t until Super Bowl 6, way back in 1972, that popular music took center stage at the nation’s number one sporting event (it was Ella Fitzgerald, by the way, who was there as part of a salute to Louis Armstrong). Prior to that game the halftime show was just a bunch of marching bands, which is probably what it should be. Once the Super Bowl became a larger, more popular spectacle, the halftime shows got bigger and more commercial.Turns out the Walt Disney company used to produce a bunch of these half-time shows, which is why many of the early Super Bowls had Disney-lite themes (like “It’s a Small World”). Which begs the question, did you realize that every half-time has a theme?
This year’s theme is old whores. Just kidding, it’s actually W.E. which is a film that Madonna’s out promoting. I guess that’s better than Snow White (?). I find it ironic that getting Madonna is now the best way to “play it safe.” Once upon a time, the Material Girl would have been a risky, polarizing choice–but these days? Not so much. Fifteen years ago we might have all collectively prayed for another “wardrobe malfunction” but honestly, I have no desire to see Madonna aged, sinewy flesh.
Anyway, what I know about the Super Bowl halftime shows are this: the past few years have been awesome artists phoning-in some horrendous performances. I’m not sure if it’s the hastily assembled stage/sound system or if these artists are literally not practicing/warming up….regardless, I feel like I haven’t seen a good halftime performance since Michael Jackson’s back in the mid-1990s.
The most disappointing for me were The Who in 2010 and The Rolling Stones in 2006. Both were, and arguably still are, great bands–and they both delivered terrible, lackluster sets. American sports and ancient British rock bands just shouldn’t mix, I guess. Check out The Who’s awesome-looking, but terrible-sounding halftime show, if you dare:
One of the worst parts of the Super Bowl halftime shows of the past few years is also the “special guests” the producers throw in. These are usually rap/hip-hop stars that are designed to appeal to the younger demographic. This has led to some shall we say…interesting musical parings. Last year’s team-up of The Black Eyed Peas and Slash was probably the most horrendous thing I’ve ever witnessed. I think that if you want Madonna, get Madonna. Why have MIA, Cee Lo Green, LAMFO (whoever the fuck that is) and a bunch of other unrelated acts hop up on stage as well.
This year’s setlist promises to take halftime suck-a-tude to a whole new level. The setlist was revealed and Madonna is apparently capping her performance off with a duet of “Like A Prayer” with Cee Lo Green. Gag me with a spoon, or more accurately: wake me when this whole nightmare is over.
I actually thought this year’s show was pretty tolerable. The music was whatever, it’s just old Madonna album cuts being lip synced to, but the choreography, lights, costumes, sets, special effects all that stuff was great. I enjoy the unabashed pageantry of it.
Was it terrible? No. But why Madonna? I feel like they should pick newer artists. Madonna should have done it back in the 80s.