Will Madonna bring sexy back to the Super Bowl halftime show?
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During the Lions-Saints throttling in Week 13, Bob Costas—whose swag has been skyrocketing since his Jerry Sandusky interview—had the misfortune of officially announcing that the Material Girl herself, Madonna, will play the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show—yet another baffling move orchestrated by the halftime show powers that be. As if last year’s Black Eyed Peas/Slash/Usher abomination wasn’t bad enough, and as if The Who didn’t almost crumble into dust the year prior, now Madonna, noted in recent years less for her music than for her uncanny resemblance to the villain Skeletor, will take America’s biggest stage.
One has to imagine Madonna’s selection comes directly from the NFL’s marketing gurus, as the pop diva’s positioning at Super Bowl XLVI will surely reel in viewers who have not watched the game (let alone its halftime performance) in years, if ever. Let’s face it: The demographics being charmed here are middle-aged women and members of the gay community, neither of which is a group generally associated with a love of pro football. And in that sense, Madonna’s appearance is a positive, as it spreads the game of football to audiences the NFL has by and large ignored otherwise. As my homosexual roommate said, “It’s going to be the gayest halftime show ever.”
Still, this choice is a dicey move, as the traditional NFL viewer would likely rather flip to Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl during halftime than watch Madonna sing decades-old pop tunes for 15 minutes.
Though, the real issue here is content, as Madonna’s confirmation as halftime performer raises the question of just what, exactly, she will sing. It’s important to remember that the Nipplegate fiasco of 2004 was the single most shocking and important event of the new millennium, if not in the history of humankind—so the NFL is liable to clamp down on the sexual aspects of Madonna’s performance. And just what will we have left, then? Madonna’s is a career rooted in sexuality, transparent or otherwise. Her two biggest hits are arguably “Like A Virgin” and “Like A Prayer,” with the former referring to the feeling of getting fucked for the first time and the latter using Catholic imagery as a euphemism for blowing a dude (with an accompanying video of her banging Jesus). Those tunes are not exactly family friendly. Maybe she could do “Papa Don’t Preach,” because, while the song does focus on a knocked-up teenager who disobeys her parents, it offers a pro-life argument that might appeal to the many Super Bowl viewers who align their beliefs to the right.
Clearly, the folks at the Super Bowl need some help with halftime selections in these trying sonic times. Admittedly, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty were both solid acts; but the American people have had enough of lackluster performances that have been intermittently marring halftime shows for the past decade. To quote Jack Kennedy, “We can do bett-ah.”
Assuming the currently undefeated Packers will continue their heroic march to the big game, we’ve put together a short list of acts that could help resuscitate a halftime show that’s desperately in need of saving, because, dammit, the Pack deserves something befitting its glory.
In addition to the fact that he’s still in his musical prime, White has music—be it under the mantle of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, or The Dead Weather—with the type of charged choruses and rock ’n’ roll grandeur that have been accompanying sports clips since the early 2000s. What better to get a crowd jacked for the season’s last half of football than White’s squealing guitar licks amplified over the bass line for “Seven Nation Army” as it ripples through Lucas Oil Stadium? White’s a showman, too, which means the Tron-inspired shenanigans of 2011 would be thrown out the window in favor of classic arena-rock antics.
In addition to having near-universal appeal, Big Boi and André 3000 have found themselves increasingly entwined with jock culture, as evidenced by “B.O.B” finding prominence in locker rooms nationwide and Big Boi’s solo “Shutterbug” being featured on last year’s NBA2K11. The timing would have been perfect for the band, too, as early 2012 will mark the release of the group’s first album since 2006’s Idlewild.
If we’re going to stick with the “tested” acts motif that began with Paul McCartney and ended with The Who, why not sign up Fogerty? Creedence Clearwater Revival has more than enough hits to carry the show, and the music is more than catchy enough to appeal to a pop audience as well as rock fans. Put him in, coach. He’s ready to play.
Do any musicians better embody the testosterone-fueled aggression of the NFL than the rock superstars of Metallica? The metal heroes have machismo in spades—certainly enough to keep the energy of the first half of play rolling into the second. And Metallica once played to an estimated crowd of 1.5 million people so, unlike the Black Eyed Peas, the band should have no problem translating its music to a large crowd.