On its best day, you can say the musical portion of the Super Bowl ranks somewhere below the fifth time you see the latest Go Daddy commercial and somewhere above that pre-game segment featuring an offensive lineman and his mother. I mean, who really looks forward to a halftime show, post Nipplegate? We already know it's going to be some over-the-hill act earning one last paycheck for their old hits.
The singing of the National Anthem offers slightly more risk, but mostly for bettors chancing the over/under on song length (you screwed me last year, Aguilera!). But when it comes down to it, the question we have to ask ourselves following Super Bowl XLVI is, did anything notable happen?
The answer, aside from me kicking myself for not taking the Giants like gut was telling me to all week, was "Yes, especially for those of us looking forward to the FCC clamping down even more on live entertainment." Thanks a pantload, M.I.A.
But before all that, we have to go back to the pregame. The first act I caught was Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's rendition of...wait, that's not entirely accurate. I remember seeing Lenny Kravitz singing something through the back window of my house while I was cleaning the grill, but I couldn't tell you what it was. Even money is it was a stirring rendition of "American Woman" or "Are You Gonna Go My Way" or some other retro rocker Kravitz has been coasting on for nearly 20 years.
Anyway, Shelton and Lambert did "America, The Beautiful" for reasons not at all tied in to NBC's promotion of Shelton's show The Voice (apparently it's airing right after the Super Bowl, if the 500 ads to that effect yesterday were to be believed). He seemed a bit nervous, while Lambert did just fine, though my memory may have been fogged by repeated flashings of Lambert's bra strap. Whatever the case, I'm glad the two of them could come together and celebrate a country that condemns gay marriage, but still has no problem with a dude who ends up marrying the woman he cheated on his first wife with. God speed, Blake and Miranda.
Kelly Clarkson was up next. My knowledge of Clarkson's pretty much ends with "Since You've Been Gone," which is still a groovy song. She seemed like a safe bet for the National Anthem, with the only questions being those plaguing prop bettors worldwide: would she show some midfriff? And would she beat the over on singing time (1:34)? In answer to the first, no. The second? Beats me, although it's becoming apparent we as a nation have way too much time on our hands.
Fast forward through a bunch of boring football nonsense to halftime. It's Madonna, bitches, and she's being drawn on a giant gold lame couch by legions of buff 300 extras.
I mean, I liked the floor graphics, and the costumes are nifty, but I don't know that I've seen as much blatant lip synching since, well, the last Super Bowl halftime. Is she even trying? Oh, of course she's not. Look at that forced rictus of a smile. This is a paycheck gig all the way while she focuses on her real passion: making terrible, terrible movies.
First was "Vogue." Next up is "Music," which consists of a number of upskirt cartwheels, a dude on a tightrope who looks like Will Ferrell from Semi-Pro, and...LMFAO? Of course. Why not commemorate this evening of superficiality ("I only watch for the commercials") with the shallowest members of the lucky sperm club? To be fair, Madonna at 53 can still hoof it.
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The obligatory new cut was "Give Me All Your Luvin," performed with assistance from a bouncy Nicki Minaj and a decidedly less enthusiastic M.I.A., whose bored middle finger doubtless sparked the outrage of...dozens? Millions? What will the FCC end up fining NBC? Can we put a price on the thousands of children permanently scarred by this shameful display? Hopefully their attention was soon distracted by a bunch of 300-pound gentlement hitting each other hard enough to cause early onset dementia.
"Open Your Heart" briefly transitioned to "Like A Prayer," which I totally called as the closing number.* Cee-Lo Green joins her in robes that make him look like a dwarf Sith lord. Madonna spends most of this number on her knees, probably so she doesn't embarrass the diminutive Voice coach (season premiere immediately following the Super Bowl on NBC!). Finally, for her big exit, Madonna drops off stage in a cloud of smoke while the field spells out "World Peace." Take that, Syria!.
* Then again, I also said Christina Aguilera would make a surprise appearance and the Patriots would beat the spread.