Madonna promised there would be no wardrobe malfunction during her Super Bowl halftime performance. And she actually actually kept her word.
She also kept our attention, for worse as well as better, by wearing elaborate Egyptian garb, doing weird cartwheels, making us cringe via her collaboration with LMFAO and closing with a grand finale that involved Cee-Lo, “Like a Prayer” and an apparent alien abduction.
Here’s a play-by-play of the Madonna Super Bowl show, in words and images. Check it out, then post your take on her performance in the comments.
8 p.m.: The Bridgestone halftime show (official name) is beginning ... with the cast of “300” carrying in what appears to be a member of Roman royalty. I have this feeling Madonna is hidden under all those gilded leaves.
8:01 p.m.: She is! And she’s wearing a headdress that makes it looks like fancy horns are coming out of her head, just like all those conservatives always claimed!
8:02 p.m.: For the record, she’s opening with “Vogue.” And she and her back-up dancers are apparently doing the choreography from the “Just Dance 2” version of “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
8:03 p.m.: The stage floor looks as though it is covered with Vogue magazines. Conde Nast must be psyched.
8:04 p.m.: Madonna has officially removed the horny headdress and is now segueing into “Music.” She is not even trying to lip-sync accurately at this point. Points for faux-singing candor?
8:04 p.m.: Madonna is currently doing awkward cartwheels with four dudes in track suit who dance like Chris Brown but aren’t actually Chris Brown. She looks tentative, as she should. It’s wrong to try to do gymnastics in thigh-high boots with heels like that (which, by the way everyone wore in ancient Egypt. Or Rome. Or wherever.)
8:05 p.m.: A guy who looks like a young Richard Simmons is now walking on a tightrope and alternately bouncing on a trampoline, while wearing a toga. Look, I’m just relaying information, okay?
8:05 p.m.: Oh no, those LMFAO guys are onstage. I already miss the Chris Brown dudes.
8:06 p.m.: Madonna is on top of one half of LMFAO and singing “Party Rock Anthem.” Remember how “Shanghai Surprise” once seemed like her greatest embarrassment? Um, well...
8:06 p.m: Now Madonna, LMFAO, the Chris Brown dudes and others are doing the dance from “She’s All That.” Kind of. Honestly, I’m not sure exactly what’s happening right now, because the combination of glittery polka dots and leopard prints on LMFAO has rendered me legally blind.
8:06 p.m.: Now Madonna is flexing her muscles and mouthing the words, “I work out.” She is attempting an awkward handstand. Oy. Can we cut to a clip of “Like a Virgin” from the first VMAs and pretend this isn’t happening right now?
8:07 p.m.: Now Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and a herd of ladies in fringe skirts are doing what appears to be a pom routine my high school squad did in 1988. Also, did M.I.A. give us the finger? (Uh, yes. Yes she did.)
8:08 p.m.: P.S. this new song, “Give Me All Your Luvin” is beyond weak. Even the “Hey Mickey” antics can’t help it.
8:10 p.m.: A marching band is now onstage, drumming while Madonna sings “Open Your Heart.” This is sweet relief after “Give Me All Your Luvin.”
8:10 p.m.: In case you forgot for a half-second that “The Voice” is on after the Super Bowl, Cee Lo Green is leading the band. And, also, outsinging Madonna by leaps and octaves.
8:10 p.m.: Woah, the football field has disappeared and it now appears we’re in outer space. “Like a Prayer” is starting.
8:11 p.m.: Madonna, Cee Lo and a massive gospel choice in black and white robes are all singing. This doesn’t quite redeem that LMFAO episode, but this is pretty strong and looks stunning in HD.
8:12 p.m.:Cee Lo is really upstaging Madonna. Adding insult to injury, he is wearing glasses that Elton John would totally wear. Fortunately, Madonna doesn’t seem to mind.
8:13 p.m.: Oh my God! Madonna just sang “it feels like home” and got sucked into the bowels of the stage. That was an alien abduction we just witnessed, on live television! Someone, get Mulder and Scully on the case!
8:13 p.m.: That was a strong ending. I almost feel positively on the whole because of it but ... oh. The lights in front of the stage are currently spelling World Peace. Madonna, why did you have to go and try to be U2 like that?