When Madonna started off her run during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVI, there was one word that we could use to best describe our internal feeling — skepticism. In the age of Gaga and Katy Perry, could the original queen of pop still dominate? As it turns out, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
This was a show that ultimately became better and better as the show progressed. During her opening performance of “Vogue,” it seemed really as though we were witnessing a spectacle that had no substance underneath the heavy layer of style. If Madonna was really singing, we couldn’t tell thanks to the heavy backing track — and she progressed into a mash-up of “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, we really couldn’t see any change here. Thankfully, this early portion of the show had no much else going on to distract us — from some crazy acrobats to a group of Roman soldiers that may have actually been larger than the 300 Spartans.
The turning point for the show was actually to us not when M.I.A. or Nicki Minaj came out to join Madonna for her new song “Give Me All Your Luvin,” but rather the surprise cameo by Cee Lo Green (whose show “The Voice” is premiering Sunday night) leading up to the grand finale that was “Like a Prayer.” You could hear Madonna’s real voice during the closing performance, and she and Cee Lo actually sounded great together. Backed by a giant chorus, it was at this moment that you could really start to feel some of the excitement in the air, and that you were watching someone who has endured as a pop superstar longer than most other stars can only dream about.
Of course, we very well expect most music critics to come out and be cynical about Madonna for whatever reason — but even during some of her weaker moments, she did her primary duty for a Super Bowl halftime show in entertaining us thoroughly.