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Super Bowl XLVI halftime show

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Super Bowl XLVI halftime show
Official promotional poster
Part of Super Bowl XLVI
Date February 5, 2012
Location Indianapolis, Indiana
Venue Lucas Oil Stadium
Headliner Madonna
Special guests
Sponsor Bridgestone
Director Hamish Hamilton
Producer Ricky Kirshner
Super Bowl halftime show chronology

The Super Bowl XLVI halftime show occurred on February 5, 2012, at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as part of Super Bowl XLVI. It featured American singer Madonna, with special guests LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and CeeLo Green. In 2011, the National Football League (NFL) announced that Madonna would perform at the XLVI show. The singer collaborated with Cirque du Soleil for producing the show, while her longtime choreographer Jamie King was the music director; King in turn enlisted multimedia show producer Moment Factory. Madonna performed a total of four songs, starting with "Vogue" in a Roman-Egyptian setting, followed by "Music" where LMFAO assisted her. Minaj and M.I.A. joined during the performance of Madonna's then-new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'", and she finished off with "Like a Prayer", alongside Green.

Preparations started as early as January 2012, with the singer explaining that it was the most exhausting rehearsal she ever had. The costumes were created by fashion designers Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy, Miu Miu and Prada. Whole performance consisted of 500 total outfits including customized looks for musical guests and assisting performers. The team was allotted a total time of 7 minutes to set up the stage, 12 minutes for the performance and 8 minutes to disband it. The modular structure was assembled from a truck, along with a large white fabric at the front which acted as media screens for Moment Factory. Projection mapping was utilized by video hardware manufacturer Barco, with the films being modified for the spectators as well as television audience. The whole of Lucas Oil Stadium was decked with Sharpys lighting arrangements from Clay Paky, and the performance used Sennheiser sound equipment.

Madonna was not paid for performing at the halftime show, which provides global exposure for promotion of an artist's material. The show was a commercial success, breaking the record as the most-watched Super Bowl halftime in history garnering 114 million viewers, the number being higher than the game itself. Keith Caulfield from Billboard reported 1,700% rise in sales for the singer's back catalog as well as strong pre-orders for upcoming releases. Contemporary critics lauded the halftime, but reviewers noted that Madonna was cautious of not causing any controversy with her performance. However, the event received widespread attention when M.I.A. extended her middle finger to the camera near the end of her verse in "Give Me All Your Luvn'", instead of singing the word "shit". The rapper was criticized, and the NFL apologized for their inability to blur out the sequence. The league later fined the rapper a total of $16.6 million as penalty, which was resolved through a confidential agreement in 2014.


Madonna's performance was broadcast on NBC on February 5, 2012, from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It started with a long procession approaching the stage, with men dressed as gladiators pulling a large structure hidden from view by giant golden colored flags. As the opening music of "Vogue" played, the flags were removed to reveal Madonna sitting on a giant throne, dressed in a long golden cape and an Egyptian style headgear. The procession reached the stage and the performance of "Vogue" started with the singer doing choreographed moves. During chorus, the stadium floor lit up to reveal numerous Vogue magazine covers featuring Madonna's face, which twist and turn and move to the rhythm of the music. As "Vogue" transitioned into "Music", two giant boomboxes appeared on the ground screens and the banisters across the whole stadium is lit up with moving lights. Madonna and her dancers moved towards the bleachers and performed acrobatic moves. Slacklining performer Andy Lewis accompanied the singer, as Madonna danced on a tall pedestal. She pretended to shoot Lewis and moved to the other end of the stage where LMFAO sang "Party Rock Anthem" blending it with "Music". They were joined by Madonna to perform their characteristic dance moves to "Sexy and I Know It".

"Music" ended with a group of female dancers in cheerleading uniforms joining Madonna onstage for performing "Give Me All Your Luvin'". Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. joined her onstage, both dressed in Egyptian inspired clothing. Together they danced as cheerleaders while holding pom-poms. During the intermediate section, all three of them stood on separate elevated platforms where Minaj and M.I.A. performed their respective verses. CeeLo Green came onstage at the end with a marching band. Madonna and Green performed snippets of "Open Your Heart" and "Express Yourself". As the opening music of "Like a Prayer" started, the stadium was darkened with only small pecks of light visible. A large choir dressed in black joined Madonna onstage. Near the end of the song, she moved energetically around the stage accompanied by the choir. She reached the top of the bleachers and song the final line, and gets immediately sucked beneath the stage within smoke. The show ends with word world peace appearing on the ground screens, along with an image of the continents.


Lucas Oil Stadium, the venue for Super Bowl XLVI and the halftime show

According to CBS News, Madonna had previously been asked to perform in the Super Bowl Halftime shows of 1998 and 2000, though ended up cancelling for both shows.[1][2] Back in January 2000, she was confirmed to perform her then-new single "American Pie" at the Super Bowl XXXIV halftime show. However, she pulled out of the gig a few days earlier, since it was conflicting with her recording schedule. In a statement at the time, Madonna said that she was "sorry" and expressed "sincere apologies" to the NFL. She added: "I look forward to the possibility of doing something with the NFL in the future."[3]

By late 2011, Madonna was busy with the release of her directorial venture, W.E., and also recording her twelfth studio album, MDNA.[4] Rumors went on about the singer being signed by the National Football League (NFL) for performing in their Super Bowl halftime show. In December 2011, NFL confirmed that Madonna would perform at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.[5] The game took place on February 5, 2012, and the show continued the trend of inviting global musicians to perform at the event. Madonna was preceded by the Black Eyed Peas, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, U2, Paul McCartney, and Prince.[5] The event was coincided with the release of W.E. in United States.[5]

Madonna collaborated with Cirque du Soleil in producing the show, while her longtime choreographer Jamie King was the music director for the event.[6][7] King also suggested to hire multimedia show producer Moment Factory, who were signed to work with Madonna. The group, which had worked on Celine Dion's Las Vegas residency shows, specializes in effects and multimedia spectacles.[8] Jacques Methe, the Cirque executive producer in charge of special events, explained that they were "contributing to the creative process that will lead to the creation of this very special moment... For us, it's an interesting opportunity. It's not something that we do very often, working with other stars."[8] Methe explained that Cirque was involved in the creative side of the halftime show, and it was challenging to do it logistically. They had previous experience of building a 9 minute pre-game show at the Super Bowl in 2007. "Our work has been done mostly to help magnify and create an environment for the artists," said Eric Fournier, the executive producer at Moment Factory, citing other shows the firm has worked on, employing lighting tricks and video projections for special effects.[8]



"We had a lot of rehearsals — intense rehearsals. It wasn't like [Madonna] was standing there with a whip but you knew it was going to be her biggest show so I understand she was nervous".

—Minaj talking about the Super Bowl rehearsals.[9]

Rehearsals for the event started from January 2012, going on for 12 hours in a New York studio. Rappers Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., who had collaborated on the singer's single "Give Me All Your Luvin'", complained that the rehearsals were "the most grueling thing [they had] ever done and wouldn't expect anything else, calling it an 'epic learning experience'."[10] Minaj had confirmed her performance at the event through a Twitter message. Rapper confirmed that American electronic dance music group LMFAO would also join Madonna during the event.[11]

According to Los Angeles Times, the NFL had semi-revealed the set list of the show in their magazine, with cryptically saying that "Though Madonna's set list was not officially announced at press time, fans might expect her to give all her luvin', provide a ray of light and be in vogue with her music."[12] Prior to the show, Madonna stated that she had performance nerves due to the physical and time constraints of the event. "I have eight minutes to set up my stage, 12 minutes to put on the greatest show on Earth, and I have seven minutes to take it down. So, that football field is clean for the second half of the game," she said. "How do you do that? This is a Midwesterner girls dream to be performing at the Super Bowl half-time show. In over 25 years of performing that I've done, I have never worked so hard or been so scrupulous or detail-orientated or freaked out."[12][13] She also revealed that her plans to have 100 drummers descend from the ceiling of the stadium had to be cancelled since the structure would not have been able to support the weight.[12]


Madonna on throne during the entrance sequence, wearing the pleated overskirt designed by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy

Madonna had promised that there would be no wardrobe malfunction during the event, alluding to the turmoil around singer Janet Jackson's performance and subsequent wardrobe malfunction during Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show.[13] The fashion for the halftime show had a Roman Empire theme in which elements were infused with a gladiator vibe mixed with modern day elements from Rome.[14] Costume designer B. Akerlund was responsible for creating the final dresses, and it took over three months to bring together the different looks.[14] Akerlund called upon the best and most forward thinking designers in the business to contribute to the fashion, with looks featuring Givenchy Haute Couture, boots by Miu Miu and earrings by Bvlgari.[14] She worked closely with Madonna who was involved with every detail, including the dress for the gladiators featured in the show. Akerlund explained:

"This was by far the biggest challenge I have ever taken on in my career, and I could not be more honored to be a part of such an amazing and historical event. Nothing could ever come close to working with Madonna on this Super Bowl performance, her attention to detail and commitment to all of her projects is truly inspiring and life changing."[14]

The first dress designed for Madonna was a black colored one with a gold, pleated overskirt designed by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy. The singer wore heavy jewelry, with her blonde hair long and tightly waved. She added diamond earrings to the ensemble, which she had convinced Bvlgari to provide her.[15][16] The first dress also had a gold sequined cape with leopard print chiffon lining, with Philip Treacy headgear. For "Give Me All Your Luvin'", Madonna, Minaj and M.I.A. wore red-and-black cheerleader outfits while carrying gold pom-poms in their hand. The last performance had Madonna emerging on stage in a long black gown with long sleeves thrown over her short black dress.[15] Tisci explained that he had made all the outfits, including clothes, gloves, belts, hats and even the underwear which Madonna wore. Ultimately he had around 28 choices for the singer, who finalized on the gold cape. Tisci and his team had a shorter version made of the cape, but they had to re-do it since Madonna did not approve of the final design.[17] The whole performance consisted of 500 total outfits including customized looks for musical guests LMFAO, Minaj, M.I.A. and Green as well as costumes for 100 drum line performers, 150 gladiators—who wore pairs of black underwear designed by Calvin Klein—and 200 choir singers.[14][18]

Stage setup[edit]

The crew setting up the stage for the halftime show, including the lighting and sound arrangements, the bleachers and the ramps.

For the actual show, seven minutes were allotted to the 1,500 crew for setting up the stage. California based company Torrence All Access Staging and Productions handled the equipments required for the setup. Erik Eastland from the company was the overseer of the whole arrangement, having been associated with a number of high-profile shows like the Grammy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. Around 70% of the workers were volunteers who had to undergo a screening test of six months to get the job, rest of them were regular employees from various stage vendors. The main stage was 120 feet (36.6 m) long and modular, and was assembled by dismounting it from six big trucks. Additionally the crew also setup the lighting, video, special effects and audio equipments.[19]

The challenge may come from working outside in the elements. It could be 50 degrees when we rehearse and 50 below on game day, we're working under the pretext that we can be doing this in snow or rain... In a normal indoor environment we have seven minutes to install the stage and get it camera ready. That can be stretched to nine minutes. It's the same time frame for this.[19]

Co-ordinator for the set up, Douglas Cook, explained that the rehearsals enabled them to better the time-limit and set up the stage under five minutes. Cook, who had worked on previous half time shows, knew the details and was able to guide the team. The drawings of the performances ensured what was expected for each set up, making the volunteers assemble the stage in separate pieces and use carts to move them to the main field. The entrance of Madonna had to be rehearsed a number of times so that accuracy was maintained. During the main event Cook faced problems when he came to know that the challengers, New England Patriots, would exit through the same route to be used by the volunteers carrying the stage equipments; Cook resolved it by talking with the team.[20]

The set designer for the show, Bruce Rodgers, had previously worked with Madonna on the Drowned World Tour in 2001, and was aware of her work ethics. Together with director Hamish Hamilton and executive producer Ricky Kirshner, they had several meetings with Madonna's team, which was represented by choreographer King, who presented the initial ideas and theories about the show. Rodgers developed a giant cross shaped stage which had a central platform attached with five hidden lifts, a bleacher at the back with an escape system, four positions for the band to play, an area for slacklining at one edge, and ramps at the two ends of the cross-shape. At front of the stage was a 149 ft × 90 ft (45 m × 27 m) white fabric, which acted as the main screens for Moment Factory's projections. Props built included a Jimmie Martin-designed gold-leaf throne atop a barge, which was to be carried by 150 gladiators. It became the biggest challenge for Rodgers to accommodate the piece on the stage and rehearse the procession bringing Madonna on stage.[21]

Multimedia and video[edit]

During the performance of "Like a Prayer", projection mapping was employed to achieve an effect which made the "stage appear to suck up the grass and chalk from the football field".[22]

The stage used extensive multimedia projections and technology, conceptualized by Moment Factory and Cirque Du Soleil. After Madonna's entrance, the ground as well as the stage floor changed to reveal numerous video images, showing Vogue magazine covers with Madonna's face imposed on them. The images continued to change rapidly as the performance moved on to the next songs. This was achieved by technology known as projection mapping, which is used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection. It had been used previously in shows like Nokia Lumia's launch as well as projecting images of NBA players on the Hudson River in 2011. However, it had never been used on such a grandiose scale like Madonna's halftime show. Eric Fournier, partner and executive producer at Moment Factory, explained that they had previously been associated with such technology dependent shows, so preparing and adjusting to the requirements for Super Bowl was easy. When they arrived at the halftime show preparations, Madonna's team had already selected the songs to be performed, hence the studio had to develop the visual effects complimenting the choreography.[22] Moment Factory Creative Director, Sakchin Bessette, believed that video projections would be more efficient in highlighting the show, and there would be less equipment to move to the field.[23] Fournier said that "It all came from the decision at the beginning to make a show out of it, not just a performance. Madonna's a perfectionist, and she wanted to do something extraordinary, so that was the objective of everybody".[22]

The main concepts included the shifting magazine covers, Egyptian inspired procession during the beginning, "intergalactic" boomboxes during performance of "Music", as well as an effect making "stage appear to suck up the grass and chalk from the football field". Some visuals were timed to respond with the dancers and Madonna's body movements.[22][23] Once the visuals were decided, Moment Factory and Cirque watched the performances closely, in order to adapt the backdrops to the choreography. Fournier relied on the "disciplined" team enlisted by the NFL who had prior experience with timely managing the video set ups, which totalled to 32 HD projectors by hardware manufacturer Barco. The projectors were attached to eight pods of four projectors each, to encompass the whole of Lucas Oil Stadium. Barco's Projector Toolset was used to operate the screens and display the different videos for the show.[22][24] Fournier explained that "on TV there were a lot of closeups of Madonna and the dancers, but from the audience in the stadium, the show covered 50 yards. That was the idea: that the show, in essence, must eclipse the size of the stadium."[22] There were always 10–12 members working on the project because they had to create almost two different shows, one for the spectators at the stadium and one for the TV audience across the world. Moment Factory co-ordinated with the producers of the show so that the whole show would be projected properly on television. Bessette recalled that the resolution of the videos were very big, almost 18 times that of normal high-definition, hence they had faced problems in moving the video files to proper locations. "We had to find a solution that would be spectacular and that would fit within those parameters," he said.[23][25]

Rodgers enlisted LMG Inc. for providing the video, lights and audio equipments. LMG had in-turn partnered with live event production company, DWP Live, on projection for the halftime show. Danny Whetstone, founder of DWP explained that using Barco helped them in operating the projections seamlessly and adjust the brightness of the videos according to their own wish. "It was essential that we hang the projectors straight down, 151 feet in the air, lens to field, in order to fill the enormous visual area with the converged image" concluded Whetstone. Barco's HD20 has 20,000 lumen lighting capacity, and rendered extremely clear images with high brightness and contrast, making them ideal for the halftime show.[24]

Lighting and sound[edit]

"Madonna had a definite and very strong idea of what she wanted, and the design was driven very largely by that. We ended with an amalgamation of our original concepts to deliver her vision, and I knew I would do something different, depending on which songs were sung, and that was decided rather late in the scheme of things.[26]

—Al Gurdon, lighting designer, on the conceptualization of the show.

The whole of Lucas Oil Stadium was decked with Sharpys lighting arrangements from Clay Paky during the halftime show.[27] Al Gurdon of Incandescent Designs, lighting designer for the event, enlisted console group PRG to help him fix 204 Sharpys across the main stage. He explained that the main idea was from Madonna and since the whole show was choreography driven and centred on the main stage, the challenge was much less than previous years. However, Gurdon had to make sure that the audience was able to enjoy the show from afar and that Madonna was highlighted properly for the cameras.[27] Together with board operator Mike Owen, they pondered over their ideas in England and for a week tried out different schemes utilizing CAST software.[26] A "cleaner" approach was taken which ensued that no interference happened with the video projections and lighting. He put the Sharpys together in rectangular areas with 20 to 16 lights in each. This resulted in a strong moving light, which was compact and powerful, but could be split into shorter beams also if required, for example, achieving a mirror ball effect during performance of "Music".[27]

Since the whole arrangement had to be in place within seven minutes, Gurdon developed a rig to achieve this. He flew some of the equipments to the roof of Lucas Oil and had to attach them there at a height of 175 feet (53.3 m), so that it did not intervene with the camera movements during the main game. When the show time came on, they were lowered to light the venue. Golden light was used during the opening sequence, followed by black and white strobes for "Vogue". A colorful palette provided the lights for "Music" while a primarily red hue was prevalent during "Give Me All Your Luvin'". Finally, the performance of "Like a Prayer" had another stream of gold Sharpys, making rays of sunlight.[26]

Clay Paky lighting arrangements were rigged all around the stage. Shown here is the multiple color scrollers used during "Music".

Sound equipments from Sennheiser were used for audio. Matt Napier, Madonna's monitor engineer explained that they wanted to keep the arrangements simple by using Sennheiser's Wireless Systems Manager software which was used for tweaking the frequencies. Madonna used the HSP 4 headset at the beginning of the show, and changed it to a Sennheiser SKM 5200-II handheld Blake and Mirandatransmitter afterwards. Sennheiser transmitters were used by Minaj, M.I.A. and LMFAO while Green's mic used the MD 5235 capsule. According to an article in Mix, during the show Napier recalled that they needed specific gold-plated transmitters for Madonna and Green, which were provided immediately by Sennheiser on the day of the event.[28] Professional Wireless Systems (PWS), a Masque Sound Company, were in charge of the wireless sound monitoring throughout the show. The team initially inspected the site and submitted their findings to the NFL, who agreed on using their services.. Through a series of trial runs, PWS was able to deduce which frequency to use, so that interference was eliminated.[29]

Ken Gay, video technologist for LMG, recalled that the teams for lighting, sound and television departments gathered in Orlando at Orange County Convention Center to do a dummy test of the setup. They used simple fabrics on the ground and tested out the lighting projections for the stage. Bessette had some of the samples to be used for projections, which helped LMG in testing out their challenges related to the whole setup. Mark Sanford from the team monitored the cameras for checking the reflections from the fabric due to the projections and calculating how it would affect the transmission of the show during the main event. He adjusted the camera placements likewise with his readings. For the projection pods to be used from the ceilings, LMG tested them at their headquarters in Orlando. They put the pods at a distance of 150 feet from ground, using the fabrics from the previous testing. Having concern that the grass of the stadium floor would affect the projections, LMG decided on using Heavy Knit Bright White fabric from All Access.[30]

Critical response[edit]

Madonna flanked by LMFAO during the mash-up performance of "Music" and "Sexy and I Know it".

Jocelyn Vena from MTV News commented that Madonna had ensured that every one would be talking about the show irrespective of their liking and the singer's own "slip-ups".[31] Marc Schneider from Billboard said that Madonna "rocked" the Super Bowl, adding that "It's Madonna Louise Ciccone's world, we're just living in it".[32] Randall Roberts Los Angeles Times clarified that the choice of Madonna as the halftime show performer was subject of much discussion, but declared the singer as "defiantly unconcerned with the more conservative red state wing of the football fanbase who'd never be caught dead singing along to one of her songs...and her halftime show was pure spectacle by the Cleopatra of the game... Madonna is Madonna for a reason. And we saw it firsthand Sunday."[33] Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot called the show as an "S&M party to Ancient Egypt". He added that along with reminding the audience of her older hit songs, Madonna had "important career-advancing work to do... [The singer], after all, never does anything unless she's got something to sell, and with a new studio album due out in March and a tour to follow, she had plenty on her to-do list."[34] Jon Pareles from The New York Times noted that the singer was not as "indefatigable" as her previous years, she still appeared as a "party girl turned regent: a queen on her throne, a homecoming queen strutting in the bleachers, a church singer fronting a choir". Pareles concluded by saying that Madonna was "grown-up" and put on an appropriate show for NFL.[35] Peter Robinson from The Guardian noted that the performance was a low-key affair for the singer, even when it was being watched by the biggest audience. He added that the budget of the show would "[make] your average James Cameron effort look like Homes Under the Hammer", and listed the entrance and exit as one of the most favorite parts of the show.[36]

Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly noticed that Madonna delivered a "joyous, unironic, openhearted" show, instead of resorting to a cautious performance. According to him, the singer was in "full command" and although the visuals did not have a flow, the song transitions meshed "perfectly".[37] Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph described the show as a "tribute to Madonna" and "shameless" promotion of the singer's return to the music scene after directing W.E. McCormick ended the review saying that "the message [of the show] is that she is back in business. I suspect she’d settle for a global number one over global harmony."[38] Troy Patterson from Slate believed that Madonna kept her "greatest marketing agent" title with the show, and complimented the costumes, the sets and Madonna's self-reference throughout the performance.[39] Linda Holmes from NPR deduced that "What's curious, given how much 'ewww, she's too old' stuff went around on Twitter, is that everything she did Sunday night is exactly what it should mean to age gracefully."[40] Miriam Coleman from Rolling Stone described the show as a "serious spectacle".[41] Mario Tarradell from The Dallas Morning News called the show a "high-concept music video". He went on to add that "Madonna brilliantly manipulates the combined impact of visuals and sonics. The 13-minute performance was an eye-popping marvel".[42] A reviewer for The Huffington Post said that "love her or hate her, there's no doubt that only Madonna can bring a certain level of pop flair to a performance."[43] Spencer Kornhaber from The Atlantic was impressed by the choreography and cinematography of the show, saying that "with so, so much to look at, Madonna remained the center of attention. That is, until the end, when white light and smoke engulfed her and she dropped down through the stage, out of sight."[44] According to Joey Guerra from Houston Chronicle, Madonna displayed control of her nervousness during the performances. He went on to complement the selection of the songs in the set list.[45]

Cara Kelly from The Washington Post gave a mixed review, saying that although the show was "revolutionary" following Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction incident, it still registered as a "pathetic attempt at comeback".[46] Lou Harry from Indianapolis Business Journal felt that Madonna lacked focus and energy, resulting in lukewarm response from the audience. He called the show an "awkward celebration" but complimented the overall production.[47] USA Today‍ '​s Elyssa Gardner felt that "Madonna herself, stylish but hardly provocative in tailored tops and skirts that showed off her yoga-toned gams, delivered [the songs] and other flourishes with a winking sense of humor."[48] David Zurawik from The Baltimore Sun panned the show, calling it "Madonna's zombie halftime". He criticized the song choices and the overall concept, saying that "[Madonna's] acting as if she's almost singing. I say almost, because there is not a whit of artistic aspiration in the star performer or the production as far I can tell. But hey, that's our sad-sack, super-sized, gross American culture these days, isn't it. And it is perfectly suited for empty Super Bowl half-time spectacle."[49]

Commercial impact[edit]

Performing the choreography during "Vogue", with the stage revealing numerous magazine covers

Madonna was not paid for the show, like previous performers. Zack O'Malley Greenburg from Forbes explained that "Typically, the entertainers for the Super Bowl do not get a cash payment... This is the kind of exposure that entertainers would give their right arm for, they could do 20 Leno and Letterman appearances and still not reach that [kind of] audience." He further analyzed that with 30-second commercial spots commanding over $3 million apiece, the 12 minutes of free television exposure had a total value of $84 million for Madonna's multiple enterprises coming to market at the time of the event. Although the singer did not get paid, she also did not have to pay for their accommodation, travels, backup dancers and stage setup. Other opportunities enlisted included the free advertising and publicity. Greenburg concluded by saying that "Given all these benefits, playing the Super Bowl halftime show for free is more than worth the trouble. In fact, it's incredibly lucrative–and such a good deal for artists that some suspect a major change might be on the horizon."[50]

Following its airing, Madonna's half time performance broke the record as the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show in history, garnering 114 million viewers. The number was higher than the game itself, which acquired 111.3 million viewers according to Nielsen ratings.[51] It scored a 47.4 household rating, and in the adults 18-49 demographic, it achieved a 41.5 rating, versus the game average of 40.5. Reuters noted that from time to time the game average had peaked from 9:30 to 9:58 ET, a half-hour that scored a 50.7 household rating/72 share, and 117.7 million total viewers.[52] The record was later beaten by Bruno Mars in 2014 (115 million) and Katy Perry in 2015 (118 million).[53] Madonna also set a new record as the most tweeted about subject on the social network Twitter with 10,245 posts per second and was the most-searched term on Google during the event.[54][55] She averaged at 8,000 tweets per second (TPS) for five minutes. Less than one-third of the tweets were negative, 59% were positive and 11% were neutral, as revealed by Mark Ghuneim, CEO of Wired, on his Twitter account. According to Billboard, the day after the performance, people continued discussing on the economic impact of the show as well as its rating.[56][57]

The show's maximum impact was on Madonna's music, with Keith Caulfield from Billboard reporting that around 50,000 pre-orders for Madonna's 12th studio album, MDNA, were placed within three days of its availability on the iTunes Store. The same week, "Give Me All Your Luvin'" sold 115,000 digital downloads while her catalog of older albums saw a 410% surge in sales (going from 5,000 to 26,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan). A full week after the Super Bowl, "Give Me All Your Luvin'" sold a further 165,000 digital downloads (up by 44%), while her other songs sold a combined 166,000 copies (up from 94,000 of the previous week).[58] "Give Me All Your Luvin'" reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, becoming Madonna's 38th top-ten hit and extending her record as the artist with the most top-ten singles on the chart.[59] Madonna's back catalog of albums also got a sales boost due to sales pricing and publicity generated by the single and the performance. Billboard estimated that her top 10 digital sellers showed a collected increase of over 1,700%.[60] Her biggest selling album was the 2009 greatest hits, Celebration, which sold 16,000 copies (up 1,341%) and re-entered the Billboard 200 albums chart.[61] The following week of the Super Bowl, Celebration descended 105 spots on the Billboard 200 to number 157, with sales going down to 4,000 copies. "Give Me All Your Luvin'" also moved down to number 39 on the Hot 100, with sales going down by 58% to 69,000 copies.[62] The show's impact was evident on slacklining, with The New York Times reporting that previously, "[Andy Lewis] and his sport had never appeared before an audience like the one commanded by Madonna at halftime of the Super Bowl". According to Frankie Najera, a professional slackliner, "That was by far the biggest thing that has happened for the sport".[63]

M.I.A. controversy[edit]

Madonna dancing with pom-poms during "Give Me All Your Luvin'". M.I.A. (seen in the front) showed her middle finger to the camera near the end of her verse.

The performance gained widespread attention from the media after M.I.A. extended her middle finger to the camera near the end of her verse in "Give Me All Your Luvn'" instead of singing the word "shit".[64][65] Media blamed M.I.A. and compared the incident to Jackson's wardrobe malfunction in 2003. People said, "Call it a finger malfunction? Madonna was supposed to be the center of attention during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday, but the Queen of Pop was upstaged by her collaborator M.I.A., who flipped off the camera at one point during the performance, prompting swift apologies from the NFL and NBC."[66][67][68] Madonna herself expressed her disappointment during an interview with host Ryan Seacrest on his talk show, On Air with Ryan Seacrest. She felt that it was a "teenager... irrelevant thing" for M.I.A. to do during the show, since it was "out of place" at a show characterized by "such a feeling of love and good energy and positivism".[69] She added, "I was really surprised. I didn't know anything about it. I wasn't happy about it. I understand it's punk rock and everything, but to me there was such a feeling of love and good energy and positivity; it seemed negative."[70]

Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL said, "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers. The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show. There was a failure in NBC's delay system. The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans." McCarthy also clarified that the gesture was not revealed during rehearsals, M.I.A. improvised it on stage.[71] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received 222 complaints due to the rapper's finger gesture, due to which Rolling Stone reported that they might try to "punish" NFL and NBC although apologies had been issued already. Any fine imposed on the channel would have to be paid by M.I.A., since the rapper signed a contract with the NFL in which she agreed to indemnify the NFL for any money it may be forced to pay for potential FCC fines.[72] A year later it was reported that the NFL claimed $1.5 million from the rapper for "breach of her contract and flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl." NFL lawyers wanted the judge to push for against M.I.A. and make her liable for the gesture and the complaints. The rapper's lawyer, Howard King, filed against NFL saying that their claim was "hilarious in light of the weekly felonies committed by its stars". M.I.A. enlisted the help of her fans to document objectionable actions by the NFL, which would help refute any claims of reputation damaged from the league.[73]

In September 2013 M.I.A. released a video statement regarding the lawsuit. In her statement the rapper said, "They're basically [saying] it's OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female, than to display empowerment, female empowerment, through being punk rock. That's what it boils down to, and I'm being sued for it."[74] Rolling Stone reported in March 2014 that the NFL added another $15 million in their arbitration claim, making it a total of $16.6 million against the rapper. She revealed in her Twitter account that the NFL allegedly wanted a portion of her income in their claim, which M.I.A. said lacked "any basis in law, fact, or logic". Her response included blaming NBC for their inability in blurring out the gesture during live telecast and "dereliction".[75] She tweeted Madonna asking to borrow $16 million, though later deleted the tweet.[76] In August 2014, ESPN reported that the NFL had reached a confidential agreement with M.I.A. over the matter. Neither King nor the NFL provided any further details.[77]

Set list[edit]

  1. "Vogue"
  2. "Music" (featuring LMFAO, contains elements of "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know It")
  3. "Give Me All Your Luvin'" (featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.)
  4. "Open Your Heart/Express Yourself" (featuring CeeLo Green, the Avon High School Drumline, the Center Grove High School Drumline, the Fishers High School Drumline and the Franklin Central High School Drumline)
  5. "Like a Prayer" (featuring CeeLo Green and a choir of 200 local Indianapolis singers)

Source for the set list performed at the show.[78]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Hamish Hamilton – director
  • Madonna – performer
  • Maya Arulpragasam – performer (as M.I.A.)
  • Sofia Boutella – dancer
  • Darren Lee Cupp – gladiator
  • CeeLo Green – performer
  • Andy Lewis – slackliner
  • LMFAO – performers
  • Nicki Minaj – performer
  • Brahim Zaibat – dancer
  • Ricky Kirshner – executive producer
  • Bruce Rodgers – production
  • Anthony Bishop – art direction
  • Douglas Cook – art direction
  • Shelley Rodgers – art direction
  • Bea Akerlund – costumes
  • Rob Paine – executive in charge of production
  • Lindsey Breslauer – assistant art director
  • Robert T. Barnhart – lighting director
  • Kevin French – Jib camera operator
  • David Grill – lighting director
  • Alex Gurdon – lighting designer
  • Jay Kulick – camera operator
  • Michael Owen – lighting director
  • Matt Beckner – talent manager
  • Julia Blanford – production assistant
  • Rob Crawford – audience producer
  • Josh Hughes – production assistant
  • Jamie King – creative director / show director
  • Eric Mentis – production assistant
  • Troy Mosley – field choreographer
  • Angelo Ruzzo – production coordinator
  • Rod Wardell – technical director

Credits and personnel adapted from the halftime show's name reel.[78]


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External links[edit]