Pulled into the arena by gladiators, clad in the gleaming gold headdress of an ancient Egyptian-Greco-Roman empress, 53-year-old Madonna strutted, kicked, squat-thrusted and yogilates-cized her way through an epic halftime performance at the Super Bowl last night. Her Madgesty was mostly covered up — from ankle to knee, knuckle to elbow — and she wasn't always singing live (anyone who's seen her on tour knows that's par for the course) — but she was impressively kinetic, dominating the stage even as the dancers in togas morphed into dancers in Adidas track suits. The over-produced spectacle managed to blend lyres, hieroglyphs, cheerleaders, Vogue, voguing, a marching band and a choir. After a guest appearance by LMFAO (wearing gaudy animal print and Chuck Taylors rigged to look like gladiator sandals), Madonna was joined by Nicki Minaj and MIA, and later, Cee-Lo. One could take issue with the fact that the people of color were side-accessories to the white woman in the middle, but then again, perhaps that was just a mirror of football itself, in which most of the players are black but about 95% of quarterbacks are white. Still, if the whole point was to present a ridiculous, elaborate, eye-popping entertainment experience for football fans — and lure in curious non-football-watching folks (like yours truly), then MDNA's endeavor was a success. World peace.
One could take issue with the fact that the people of color were side-accessories to the white woman in the middle
I think this is a somewhat trollish thing to insinuate. I get the symbolism but I don't think it's accurate of Madonna's intent and diminishes the music she's made with previous guest artists. Why should she play second fiddle to Nicki Minaj and MIA? If either of these ladies manages to have a career in 30 years' time, Madonna can zip out on her leopard-print motorised scooter and lip sync for them as an "accessory". Until then, a little respect is due. Madonna's busted a few boundaries during the course of her career.