It has been nearly 30 years since a 26 year old Madonna donned a combination wedding dress/bustier for the very first MTV Video Music Awards, carefully scooted herself down and off a gigantic, three-tiered wedding cake, and began crawling, cooing, suggesting, writhing, leaping and spinning across the stage, dry-humping her bridal veil to the horror, delight, shock and indignation of the varied 1984 television-viewing world.
It was a performance which ended notably with the Material Girl sprawled out, white lace garter belt and pantie exposed handsomely. Like a Virgin. Indeed.
It was a big moment in the history of television, as it would turn out. Another big moment came twenty years later, on a wild, sexy night in Houston during the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show
when Justin Timberlake ripped a piece of clothing from Janet Jackson's corset, exposing a nipple-shielded breast to the horror, delight, shock, indignation, and apathy of the varied 2004 television-viewing world.
That particular evening ended with a 41-yard field goal from the leg of Adam Vinatieri with four seconds left in the game to give the New England Patriots a 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers, as well as a mob of angry Americans and other citizens of the world flooding the phone lines and mailboxes of CBS, the NFL, MTV, and the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) demanding their pound of flesh and certainty of cessations of any nearly-bare breast being forced upon the eyes of the world's viewing innocents ever again.
Since the so-called 'wardrobe malfunction' of 2004, the NFL has largely taken a break from sexy halftime shows. Appearances by Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and The Who all offered little chance of another nipple-slip fiasco. If there was to be any slipping, it would involve an older gentleman and the cold, hard, hastily-erected stage underfoot.
A definite exception would be the 2007 Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show
featuring Prince, his symbol guitar and a phallic shadow-dance in the pouring rain -- perhaps the most genuinely entertaining halftime show of recent memory, not least of which due to the logistics of all that electricity and all that water and the uneasy possibility of some mass electrocution.
One might also include last year's Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show
, assuming seeing Fergie in bulky, sequenced shoulder-pads husking out 'Sweet Child of Mine' while grinding and draping herself around Slash in his sparkling top hat fits one's notion of sexy. There was certainly no risk of either of Fergie's breasts getting past her glittering fashion tribute to the Legion of Doom
Even had that caused offense in some corner of the world for its brutish sexiness, it surely would have been lost to memory almost immediately as the mind tried to grasp the reason for the dancing box-head figures who made their grand entrance for the finale of the show -- or the strange and perpetual confusion of will.i.am's fascinating headgear.
Which brings us back to Madonna and 2012 and Super Bowl XLVI and the Bridgestone Half Time Show.
Yes sir, the NFL is ready to take a chance on the potentially risque again. Madonna will be the much ado'd intermission at this year's Grand Bread and Circuses Event, for better or worse.
But, which will it be? Is Madonna a wise choice?
It is somewhat surprising this hasn't already happened. She is quite qualified for the job. Madonna's accomplishments are clear enough. According to Wikipedia:
Madonna has sold
more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the world's top-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guinness World Records. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second top-selling female artist in the United States...with 64 million certified albums. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked Madonna at number two, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the Billboard chart.
She also just received a Golden Globe for Best Song, "Masterpiece," which is featured in a movie
she directed and co-wrote, W.E.
. Additionally, she is readying to release a new album MDNA
February 14 on Amazon. Clearly, she is still holding her own in the entertainment industry -- and she has been writing children's books since 2003.
That leaves two other possibilities, to my mind, for one's taking issue with a Madonna Halftime Show this Sunday.
The first and most vocal being opposition on grounds of past or future indecency.
For those opposing her on principle for her past indecencies, or perceived indecencies, depending on one's Moral Barometer, there is little to be said other than no. No. No forever.
But the show will go on, undoubtedly, and Madonna will perform. So, for those concerned of future indecencies, namely during the Bridgestone Halftime Show, the following might prove helpful.
Appearing Monday on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno
, referring to preparing for the Super Bowl, she said, "It is the most nerve-racking thing I have ever done....The Super Bowl is...kind of the holy of holies. It's the sacred show of America...."
While that description may further displease her detractors, some of which have already petitioned the NFL to remove her
from the Big Show, she does understand the space she will be occupying on Sunday in Indianapolis.
Millions are watching. It is ripe for shocking the dog piss out of every family in the civilized world if one so chose, but Madonna is a mother now. She is sensitive to 'inappropriate' behavior. Ahem. Yes.
Besides, she assured a questioning Jay Leno Monday, "For sure no nipples…but I wasn't going to go there. I don't like to repeat myself."
Another good point. Though Madonna has proven herself to be quite the provocateur in years past, there isn't much to see of Madonna that isn't already out there to be seen if one has the lusty notion to look. And, indeed, many have that notion. Madonna's controversial, largely pictorial 1992 coffee-table book Sex
was the number one desired
out-of-print book of 2011.
So, will Madonna the children's book author or Madonna the author of Sex
show up and show off for one of the biggest stages in entertainment?
Here is a spoiler alert, friends, so watch out. The insiders at Wikipedia already have Madonna's set-list
from this year's halftime show, if it is to be believed (as well as the performers and set-lists of every other Super Bowl right back to Super Bowl I). "Like a Virgin" is not on the list. Perhaps the innocents are safe.
Madonna offered further assurance at today's press conference for the Super Bowl halftime show, insisting that it would be "all age
The remaining question is whether or not any NFL fan cares to actually see Madonna perform.
While one can certainly find ripples of discontent here and there, given the old adage that sex sells, it might be that many heterosexual men, which make up the majority of NFL fans, would just assume watch
Madonna than Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney or Prince. Homosexual and female fans are already rejoicing, and the children will love seeing a famous author gyrating before them while explosions of fire lift up through the artificially regulated air at Lucas Oil Stadium.
If one further factors in that Cirque du Soleil
is involved in the production, one may begin to see some promise in this year's halftime show.
Of course, for many, the Super Bowl's halftime show has become such an over-hyped and perpetual disappointment that halftime is the generally accepted period to make one's move to the next party -- or the bathroom if things have gotten weird.
Perhaps the very idea of a musical performer at halftime should be reevaluated. Perhaps a musical performance isn't the proper thing for this space between our Championship Gladiator Battle. Perhaps a Richard Simmons' workout or a Celebrity Steel Cage Fight or a quick reality cooking competition or a wet t-shirt spelling bee with adult women would be more the thing.
It is a moot point for now though, of course. This year, we get Madonna.
So, what awaits the television-viewing world in this Year of the Dragon 2012 when the New York Football Giants and the New England Patriots take a break from mauling each other in Indianapolis this Sunday?
While it is possible that Sunday's Halftime Finale will find Madonna throwing caution and good-taste to the wind, riding high, bare nipples forthright, panting like a road lizard and bellowing, stark-naked atop a thousand tiny mirrors held up by a thousand tiny hands of schoolchildren carrying their favorite Madonna book under a thousand tiny arms, rupturing the eyeballs of innumerable saints, causing flooding in Nebraska and Kansas and Guam, and ushering in the incarnation of the anti-Christ in some not-so-lucky home somewhere out in this ever-shrinking world, chances are we will see an at least fairly responsibly-behaved Material Girl.
That is what Madonna's own mouth has intimated and, unless she is being coy and playing the public and Roger Goodell like a well-tuned fiddle, that is what we should expect.
Neither the stage nor the performer come much bigger. Could this be the year Halftime delivers? We'll see Sunday.
It ought to be a pretty good game, too.
It's Saturday before the Big Game, and things are uneasy. Madonna released a video for her new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" yesterday.
At the time of this writing, over three million people have viewed "Give Me All Your Luvin'," which is impressive. Unimpressively, 13,642 people have already taken the time to give it the downward thumb.
This does not bode well for Sunday's Halftime Show, regardless of it's age-friendliness. Expect pom-poms and third-person chants, possibly infant-modeled-footballs and confusion on the scale of dancing box-head futurists, strobe-light-shoulder-pads and confounding head ware.