Where does the the Madonna Super Bowl half time show rank with the competition? I'd put it above the Black Eyed Peas and The Who, below Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, and not even close to Prince, the clear gold standard of recent years.
The Material Mum started out pretending she was Cleopatra with a phalanx of faux-Roman dancers on "Vogue," then moved into her fabulous electro-pop hit "Music," with those two hairy dudes from LMFAO acting as helpmates.
Next was the new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'," with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. chanting their role model / employer's name. Minaj's rapid-fire rap gave the ultra-choreographed performance a welcome burst of energy, and agit-popstress M.I.A. was clearly prepared for the criticism that participating in such a mainstream extravaganza might gain her grief with her indie fanbase. Her strategy: Flipping the entire world the bird on television, with NBC techies failing in their attempt to scramble her one raised digit.
Was that the most interesting thing that happened during the entire performance, during which it never appeared that Madonna was doing her own singing? Probably. Next, Cee-Lo Green came on for snippets of "Open Your Heart" and "Express Yourself," followed by the de rigeur "Like A Prayer" singalong, with the gospel gowns worn by both Madonna and Cee Lo as much of a staging cliche as the marching band that accompanied "Vogue."