Madonna's Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show: How Did She Do? Take Our Poll!

After 2011’s “Black-Eyed Peas in Christmas Lights” Extravaganza, this year’s Super Bowl halftime show had nowhere to go but up. Or did it?

For Super Bowl XLVI, pop music’s longest-reigning provocateur, Madonna, took over as master of ceremonies, and if I’m being honest, the results were electrifying. I’m not sure how much of the singing was live, but the choreography and spectacle of it all were stellar, and yoga’s never had a better champion.

Her Madgesty entered via gladiator-drawn chariot to the opening snaps of “Vogue,” wearing a gold sequined robe that she quickly shed in favor of a black gladiatrix miniskirt, thigh-high boots, and gold headdress. (Leave it to Madonna to break the nation’s football-fueled reverie with a ditty about a style of dance popularized in gay club culture.)

After some energetic posing and a danceoff with a futuristic Cupid type, Madonna easily segued into one of her all-time greatest singles, “Music,” bouncing up and down a set of makeshift bleachers flanked by b-boys in Adidas tracksuits. There was a weird interlude where NBC’s camera crew threatened to upstage the main act by lingering on an Afro-sporting foolio doing a jig on a tightrope, but Madonna threw in a series of rapid-fire squats on a rising platform that returned the attention to where it belonged.

The next 30 seconds or so went to a collaboration (and some awkward calisthenics) with LMFAO that had too much “Party Rock,” and not enough “Sexy and I Know It,” but was nevertheless entertaining. Yet it was all more or less a bridge to the Material Girl’s saucy new single “Give Me All Your Lovin’,” complete with cheerleading costumes, pom-poms, a drumline, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and some mesmerizing leg-ography. The message seemed to be clear: Radio needs more fiftysomething fierceness. Respeck. Booyakasha.

The set ended with the appearance of Cee Lo Green, tiny snippets of “Open Your Heart” and (swoon) “Express Yourself,” and then the sounds of a Gospel chorus leading into “Like a Prayer.” (Breathe easy, FCC hotline: No religious statues were used sacrilegiously in the making of this halftime show.) Madonna and the Voice mentor were lifted skyward on a platform as they delivered the rousing anthem while clad in black sequined choir robes, and suddenly a map of the world (or a Risk boardgame) lit up on the field below them. Madge took one last swing at the chorus — actually singing live (and well), I believe — and then was swallowed whole by Lost‘s Smoke Monster, while the phrase “World Peace” appeared on the ground of the stadium.

All in all, I’d say this is the happiest and least self-important Madonna we’ve seen in a decade or two, and while there were definitely portions of this stadium performance that were lipsycned (or aided by a backing track), I’d still say the old gal delivered the kind of spectacular spectacular that could be studied by future generations in How to Rock a Halftime Show 101. Experience, 1; youth, 0. Then again, this could just be the rantings of a guy who still owns Madonna’s self-titled debut on casette tape.

What about you? Re-watch her performance, take our poll, then hit the comments and expand on your thoughts!

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  1. Jason says:

    why did nbc block out something at the end of the show?

  2. X says:

    She wasn’t lip syncing just because she sounded great. Obviously you haven’t seen her live since 1990.

  3. Kariann Hart says:

    What a terrific half-time show! Madonna rocks! Guest performers added the extra spice. Very classy performance – no complaints!

  4. Rose says:

    Madonna’s show was good, but lacked the excitement and energy that Madonna is known for. She played it safe, which was a good idea for a family show. But the lipsyncing was too obvious.

  5. Heather says:

    She did great! Very entertaining!

  6. Nancy Isola says:

    I have 0 tolerance for lip-syncing. It’s supposed to be a live show. they go through all the other bull, but don’t not singing live. Why bother?

  7. Andree says:

    Am I the only person who saw Madonna take a big stumble? It was at the beginning when she was in the back of the bleachers. In any case, I could no more do all those moves myself, that’s for sure!

    • Letty says:

      I know! I was thinking I was the only one who saw that! How about when she tried to stand from like a kneeling position but couldn’t and then had to hoist herself up with her arm? I’m just saying…. She’s not moving like she used to so maybe she shouldn’t try those moves!

  8. jj says:

    Thought it was great. Don’t see how you could be bored, unless you had made up your mind to be before it started.

  9. micki says:

    Embarrassing. She is way past the cheerleading window. The best thing Madonna could have done was her early songs with dance. This was as someone else said just a light show.

  10. Denise says:

    I’m NOT a big fan of Madonna,but Ithought she ROCKED IT! Not bad for a 53 yr old & WAY better than last years BEPs

  11. brainfreeze says:

    I never expected anything but lip syncing so I can’t say I’m disappointed or surprised. The choreography may have been a bit too ambitious. Her moves looked slow and she appeared to be unsure of her footing at times. Wearing mile high heels on a moving stage while performing gymnastics moves can’t be easy. Reminds me of figure skating … do you land the safe and smooth looking double axel or go for broke and end up with a triple butt-plant?

  12. jeni says:

    Bon Jovi plays in football stadiums and jumps around and runs around.. a lot… doesn’t lip sync. Kiss those excuses bye bye.

  13. DBL says:

    It was totally AWESOME and most people that would think otherwise are the people who like gaga or people who would rather see a classic rock performer up there.

  14. alyssa says:

    Awful, just awful. I was so bored. The dancers around her were fantastic, but all she was doing was lip syncing and doing her little, squat down and stand back up dance.
    The guests were terrible too. LMFAO??? Nicki Minaj??? Really? I decided to give her a chance today and regretted it.

  15. Jc says:

    I witnessed the half time show here live At the Super Bowl. It was very good. I m not sitting that close and not that far.
    Who cares about the lip Syncing. You can see her mouth. Her movement and the set transitions were great.

  16. Andrew says:

    Madonna did awesome. She is 50 and was eunning around that stage looking hot…stellar performance

  17. 80's girl says:

    Okay I noticed some people were hating but Maddonna ROCKED. She’s in great shape and anyone who cuts her down is either senseless teenagers or extremely jealous people with no looks. What will you look like at that age and further, what would you have accomplished? She ROCKED it.

  18. Pam & Hannah says:

    awesome show very impressive madonna was dressed appropriate 4 superbowl

  19. denis says:

    I love that show. She sang live when it was possible but in a superbowl halftime it’s better to lipsync because the sound is not good in stadium. Great performance

  20. Johnnytest says:

    Amazingly entertaining and the technical effort was show stopping. A+, Madge!

  21. Brett Knight says:

    Madge was incredible! Having seen every one of her concerts live and within the first 5 rows, I can say she never lip sinks. Clearly, with only minutes to set up her incredible and complicated stage, also with the tough acoustics of a football stadium, I have no problem with her synching. This WASN’T a music concert- this was the Super Bowl Half-Tine. Visually stunning performance! Nothing beats the entry (like Elizabeth Taylor’s entrance in Cleopatra). Well done Madge!

  22. Sue says:


  23. Aj says:

    A halftime worth the wait and amazing show.

  24. littlelz says:

    I thought madonna had a great show but u could totally tell she was lip sinking but she is 53

  25. Scot says:

    AWESOME show. Best half time show I can remember in a long time. Was basic, Did some of her classics, got to perform her new single, was classy, tasteful and an overall entertaining presentation. I give it a 9

  26. sherry says:

    Madonna looked and sounded awesome! Spectacular half time show.

  27. Jessica says:

    She brought it. None of this whining from you please. It was fantastic. Stop bitching.

  28. Suz says:

    Didn’t anybody see Madonna faltering when she first stepped onto the bleachers? That, and her overall movements seemed sluggish and unpolished. I was expecting more from her–she wasn’t even synched to the prerecorded music.

  29. If you didn’t like that then you should sit in a windowless padded room with the lights out during halftime because you like nothing.

  30. Nuno says:

    The most amazing Half-Time Show EVER! It was truly AMAZING!

  31. Rhashauna Brathwaite says:

    Madonna did her thing as always she was awesome.

  32. Anthony says:

    Not a Madonna fan! But that was very entertaining. Amazing visuals. Job done!

  33. mike says:

    Gorgeous halftime show. Madonna is the queen. There are no doubts about that

  34. Maria Z says:

    Plain and simple…she sucked, the show sucked, she had no business being there!! Kept cringing cause she’s so old and cannot move…just wish they would’ve hurried up and put us out of our misery!!

  35. Keith tackett says:

    My god madonna was awesome!!! I have seen her in concert she is awesome!!! I am so hyped up after that i will have to take some pills and drink a bottle of vodka to wind down.

  36. Dave says:

    Effin awesome!!!

  37. Kathy godin says:

    Enjoyed the show ! Being entertained is what it’s all about. Thumbs down to those that insist on being negative

  38. Ryan says:

    I thought the half time show was lively. I’m not a Madonna fan. However, for someone as old as she is, she’s hot and the show was hot! I know there was some lip synching, and I know that certain members of society think that Madonna can do no wrong. I wasn’t really impressed with her new song; it was a bit of a throw back to “Hey Mickey” and an 80’s sound, a bit outdated. But you know, the show was spectacular, and that’s what Madonna impressively gave us.

  39. thomas says:

    Some people forget that this is not a little concert with 10 000 person in the audience but 300 000 000 behind their tv so she can’t sing live and taking care that the show is great. I love the performance. I’m a new Madonna’s fan

  40. Avale says:

    Agreed. This performance was true Americana, paid amazing homage to all the trappings of high school and college football by a true American icon. Unlike the PEAS, every bit of glitz was 100% relevant to the greatest game ever played, from the gladiators of old to the gospel of the south to the iconic bleachers. Proud to be an American !

  41. Leah says:

    She wasnt moving that much! Was she? Totally looks different with her facelift (looks good though) than the 80 Madonna i know.(LOOKING LIKE BRIT SP)

  42. Guy says:

    Madonna does NOT lip sync. The majority of you who say that OBVIOUSLY have never seen her live in concert.
    Fact is…she will always be Pop Icon #1 no matter what. No one has held it down like her and NO one ever will.

  43. Adub says:

    Madonna needed a lift to get onto that bench!

  44. Deborah says:

    Madonna was GREAT, I loved her performance. I also think she was singing live. This lady is super fit, fitter than most people half her age probably that are posting about her.. She can sing live and dance..I know, I have been to her concerts.

  45. Dave says:

    one word FANTASTIC!!!!!

  46. CJ says:

    Any body else think she was pretty lame at some of the dance moves. Seemed to much for her to me.

  47. Annabelle says:

    Geez people…lip syncing is fine when someone is performing and moving all over the place!!! Would you rather just see someone standing in one place, stiff and lifeless – or would you rather be ENTERTAINED??? I accept lip syncing as a necessity so the performance isn’t ho-hum…lots of the parts she did do LIVE singing, I’d like to see you guys try dancing and singing good – it just doesn’t work that way…anyone who tells you different is lying!!!!!

  48. Feather says:

    The best part show was the end when someone FLUSHED her down the toilet! The whole thing SUCKED. Big waste of my time watching it.

  49. Hatie123 says:

    Personally, I think Madonna had one of the best halftime shows in years. So what if she lip synced some. It is very had to hear in a place like that. All though I don’t think she did at all. She might be over 50 on paper but you couldn’t by looking or listening to her. She kicks ass!!!!!!

  50. sara says:

    I liked it. I could of not done it. For once she had on a good outfit and not making. It a grinding thing. Like. A lot of perfomers do. YOU GO GIRL