"What you lookin' at?" Epic Egyptian pageantry. Gold galore. Soldiers by the score. An entrance befitting of - and evoking - Cleopatra, set to the instantly recognizable strains of "Vogue", and the love affair began again. Between Madonna and America, that is. Remixed for 2012. It has been a tumultuous and trying relationship, at times, but, at heart, Madonna represents the ultimate American dream of making a superstar of one's self - Michigan to Milan; pop starlet to mega-mogul; cheerleader to icon. Madonna's career has been up and down and she has certainly seen it all in her half century on this planet, but, last night, she showed the world all she was worth. And more. Throwback and cutting edge, some avant garde choreography and even a few stumbles on that indescribable, but nevertheless impressive, field-spanning LCD set - she rocked the stadium. Then, in a spectacular column of smoke, she vanished. A ghost. Yes, indeed, Madonna made magic out of her Super Bowl main-stage chance to strut - and lip-sync - for all she is worth, and, gosh darn it, you gotta give it up for the Material girl. In carrying off something that could have been chaotically cacophonous and gruesomely calculated - and, more than not, it usually is in this instance on the international stage; good intentions, hype and Nipple-gate notwithstanding - it came off as a genuine bid to do the biggest, best and most theatrical presentation on the Super Bowl yet - and, in that regard, Madonna was MVP. MDNA is the title of her new album - her 12th - and the lead single, "Give Me All Your Luvin'" - the first of a purported eighteen tracks - was given a spirited airing with the helpful aid of Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.. LMFAO and Cee-Lo Green guested, as well, but Madonna made her moment count in a truly memorable and thrilling way as the showwoman of showwomen. "Vogue" through "Music" to "Open Your Heart" to the grand, million candlelit finale featuring the stirring "Like A Prayer", Madonna towed the line, but never crossed it to the detriment of the overall presentation - which is so often what happens to boundary-pushing pop artists such as herself; she calls the shots, as she always does, and it came off as 100% Madonna, for better and best. While she may have had her crass moments over the course of her incredible career, Madonna's Super Bowl performance was all a fan or a viewer could ask for as far as cutting-edge spectacle and stage effects go - plus, those tunes are some of the most classic pop songs of the last century. Madonna managed to move from ancient Egyptian to futuristic alien with aplomp and never break a sweat. A bit robotic, sure. Was she nervous? Obviously. But, she made it work - and work it she did. Best Super Bowl Half-Time Show ever? Best Super Bowl Half-Time Show Ever. Madonna shows us all how it's done - lip-synced or not. Music really does bring the people together - especially over Madonna.
Pat Cerasaro is a playwright and screenwriter currently in pre-production on his first feature film.|