Ever since Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl had shocked game viewers doing spit-takes into their buffalo wings, half-time performances have been kneejerk-reactionary, sedate affairs, mostly by graying male rockers (McCartney, the Stones, Springsteen, Petty) who were pretty unlikely to have Justin Timberlake rip off their clothes mid-performance. So news that the queen of shock-pop, Madonna, would be playing the 2012 Super Bowl--accompanied by the always outrageous Nikki Minaj and the often politically radical M.I.A., yet--has had everyone wondering what to expect. Just how far will Madonna go on Sunday?
Well, clues about Madge's Super Bowl spectacle can be gleaned from her just-premiered video for her new single with Minaj and M.I.A., "Gimme All Your Luvin'," which in a bit of genius (if obvious) synergy features a football theme. (Madonna is nothing if not a savvy marketeer.) And if the video is any representation of Madonna's upcoming half-time show, it looks like concerned parents won't have to shoo their impressionable kids out of the living room on Super Bowl Sunday. By Madonna standards, at least, the video is surprisingly tame.
The clip kicks off with Nicki and M.I.A. dressed like cheerleaders straight out of Toni Basil's old '80s "Mickey" video, tirelessly cheering Madonna on, and then Madonna spends much of the video being carried victory-style atop the padded shoulders of some very adoring footballers. And she even does a little victory dance at the end.
On the non-sporty side of things, there's also a sultry interlude in which Madonna and her two sidekicks dress up like Marilyn Monroe--a clear homage to Madge's "Vogue" era, with a bit of white lace to evoke her 2003 VMAs performance with her former sidekicks Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera--although these girls keep it classy for the most part. (The only same-sex kissing on display is some pantomine smooching between two Jabbazwockeez-masked backup dancers, unlike that infamous VMAs number.)
Yes, Madonna does rock a pair of hotpants and leopard-print bra (what 53-year-old woman wouldn't walk around in a get-up like that, if she still had a fit physique like Madonna's?), but the "Gimme" video is more adorable--usually an adjective NOT associated with Madonna--than overtly, crassly sexy. But don't be disappointed--Madonna looks fantastic, the catchy song is a total winner, and it'll probably be an amazing sight when an entire stadium of football fans join in the "L-U-V...Madonna!" half-time chant this Sunday afternoon. Madonna's still got game after all these years.