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  • Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show

The biggest story to come out of last night’s Super Bowl was this: In a repeat of their historic 2008 victory, the New York Giants won a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the favored New England Patriots, with the Patriots botching their last-minute touchdown attempt. The second-most-important story was this: During her short appearance at Madonna’s halftime show, M.I.A. slyly flipped off the camera in a way that wasn’t immediately apparent to most of the people watching the show. Nice job, M.I.A.

As Entertainment Weekly points out, NBC and the NFL have already put out statements apologizing for the transgression and blaming each other. NBC’s statement calls the bird-flip a “spontaneous gesture,” but it came during a performance in which every backup-dancer hair-flip was meticulously and expensively planned-out. Either M.I.A. knew exactly what she was doing, or Madonna’s choreographers did.

As for the halftime show itself, opinion, at least on my Twitter feed, was pretty divided. The whole thing was certainly garish and ridiculous, and it did include a guest appearance from LMFAO, but I’d say it was the best of these Super Bowl entertainments since Prince did the honors a few years back. Madonna had promised to make the show as gay as she could, and she really made good on that claim. The Roman Empire-themed spectacle, with its madly vogueing backup dancers, made for some truly spectacular self-conscious camp. And besides the not-great comeback single “Give Me All Your Luvin’” (which featured that M.I.A. bird-flip and a quick Nicki Minaj verse), the setlist was bulletproof: “Vogue,” “Music,” tiny bits of “Open Your Heart” and “Express Yourself,” and a version of “Like A Prayer” that involved a gospel choir and NBC-synergy guest Cee Lo. Madonna herself, who almost certainly did not sing a note, looked pretty good; her death-defying backup dancers looked fantastic. And if she was trolling the NFL audience by making this thing so campy, she did a remarkable job. The only time I groaned was the end of the show, when the giant TV screen she was using as a stage erupted into the glittery words “world peace.”

Here’s the full halftime show:

And here’s that short, attention-grabbing M.I.A. moment, which will dominate almost every article you read about M.I.A. for the next few years:

(via Pitchfork)

Comments (41)
  1. Wow. Take that America.

  2. I don’t know if it was because of my expectations set by last year, but I thought it was great.

  3. After releasing a video at the same times ( and I could say it outshines) with Madonna, then she upstage Madonna at what it should be her show , lot RESPECT for M.I.A

  4. “You know what really grinds my gears? YOU, America!”

  5. If i was getting paid to shake golden pompoms in a tutu or whatever I’d probably give the finger too. Fuck yeah M.I.A.

    • I’ve liked MIA’s music since the get-go but she’s really revealed how full of shit she is. Anyone that thinks this was cool for “Sticking it to the man” or “upstaging madonna” or saying “fuck you, america” are all clowns.
      MIA leapfrogs the shark by being in this shit song to begin with (and what does she even do in it? sing for 3 seconds?)…it’s basically Madonna saying “hmm, i could use a couple of relevant female singers in my upcoming single so that i look hip. I’ll take Nicki Minaj because she’s hot on the charts right now and i’ll take MIA because she’s got indie cred.” Then, she performs said shit single on the most commercialized and dumbed-down TV performance of the year; the Super Bowl half time show. And then she thinks she’s badass by flipping the bird during the year’s most prime time TV placement…wow, she’s such a rebel. Let’s see how cool she thinks that move is when the NFL/NBC passes their FCC fine on to her. Maybe she;ll have ot dig into her husband’s passed’down corporate fortune to pay for it.
      what a classless charlatan brat.

  6. LMFAO, not LFMAO. You have the , um, “my” in the wrong place.


  8. Sweet baby Jesus..

  9. M.I.A. is the coolest. That’s all I got t’say…

  10. How is LMFAO’s 15 minutes not up yet?

    • They became a 100x more interesting when I found out that they were both related to Berry Gordy (son and grandson), and that one of the members is 36. Also seriously, LMFAO is a Uncle/Nephew duo, how fucking strange is that.

  11. The biggest take away for me from the SB half-time show was that Madonna still looks really good as long as she is far away and her arms are covered up.

  12. I feel like she’s compensating for being in the spot she’s in? Like, her initial fanbase loved her because she was rebellious and gave zero fucks, and in doing this performance it’s like she’s worried she’ll “sell out” if she doesn’t do something drastic and rebellious. Didn’t bother me, though. LMFAO did.

  13. Wow, I still can’t believe she did that. The last thing you’d expect a political radical from Sri Lanka to during the Superbowl Halftime Show in front of literally EVERY American, is to say “Fuck You.”

  14. Boy she really stuck it to everyone. After this bold, anti-establishment statement, I wonder how long she took to cash her massive check from the corporate sponsers of the Super Bowl. Also does she know that in America we will allow gruesome violence and borderline profanity on primetime TV, but people (and the Supreme Court) think their children will turn into nymphomaniac anarchists if they see a boob of half an ass on TV. By this measure, the “wardrobe malfunction” was way more subversive.

  15. She pulls the same move in the video for that song, so in that regard she’s consistent.

  16. Is this the part where I’m supposed to be offended by the middle finger? Nah

  17. Yeah, the whole thing was really just shameless attention grabbing. I mean, you’re already on the Super Bowl halftime show with Madonna (which I’m not knocking, I really enjoyed it), so come on, it’s kinda stupid to pretend to be anti here… especially with a middle finger and cursing. Wooo.

    Also, can we mention how fabulous Cee Lo’s sequined robe was? Because it was pretty fabulous.

  18. I suppose that salvages her “badass” cred while she performs at the most corporate televised event in America. What will her next act of rebellion be? Performing at a Mitt Romney fundraiser wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt?


  20. I hope she managed to DVR her performance so she can check it out later on her 80″ flatscreen with surround sound audio and maids bringing her mixed drinks. It would be like reliving the experience except in the comfort of her own Brentwood bubble.

  21. I still don’t see it.

  22. M.I.A. flicking off the camera was great because I feel like you had Madonna trying to hold onto her place as the queen of pop with all the costumes and visuals and then M.I.A. saying to herself, “Wait, I actually don’t give a fuck about this at all” and then letting everyone know it. Just a great way to shit on pop music, the FCC, and America. Kudos.

  23. whoa, m.i.a. must’ve gotten the same fortune cookie i got last week!!!

    “the bird flip is always a good way to keep your artistic cred if you’re synchronized pom pom dancing with madonna and nicki minaj at the super bowl”

  24. Nobody would have even known M.I.A. had taken part in the halftime show had she not given the middle finger. Good for her. It takes a lot of balls to flip off millions of people while voluntarily participating in something that is considered less artistically relevant than a VMA performance. Welcome back to relevancy M.I.A. It’s sad that it took something stupid like that to get you there. It’s bad enough that she agreed to be in a show that featured LMFAO. She was a willing participant. She knew how bad it was going to be.

  25. What did they expect? You hire trash, you get trash. Am I offended? No. Am I shocked? No. Just more little statements from little minds. Plus the enjoyment of getting flipped off followed by a statement of world peace is downright humorous.

  26. from an objective viewpoint, i can see putting Madonna together with Nicki Minaj. makes sense, i guess. But adding M.I.A. just doesn’t fit. She seems so out of place.

  27. Ah, so that explains why my formerly righteous neighbor kid was humping my trash can this morning.

  28. Very few people would have even known this happened if the media hadn’t jumped on it like it was Janet Jackson’s breast. (which was way more offensive, but also hardly noticeable….until it was dissected)

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