In the lead-up to Super Bowl XLVI, many worried that Madonna wasn't the ideal candidate to perform at halftime. After all, her audience, which is dominated by women and gay men, differs wildly from that of the NFL and some wondered if that would mean less eye balls would tune in for the Queen of Pop's 12-minute halftime spectacle.
Well, it appears to have had the opposite effect, actually, pulling in viewers who might not otherwise have watched the game and averaging a higher rating than the Super Bowl itself. According to SB Nation, the game averaged an impressive 47.8 rating in the U.S. while Madonna's halftime performance nabbed a 48.3. The game fell only slightly behind last year's record setter, which generated a 47.9 rating, translating to about 111 million viewers, making it the highest-rated Super Bowl in history.
Madonna's performance proved a bigger draw than the Black Eyed Peas last year, pulling ahead of BEP by a full percent in the ratings and even bested Bruce Springsteen's halftime show by a whopping 20 percent (the Boss earned a 40.2 rating).
Though this year's game was slightly off the all-time mark, the Washington Post notes that "around the time M.I.A. was flipping off America during Madonna’s halftime show, about 48 percent of the country’s TV homes were tuned in."
As an unabashed Madonna fan, I'm pleased that so many people gave the Queen of Pop a chance. Despite digs that she may have been lip-synching – which, yeah, there was a bit of that, but I think it was part of a backing track balancing act to compensate during moments of complicated choreography and elaborate production, as "Like a Prayer" seemed as live as could be – reviews of the performance have alternated from positive to all-out raves.
"It's Madonna Louise Ciccone's world, we're just living in it," Billboard raved of the performance, which saw Madge joining forces with Cirque du Soleil, her longtime choreographer/creative director Jamie King and multimedia artists from Moment Factory to "imagine" the spectacular show. Entertainment Weekly was even more enthusiastic about the show, writing, "Madonna gave a joyous, unironic, openhearted [performance]. She deployed guest stars including Cee Lo Green, Nicki Minaj, and M.I.A., but they never stole her glowing spotlight. From her entrance hoisted aloft by Roman-soldier dancers to the massed choir that sent her off, she was both in full command and full of generosity toward her massive audience."
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