Madonna at the Super Bowl?

October 3, 2011
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It’s unconfirmed, but (that’s Super Bowl Nation, FYI) is reporting that Madonna will be the halftime entertainment at Lucas Oil Stadium for the big game in February. A spokesperson for the NFL declined to comment on the report.

My initial reaction: It’s the worst celeb news in Indy since Donald Trump was (mercifully, temporarily) named pace car driver for the Indy 500.

Yes, in the grand scheme of things, the halftime singer isn’t terribly important. Most of us—those who can’t afford the mortgage-payment-sized ticket prices—will be using the halftime show as an opportunity to stretch legs and refresh our salsa bowls at home anyway.

But, still, why bother with Madonna? Haven’t we learned from the Timberlake/Jackson fiasco?

The way I see it, we either end up with a muted, PG Madonna (and who wants that?) or an inappropriate-for-family-viewing Madonna (and, at the risk of repeating, who wants that?).

I’m not saying that we need a flash-in-the-pan like Justin Bieber (please, no).  And Madonna clearly has earned her spot as a music icon--unlike, say, 1997’s inclusion of the lame Blues Brothers half-knock off with Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, and James Belushi. And if the report is correct, kudos, for avoiding the obvious Mellencamp choice. (Yes, I like Mellencamp, but sometimes he seems to get trotted out like Australia brings out Crocodile Dundee)

So is there a better option than Madonna?

Do you have any ideas?

  • Music with Indiana Roots
    Harry Connick, Jr. does Cole Porter
  • My picks
    Oh no, please not Madonna! How about Lady Gaga or Katie Perry? Justin Bieber is too young.
  • Better choices
    Yes, there are so many MUCH better options. Green Day, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers - all would put on a much, much better show than 50+ year old Madonna. This is Indy - we're a Midwest, rock 'n roll town, not glitzy NYC or Hollywood pop. Madonna would be an awful choice. Let the jokes begin.
  • My picks
    At least it is not Florence Henderson who is an embarrassment at every 500 race!
  • Why not?
    Why not Madonna. She is fantastically theatrical and the inspiration to Lady Gaga. The superbowl has been playing it safe with boring acts and washed out rockers. Even though she's aged, she still puts on a great show. Everyone has been very careful since the janet jackson incident so I'm sure she would keep her outfits tame. She's also a great voice for female empowerment and lately, there have been almost all men in the show for years.
  • Tone it down
    Anyone else sick of Super Bowl hype already??!!??
  • Back Home
    How 'bout Jim Nabors!!! But, seriously let's go rock n roll instead of pop. Who cares how others see mellencamp or how he's packaged - he's a hoosier and can put on a good show. I say get the kid from Seymour.
  • The Eagles
    If they would accept, they'd be perfect. PG songs everyone knows, and they appeal to the young and the old.
  • Feinstein
    How about Michael Feinstein? Then Mayor Brainard could have a big after Super Bowl party at the Palladium. Oh brother, I probably just gave the Mayor an idea.
  • The choice is obvious...

  • Train and/or Maroon 5
    I'd say anyone but Madonna (she's so last century!) They put on a concert for the benefit of the State Fair victims. I think they'd be a great choice for Indianapolis Super Bowl. Or maybe Sugarland who we never got to see. Just not Madonna, please!
  • Awesome
    Madonna is fabulous--should be an exciting show!!!
  • It's all about the TV audience
    Geez, the NFL rolls out another fossil act for halftime. But then, having Madonna (aka Lady Gaga's grandmother)perform during the Super Bowl halftime show has nothing to do with being timely. It's all about audience numbers and the TV poobahs are banking on Madonna to keep the Super Bowl's middle-age viewers somewhat entertained and watching an over the hill Detroit girl who now speaks with a British accent sing one of her "hits" from two decades ago.

  • I with FOO
    The foo fighters are an amazing act and show, go for the foo. But hey Johnny Cougar - Tom Petty anyone from around here is good. Lets showcase who we are. I think i read Harry Connick doing Cole Porter - That wording is funny - that is if you read anything about Cole Porter.
  • Rock the 80's
    How about some 80's hair band music? David Lee Roth of Van Halen and Mick Mars of Motley Crue are both from Indiana!
  • John Fogerty for Halftime
    I'd like to see John Fogerty play the halftime show. He has local ties, having met his wife the evening he played IUPUI in 1986. And every generation can jam to Creedence, Centerfield, etc.
  • It's about ratings
    When booking a SuperBowl halftime show, it is about attracting an audience to the most watched 30min in all of television. The act needs to be diverse and attract a wide audience. Madonna is known the world over and will attract the coveted female demographic between 24-48....the ones that do the shopping and the ones who spend the money. I know we are a midwest town that favors country music & our local roots. But our local roots aren't attractive to the target demographic. It's business and not something to argue about. Let's enjoy this moment and focus on putting on the best SuperBowl we can b/c I'll go on record and say that if we do it right, this won't be a one shot deal. Indy stands a good chance of being in the rotation just like the NCAA's!
  • JLo
    I vote for Jeniifer Lopez she's definitely more of a superstar a little younger and appeals to a wider range of audience.
  • JLo
    I vote for Jeniifer Lopez she's definitely more of a superstar a little younger and appeals to a wider range of audience.
  • Come On, Harry...Really?
    The reason Donald Trump was such a horrible choice is because he was blatantly looking at a presidential bid at that time, and he was being disrespectful to our current president. Madonna at the Super Bowl is no where near the same level of disaster. As someone who has seen Madonna in concert, she can easily put on a show at the level of Prince, who is the last act that actually made a good half time show. She's competent, entertaining, and eons away from the image that you have of her in your mind. Might it not be as comfortable as say, The Who or Paul McCartney? Yes, but that is a good thing for those of us who watch the game for the commercials and the half time show.
  • Hometown Flavor
    I hope Indianapolis native Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds has been invited to play a major role in this year's Super Bowl. It would be a shame if he hasn't and not reflect well on the city.
  • What?
    I've long ago concluded that regardless of what musical act is playing the Super Bowl halftime a huge chunk of people will criticize the selection and then go on to say the performance was bad. That's just the way things are. Musical taste is very fragmented.

    Now, I totally don't follow the logic in this column. Madonna (regardless of whether you like her or not) would be a huge coup for the Indy Super Bowl to land. Madonna is the fourth best selling musical artist in history behind only the Beatles, Elvis, and Michael Jackson. So, she's the biggest name/icon/etc. alive at this point you can get to perform. She has NEVER played Indy even once in her nearly 30 year career and rarely (if ever) has played a market this size in the last 25 years. Normally the only midwestern cities she hits on a tour are Chicago and Detroit (her hometown) with no chance of the likes of Indy, St. Louis, Cincy, Columbus, etc. getting a show. Compare that to last year's halftime act with the Black Eyed Peas that play almost anywhere and even hit small towns like Lexington, Ky, etc. Plain and simple, Madonna is one of the most iconic musical figures of the last half century and is known for putting on a great show.

    I'm certainly more of a rock fan myself but there is nobody left in rock music that hasn't already played the Super Bowl that is bigger than Madonna. And Madonna is still enormously popular. Her last tour two years ago grossed nearly $5 million dollars per night which is second only to U2's recent 360 tour for highest gross per night in music history.

    Indy is lucky to be getting an act as big as Madonna for the Super Bowl if true. Some of the suggestions in the comments here are laughable. The Super Bowl halftime isn't where you're going to see State Fair level acts, acts that play venues as small as the Lawn in Indy, intimate piano jazz, etc. trotted out. It's got to an enormously well known act that has appeal over multiple generations. John Mellencamp struggles to fill more than a theater these days and he doesn't even fill those in many places. Plus, the Super Bowl doesn't put much value on the act being local.

    This isn't the State Fair, it's not an event only watched by those under 40, it's not an Indiana event, it's the SUPER BOWL and they are going to get a huge, very well known act. Madonna is a slam dunk for this. This is a big time score for the Indy Super Bowl hype if true.
  • Lets hear some names Lou...

    I would like to hear some names from you on who you think would be better for the Indy Super Bowl? The givens would be that it has to be somebody huge in terms of popularity/name recognition, they've got to appeal to multiple generations, and put on a dynamic show? The list really starts to get short quicker than you might think.

    A band like the Eagles hits the first two marks but really falls short on the third as they largely just stand (or sit) there and play low energy note for note versions of their hits. And I say that as a fan of their music.

    Assuming that you can't have a repeat act here are a few acts that might have been contenders.

    Billy Joel and/or Elton John- I'm surprised this hasn't happened and it's probably only a matter of time until it does.

    The Police (if they would reunite again) or Sting- I'm not sure the NFL would go for Sting solo but the Police would have been a good fit.

    Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin reunion- NFL would go for this in a heartbeat but it's going to take more than the Super Bowl to finally bring about the reunion of either of these acts.

    Lady Gaga- Too soon. Maybe in ten or fifteen years. Too limited appeal and too risky.

    Bon Jovi- This will happen and I will bet you it happens next year in New Jersey.

    Garth Brooks or Kenny Chesney- Likely to have a mega country act at some point. Just glad it's not happening here to further cement Indy's national rep as a flyover, backwater town.

    Pearl Jam- This could happen at some point provided the band doesn't look at it as selling out too much.

    It's a short list. There are others but not that many others that are big enough and have wide enough appeal.

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