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The news, which had been widely rumored for some time but was officially confirmed during NBC’s Sunday Night Football coverage, sparked mixed reactions among viewers and pundits alike, with many sports experts weighing in on the news during their respective programs. On ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, Mike Golic questioned the last time Madge had released new music, apparently unaware that the singer is in the midst of recording a new album to be released in 2012.
“I’ve not been happy with a whole lot of them,” Golic said regarding past Super Bowl performers including Paul McCartney, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Who. “Feel free to get someone in the now.”
Tim Daniels, a featured blogger for the Bleacher Report, said, “It’s just another safe selection by executive who fear what could happen if they allow a more edgy act to take the stage.”
“You have to wonder how long the NFL will continue to trot out musicians who no longer capture the audiences attention. Even though ratings are terrific, that’s only because it’s on during the middle of the marquee football game of the season,” he continued. “If NFL Network productions gave the fans what they want, which is anybody with current relevance, the ratings would be markedly better. But they seem content with taking the easy way out.”
“Counting Madonna, the avg age of the Super Bowl halftime performers since the ‘Wardrobe Malfunction’ is 54.8 years old,” tweeted CNBS sports business reporter Darren Rovell.
ESPN enlisted the opinion of rock historian John Covach and branding strategist Adam Hanft to weigh in on the NFL’s choice.
“Madonna is somebody who crosses age generations and crosses sex barriers. She’s just somebody who the whole world wants to see. She’s really a living legend,” Covach said. “Yes, of course, people are going to jump up and down to watch her. It’s not just a performer. She is bigger than, perhaps, anybody alive.”
“People have joked online, maybe a larger gay audience will come,” added Hanft. “There are broad segments of the audience that she appeals to.”
At 53-years-old, the singer is being labeled as a “safe” choice for the NBC program, which has repeatedly opted for less controversial performers since Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s 2004 wardrobe malfunction. Ironically, the “Vogue” singer was known primarily for pushing boundaries in the early years of her career, including burning crosses in her “Like a Prayer” video and publishing a book of nude photos called Sex. In 2003, the singer swapped saliva with Britney Spears during a performance on the MTV Video Music Awards.
“If this doesn’t show you that everyone is out to make a buck I’m not sure what does,” reads a post on the Backyard Sports Blog. “Madonna has a movie coming out two days before the game and also has a new album set to release in 2012. At some point in my lifetime they need to bring these things to vote and let the fans choose.”
ESPN sports reporter Michael Smith joked on Twitter, “Did the BCS select the Super Bowl halftime entertainment?”
Married to sportswriter and producer Max Handelman, avid Fantasy Football fan Elizabeth Banks noted her excitement for the upcoming show. “Madonna plus football, obviously. I, for one, just got more excited for Feb 5,” she wrote.
“WOW! Madonna is performing at Halftime of the Superbowl…too bad I won’t be able to watch her. *wink*” posted San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner.
Madonna will collaborate with Cirque du Soleil for the performance, which will air live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Feb. 5. In an interview with Extra — prior to the big announcement — Madge had said, “It’s a huge deal, my God. To be as exciting as the football game is a huge challenge. And to get your stage set up in eight minutes, another huge challenge.”
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