Madonna has continuously created iconic imagery throughout her work and it’s become evident, by now, that no other star in the world, especially from the music world, has been more visually entrancing and richer than her. Take for instance, her Super Bowl halftime show which, at the time, broke the record as the most watched televised event in history and was the first halftime show to get better ratings than the game itself.
Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show not only broke and established records and set trends, it also told a story through historical imagery - and it’s a shame people often misrepresent what was happening on stage (the Kylie Minogue comparisons are atrociously uneducated). So let’s start from the beginning:
When Madonna was announced as the headliner of the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, countless of articles and petitions were written to criticize and demand a change. Their arguments ranged from “she’s a woman” to “she’s a gay icon, she will ruin the final game.” Some of you might be incredulous about the misogyny in the “she’s a woman” comments about the NFL choice. But remember, the last time a woman had headlined the Super Bowl before Madonna was 16 years before (Diana Ross in 1996). And that is another effect of the Queen of Pop’s record-breaking halftime show: it established the trend of women headlining the Super Bowl.
Historically, women have not been commercially or critically successful at the NFL halftime show - that’s why they had been rarely booked as headliners before Madonna. It took the NFL 16 years to book another woman to headline their halftime show after Diana Ross (love her, by the way).
But in 2012, everything changed. Madonna’s record-breaking halftime show set the new trend: women became Super Bowl’s thing. They went from a 16-year gap to having women headlining their shows almost every year after Madonna: Beyonce in 2013, Katy Perry in 2015, Lady Gaga in 2017. The only exceptions were Bruno Mars in 2014 and Coldplay in 2016 (but Beyonce had a big “comeback” and stole their show). But did these women receive as much backlash as Madonna did? Of course not.
I see many anti-Madonna folks claiming she copied Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite show at the Super Bowl - but that only makes me laugh at their level of stupidity. Don’t these people have any historical and mythical knowledge? Cleopatra sends her regards.
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love; her Roman equivalent (in mythology) is Venus. Madonna wasn’t representing neither (the Greek) Aphrodite, nor (the Roman) Venus. She was representing Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, crossing “enemy lines” and entering the Roman empire to become their Queen. And so she did. The “gay icon,” the “woman” people complained about entered the male-dominated football field and dominated it: beating the game itself in ratings and breaking televised records.
[Egyptian imagery and hieroglyphs on Madonna’s Super Bowl throne]
If you don’t know the difference between the Greek mythological figure of Aphrodite and the historical figure of Cleopatra, do not write about them. It will be less embarrassing to remain quiet than to compare a golden throne decked with egyptian symbols to a golden seashell.
Below, Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra entering the Roman empire and the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, Venus - the exact same imagery evoked by both Madonna and Kylie Minogue, proof that the claim “Madonna copied Kylie Minogue” is an uneducated belief, a fallacy.
Over the past several years, the halftime show has featured a whole lot of not-famous people. Namely, a bunch of anonymous children. Micah and Chris were both in their school’s respective music programs, and performing at halftime was second nature to them. Although they weren’t exactly “performing. Chris remembered hearing the big news from his band director, and everyone’s first question was, "Are we going to have to learn a bunch of new music?” Their band director simply replied with a cheery “Nope!” And really, the best kind of music is the kind you don’t have to learn or play or really even listen to.
Chris was going to be one of the kids who held giant LED panels during Bruno Mars’ first halftime show at Super Bowl XLVIII, and Micah held up one of many giant glowing orbs at Super Bowl XLIX. And that’s really what child performances are in the NFL: “Here, hold this thing. That’s a memory Micah will have forever, and "in memories” is basically how he and Chris were paid – that and a free hat.
This was pretty surprising to hear. You’d think kids would be more of a liability than anything, especially considering the Super Bowl Halftime Show performers are a more closely guarded secret than where Piers Morgan keeps his soul. The headliner is often made public way ahead of time, but it shouldn’t shock anyone that any involved parties had to sign Nondisclosure Agreements about things they saw and heard at rehearsals. What surprised us was that, according to Micah, “there were stacks of NDAs at every rehearsal, so if someone even walked by [where we were practicing], they got rushed and forced to sign an NDA.”
Bruno Mars Will Receive 2017 iHeartRadio Innovator Award At iHeartRadio Music Awards
With every album he releases, and in between, Bruno Mars continues to showcase his tremendous talent in the music industry. Over the course of his career, he has released hit after hit under his own name, has helped create chart-topping songs for other artists, and has consistently given fans some of the most incredible live performances. That is why the iHeartRadio Music Awards will honor the Hawaii-born megastar with its most prestigious award of the evening: the 2017 iHeartRadio Innovator Award.
“We got the phone call, they’re like: “Hey, we love these things, we love to raise the stakes and have, you know, another artist there with you. What you like to do something like that?” The first band I thought it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’ve been a fan of theirs for such a long time, I admire their career and, after sitting down, I sat down with Flea, they’re just full band and not just musically but as people.”
—Bruno Mars talking about Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2012.
Anthony Kiedis and Bruno Marsperforming at the Pepsi Super Bowl XVLIII Halftime show.- MetLife Stadium, New Jersey. - 2nd February, 2012