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Volume 24 No. 160

Events and Attractions

For all the "pomp and excess of Madonna's Super Bowl halftime extravaganza, a single extended middle finger by guest singer M.I.A. is likely to be the most remembered piece of the show," according to David Bauder of the AP. The gesture, "accompanied by a barely disguised expletive, came during a performance of Madonna's new single, 'Give Me All Your Luvin'.'" At the end of her lines, M.I.A. appeared to sing "I don't give a (expletive)." The screen "briefly went blurred after M.I.A.'s gesture in what was a late attempt -- by less than a second -- to cut out the camera shot." NBC Sports & Olympics VP/Communications Chris McCloskey said, "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture, and we apologize to our viewers." The NFL "blamed a failure in NBC's delay system for allowing the gesture to be seen." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said, "The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans" (AP, 2/5). A source close to M.I.A. said the singer was hit with "a case of adrenaline." The source: "She wasn't thinking. It wasn't any kind of statement. She was caught in the moment and she's incredibly sorry" (, 2/5). USA TODAY's Robert Klemko writes the incident was only a "blip on the radar of an otherwise successful production" (USA TODAY, 2/6).

EXPRESS YOURSELF: In N.Y., Jon Pareles writes, "Madonna danced her way back toward worldwide visibility Sunday as the halftime attraction for the Super Bowl, with a giant supporting cast -- gladiators, acrobats, cheerleaders, drummers, a gospel choir -- and a downright benign stance." Madonna "went all out on spectacle." She "arrived on the field to sing 'Vogue' as a gold-robed queen with a platoon of gladiators, dancing on a giant throne and doing precise, right-angle moves amid acrobats from Cirque du Soleil." “Music” brought her to the "top of a bleacher-like set surrounded by more acrobatics." As she climbed onto the bleachers, "she missed a step, though she recovered fast." Later, LMFAO joined her, "interspersing their 2011 hit 'Party Rock Anthem.'" As a chorus line of cheerleaders filled the stage, Madonna "grabbed golden pompoms for 'Give Me All Your Luvin.'" Cee Lo Green joined Madonna for snippets of “Open Your Heart” and “Express Yourself.” Then came "Like a Prayer." At the end, the "words World Peace glowed from the field in giant letters" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/6). ROLLING STONE's Miriam Coleman wrote, "Madonna packed some serious spectacle into her twelve-minute halftime show" (, 2/5).

LUCKY STAR: In DC, Hank Stuever writes, "Madonna can be said to have outdone herself, executing a flashy half-time tribute to her own image but also honoring the concept of longevity and old-fashioned pop stardom" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/6). In Phoenix, Ed Masley writes, "Unless you want to get hung up on whether she was actually singing, Madonna delivered on the pre-game hype with exactly the sort of elaborate dance-pop spectacle that fans were expecting and rockists were dreading" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/6). In Detroit, Adam Graham: "Madonna delivered a whopper of a halftime show during the Super Bowl, surveying her career, sharing the stage with a smattering of today's pop stars and doing what Madonna does best: Serve up a grand spectacle" (DETROIT NEWS, 2/6). In London, Sarah Fitzmaurice writes Madonna "put on an impressive performance" (London DAILY MAIL, 2/6). ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's Ken Tucker wrote Madonna "gave a joyous, unironic, open-hearted" performance (, 2/5). In N.Y., Jim Farber notes Madonna "sidelined sex in favor of spectacle." Her set "proved chaste and careful by her younger standards," but it "made up for its lack of shock-queen stunts with sheer fun, dazzle and, most of all, wit" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/6). In L.A., Randall Roberts writes despite its "success and extravagance, this whole halftime package most of all was little more than an ingeniously well planned -- and shockingly transparent -- advertisement" for Madonna's new album (L.A. TIMES, 2/6).

DON'T CRY FOR ME: On Long Island, Glenn Gamboa writes Madonna's performance "felt uncharacteristically tentative for a superstar known for breaking down barriers to get her way." It was all "sufficiently big and flashy and entertaining." It just "lacked the element of surprise that we've come to expect from Madonna." It also "lacked any sort of emotional connection" (NEWSDAY, 2/6). In Indianapolis, Harry & Schoettle wrote the show "largely fell flat." Madonna "confirmed she is no longer at the height of her popularity or provocative powers with a tame, somewhat leaden performance" (, 2/5). In California, Ben Wener notes nobody during the show "was actually live." Madonna "was the worst offender; at times it was painfully evident that her golden microphone wasn't on" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/6). In Indianapolis, David Lindquist notes Madonna also "struggled with some dance steps," and the "lip-syncing component made the royalty-themed production an empty exercise" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/6). In New Jersey, Mike Kerwick: "To Madonna's credit, she gave us a bit of everything. Roman soldiers. Female cheerleaders. A tightrope walker. But there was no cohesive theme" (Bergen RECORD, 2/6). In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes, "I can't recall the last time I saw a major TV production so desperately in need of a guiding concept" (Baltimore SUN, 2/6).'s Greg Garber wrote of the show, "Smoke and mirrors, but very little soul" (, 2/5). Meanwhile, in Chicago, Thomas Conner writes Green "didn't contribute much and seemed to be there largely as a means of promoting" NBC's "The Voice" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/6).

A MOMENT LIKE THIS: In Chicago, Greg Kot writes Kelly Clarkson's rendition of the National Anthem was "straightforward." Unlike last year, when Christina Aguilera "tried to make the song all about her and flubbed a line in the process, Clarkson gave a strong, dignified reading backed by marital drumming and a children's choir" (CHICAGO TRIUBNE, 2/6). In Tampa Bay, Eric Deggans: "Clarkson wiped away the bitter memories of Christina Aguilera's stumbles last year with a single, glorious moment" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/6). The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES' Conner writes Clarkson "provided a performance that should be game films for future Super Bowl anthem singers" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/6). The ARIZONA REPUBLIC’s Masley writes Clarkson "nailed it, infusing her version with just enough soul while keeping the flourishes minimal enough to call it tasteful" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/6). The WASHINGTON POST's Stuever writes Clarkson "delivered a model and embarrassment-free rendition of the national anthem." Meanwhile, before the anthem, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert "delivered a similarly restrained and lovely rendition" of "America the Beautiful" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/6).'s Marc Schneider wrote Shelton and Lambert sang a "rousing version" of "America the Beautiful" (, 2/5). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel: "Loved the Blake Shelton/Miranda Lambert duet. ... Kelly Clarkson's national anthem was top shelf, too" (, 2/5).

More than 1.1 million fans visited Super Bowl Village in downtown Indianapolis, about "double what the host committee originally projected and about 30 percent more than revised projections made Wednesday," according to Schoettle & Schouten of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The NFL Experience "broke the Super Bowl attendance record set in Arizona in 2008, drawing 265,039 fans" from Jan. 27-Feb. 4. Merchandise sales also "soared more than 25 percent past estimates" (, 2/6). In Indianapolis, David Lindquist noted Friday's scene at the Super Bowl Village was "dangerously crowded" as more than "100,000 people" crowded onto Georgia Street to see LMFAO perform. Lindquist wrote, "Thankfully, nearly everyone in Super Bowl Village maintained good-natured attitudes" (, 2/4).

CITY'S SUPER SHOWING: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday said, "I believe the community here could not have done a better job of organizing this week's events or embracing this. I think it's great Indianapolis is on the global stage." Goodell later added of Indianapolis, "I think they've done an incredible job. Their organization, their hospitality, the volunteers -- this community is so well prepared for this. They've done a great job" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/4). In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz wrote it is "safe to suggest that Indianapolis has won this Super Bowl. In a blowout." But Kravitz wrote, "Even if the NFL looks at Indianapolis once again, I don't know if there's enough corporate money to go around a second time. That said, Indianapolis has done nothing to take itself out of the equation for future Super Bowls. This has been a bravura performance, from the leaders to the volunteers, from the big shows to the little details. This hasn't just been the best northern Super Bowl, this has been one of the best Super Bowls, period" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/4). Also in Indianapolis, Matthew Tully wrote, "Is it just me, or has this been a fun 10 days?" Tully: "Call us small-market if you wish, but Indianapolis came up big when granted its biggest stage. Hoosiers not only enjoyed the week but realized once again, and perhaps most definitively, that we could play in the big leagues" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/4). An INDIANAPOLIS STAR editorial stated the past 10 days "already have been a series of wins for the home team -- Central Indiana" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/5).

TAKING NOTES: In N.Y., Judy Battista noted as the CEO of the New York/New Jersey '14 Super Bowl Host Committee, Al Kelly has "immersed himself in the staggering minutiae that an event of this magnitude entails." From the moment Kelly got off the plane in Indianapolis on Wednesday, he was "consumed with questions like, how did the decals at the Indianapolis airport ... get attached?" In a one-hour visit to the NFL Experience, Kelly "dived headfirst into the mind-numbing details that keep that 900,000-square-foot behemoth functioning." He said, "On Monday morning, I’ll have a much better idea of how much I learned. If we pick up one or two terrific ideas or things that definitely don’t work, it’s valuable." When NFL  Senior Dir of Events Mary Pat Augenthaler mentioned that it may "not be possible to have another Super Bowl fanfest without a zip line ... the conversation turned to whether Manhattan streets could be closed off so a zip line could be installed near Times Square" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/4). Kelly on Friday "stressed there is only so much he can take from this week and apply" to the Super Bowl in '14. Kelly: "I'm not sure it's apples and oranges. It's probably fruit and vegetables, not even in the same category." Kelly said that for weather his "dream scenario is what Indianapolis has had this week." He said, "Then about 5 o'clock on Feb. 2, 2014, you get a little bit of snow. It totals maybe three inches, and then it lets up during the trophy ceremony" (NEWSDAY, 2/4).

PREPARING FOR NEXT YEAR: In New Orleans, Michelle Krupa noted with next year's Super Bowl coming to the city, aides to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, along with "key leaders of the Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services departments, have joined the airport executives and a delegation from the Super Bowl XLVII host committee to get an inside look at putting on" Super Bowl XLVI. Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Exec Dir Jay Cicero said that the committee had "about 60 people at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 2/4).

Bermuda Minister of Business Development & Tourism Wayne Furbert said Friday that the PGA plans to "sell the title sponsor for the annual" Grand Slam of Golf event, according to Colin Thompson of the Bermuda ROYAL GAZETTE. If the PGA is successful, Furbert said "it would be unlikely the sponsor would like to stay in Bermuda." However, the PGA has "agreed to keep the Grand Slam of Golf on Bermuda’s shores at least until 2013 should they fail to find a new title sponsor by the time this year’s event rolls around." The current sponsorship fee for Bermuda to host the event "stands at $1.5 million." It is "understood that Hawaii and Barbados have shown interest in taking over sponsorship of the three-day event." Furbert said that a "proposed partnership with the Executive Women’s Golf Association would see Bermuda host either a Women’s Grand Slam of Golf or a World Championship of Women’s Golf in place of the Grand Slam of Golf." He added that the possibility of a "five-day long Champions Tour event being held in Bermuda is also being considered" (Bermuda ROYAL GAZETTE, 2/4).