Like her or not, Madonna got people talking with her 12-minute medley during Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show, which featured cameos by LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green.
Jon Pareles of The New York Times pointed out that while Madonna might not be the spry singer-dancer of the 80s and 90s, she made up for it with star power and showmanship.
“Madonna wasn’t the indefatigable trouper of years past,” Pareles wrote. “Though she’s still lithe, she measured her moves, letting her supporting cast offer distractions. As she climbed into the bleachers during Music, she missed a step, though she recovered fast. At the Super Bowl, Madonna was the party girl turned regent: a queen on her throne, a homecoming queen strutting in the bleachers, a church singer fronting a choir.
“At the end, the words World Peace glowed from the field in giant letters. Madonna was proffering virtue.”
Randall Roberts of The Los Angeles Times called Madonna’s show a “little more than an ingeniously well planned — and shockingly transparent — advertisement for [her upcoming album] MDNA, and not much more.”
Still, the critic gave the singer kudos for her second-to-none knack for grabbing the limelight.
“Talk about marketing to a lot of eyeballs,” Roberts wrote. “But then Madonna is Madonna for a reason. And we saw it firsthand Sunday.”
USA Today’s Robert Klemko — remarking the show was tweaked “in the creative direction of Cirque du Soleil,” was also generally warm to the comeback performance from the pop stalwart, summing it up as a “successful production.”
Celebs like Paula Abdul and Donny Osmond praised the Material Girl on Twitter.
Abdul: “I was dancing &singing along w/ @CeeLoGreen #Madonna Like A Prayer was AWESOME! Well played #Superbowl WELL PLAYED-amazing #HalfTime show!”
Osmond: “Madonna was really good thanks to some amazing production but it was @CeeloGreen and @NickiMinaj that made me love it. Still love Madonna!”
The performance caused a near-Twitter war between Piers Morgan when his former America’s Got Talent colleague Sharon Osbourne, who complimented the iconic singer with the tweet, “Madonna is back! She’s the queen. Just sensational!”
Morgan then wrote, “Queen of what? Lip-synching?,” to which Sharon’s daughter Kelly wrote to Piers, “why is it that you are no longer on AGT anymore? That’s right you have no taste! It’s ok I still love you! #IgnoranceIsBliss.”
Madonna’s new album MDNA hits stores next month.