Eli Manning and Tom Brady may know their way around the football field, but Sunday night, New England Patriots and New York Giants fans could take a break from taking sides to root for the queen of the (ever intricate) stage: Go Madonna!
The Super Bowl halftime show kicked off with a royal welcome as an army of gladiators escorted the veteran performer onto Indianapolis's Lucas Oil Stadium stage. With a diamond-studded gold crown, Madonna, 53, launched into her hit "Vogue" as the stage flashed covers of the iconic fashion magazine.
Next on the set list: her 2000 dance jam "Music." Joining her on the stage were the guys behind LMFAO – Stefan (Redfoo) and Skyler (SkyBlu) Gordy – who teamed with Madonna to sing samples from their hits, "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know It."
With a stage that was as flashy and glittering as her dance moves, Madonna then performed her new single, "Give Me All Your Luvin," with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. – in full-on cheerleading uniforms – who are also featured on the song. (M.I.A. also gave the finger during her solo, an act that eluded the NBC censors.)
But the finale of the 12-minute performance was classic Madonna. With a hand from Cee Lo Green, she swapped her gladiator queen assemble for a glittering black robe to sing her 1989 hit, "Like a Prayer" (which she opened with samplings of "Open Your Heart" and "Express Yourself.").
Backed by a gospel choir, the fiery performance ended with a true sizzle: The stage burst into a cloud of smoke as the singer belted out the final note out of sight.
The final message of the show – "World Peace" – was illuminated on the stage.
And the game? A last-minute cliffhanger. Giants beat Patriots, 21-17.
But the entertainment started earlier in the night as Blake Shelton and wife Miranda Lambert performed a twangy duet of "America the Beautiful." And Kelly Clarkson powered through a rousing version of the "Star-Spangled Banner" before kickoff. (Watch it below.)
What did you think of all the performers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.