She's performed at the Oscars, met the Queen of England, and dominated pop music for three decades, but Madonna still admits to anxieties over her upcoming performance at Sunday's Super Bowl Halftime Show. The game is "like the Holy of Holies of America," she says. "And I have to go on in the middle... and put on the greatest show that was ever put on." So what does the Queen of Pop have planned? Here, four things to look forward to:
1. A diverse set list
After a website called Madonnarama posted what it claimed was the show's planned set list (as "confirmed" by a source at rehearsals), every major entertainment website rushed to republish it. According to the source, Madonna's 15-minute performance will include her new single "Gimme All Your Luvvin," along with hits from various decades: "Ray of Light," "Vogue," "Music," and "Holiday." The NFL Magazine groaningly confirmed at least four of those songs: "Though Madonna's set list was not officially announced at press time, fans might expect her to give all her luvvin', provide a ray of light and be in vogue with her music."
2. Younger-generation guest performers
It's long been rumored that rapper Nicki Ninaj and alternative-music wunderkind M.I.A. — both featured on "Gimme All Your Luvvin" — will join Madonna at the Super Bowl. Nicki Minaj has all but confirmed her involvement, telling a fan via Twitter that she's been busy with "Super Bowl rehearsals w/ the Queen)." Similarly, M.I.A. let the news slip during an interview with BBC Radio 1 earlier this week. The Los Angeles Times also reports that "Party Rock Anthem" group LMFAO will join Madge on stage. "If you are a 14- 18-year-old girl," says Donald Wood at Bleacher Report, "this must be what heaven feels like."
3. An trippy stage show
Madonna's Super Bowl stage "is Vogue'd out," says TMZ. The website obtained photos that were snapped inside Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium during lighting tests, clearly revealing the word "Vogue" spelled out across the stage with lights. Other photos captured neon-colored psychedelic swirls squiggling across the stage and field, vaguely resembling a trippy boombox. "It kind of looks like a life-size level of Guitar Hero," says Ray Rahman at Entertainment Weekly.
4. She might be "bringing gay"
While Madonna herself has been tight-lipped about the show, one dancer let an odd detail slip earlier this week, according to the New York Daily News. Apparently, the dancer was overheard saying that Madge is "bringing gay to the Super Bowl." Commentators are confused: "We don't even know what that means," says Melinda Newman at HitFix. Still, says Mark Graham at Vh1, it implies that the controversy-courting star will be pushing the envelope. One thing viewers won't be seeing: 100 drummers descending from the roof of Lucas Oil Stadium. Reportedly, this plan was nixed because the building's structure wouldn't support the stunt. But don't think Madonna doesn't have other tricks up her sleeve. According to Minaj, the show will be: "Epic, of course."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How Ronald Reagan turned America into a nation of children
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- Why scientists can't kill HIV
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- The crusade against Iraq War supporters has forgotten someone: Hillary Clinton
- 8 things the world's most extraordinary survivors can teach you about resilience
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
Subscribe to the Week