To cut to the chase, there were no wardrobe malfunctions during Madonna's Super Bowl halftime set. But then, did any reasonable person expect one? After nearly 30 years as one of pop's savviest icons, Madonna is a master at the art of playing with subversion without doing any harm, least of all to herself.
It's not by accident that she began her set with Vogue, the dance-floor anthem that made urban counterculture safe and accessible. The macho, Romanesque soldiers marching in and then yielding to her queen said it all, as did the acrobatic, androgynistic dancers in the next number, Music.
Madonna herself, stylish but hardly provocative in tailored tops and skirts that showed off her yoga-toned gams, delivered these and other flourishes with a winking sense of humor.
If she moved a little less nimbly than usual, it might have had to do with a widely reported pulled hamstring - or gravity-defying heels.
Certainly, she looked as spry as guests M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj delivering her peppy new single, Give Me All Your Luvin'- though, wisely, she chose not to join the younger stars or an accompanying ensemble in donning cheerleader outfits. Tellingly, the number's sauciest touches fell to Minaj, whose hands gestured toward her lower stomach, and M.I.A., who appeared to make an obscene gesture at one point.
Cee Lo Green joined the proceedings for the final number, Like A Prayer. Joined by a rousing gospel choir, he and Madonna sported the black robes of clergy folk - albeit with plenty of sparkle.
(Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY)