Blog Entry

Madonna on M.I.A.: 'I wasn't happy about it'

Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:58 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 5:29 am
Turns out, Madonna wasn't that impressed with M.I.A. and her middle finger. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

You may have heard something about Madonna being the halftime entertainment at Super Bowl XLVI. For the most part, the show went off without a hitch. There were plenty of pyrotechnics and dancers and, well, all the things we've come to expect from one of television's biggest spectacles. There was even a special guest -- M.I.A.

And while it wasn't a Janet Jackson-level code red, M.I.A. did cause collective panties to bunch when, during her performance with Madonna on the song "Give Me All Your Luvin,'" she extended her middle finger and later uttered an expletive. NBC and the NFL scrambled to issue apologies.

On Friday, Madonna called into "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" and spoke publicly for the first time about the hubbub.

“I was really surprised,” she said according to “I didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t happy about it. I understand it’s punk rock and everything, but to me there was such a feeling of love and good energy, and positivity it seemed negative. It’s such a teenager … irrelevant thing to do … there was such a feeling of love and unity there, what was the point? It was just out of place.”

This is the older, wiser Madonna talking. At 53, she sounds a lot different than the woman Rolling Stone's Caryn Ganz described as "[T]he most consistently controversial one since Elvis Presley … until she toned down her press-baiting behavior in the Nineties."

No word on if the FCC will fine NBC for M.I.A.'s one-finger salute. Following Breastgate '04, the FCC fined CBS $550,000. The federal agency subsequently increased the fine for such incidents to $325,000 a pop, which means that M.I.A.'s actions could cost NBC as much as $650,000.

Word on the street is that there was no underlying motive behind M.I.A.'s artistic choices other than “adrenaline and nerves,” and she got “caught up in the moment.”

For what it's worth, we were in the auxiliary press boxes for Super Bowl XLVI and neither saw nor heard M.I.A. violating the FCC's indecency laws. Franky, we didn't even know she was there. (see below for visual proof -- click photos to enlarge).

The view of the halftime show from the auxillary press box. (Ryan Wilson, Even zoomed in it was hard to make out naughty hand gestures. (Ryan Wilson,

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Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:57 pm

Madonna on M.I.A.: 'I wasn't happy about it'

“I was really surprised,” she said according to . “I didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t happy about it. I understand it’s punk rock and everything..."

M.I.A., a rapper and, ahem, "musician", is punk rock? News to me. Awful halftime show full of lip-syncing and some obscure shout-out at the end of performance to Ron Artest.

There are plenty of other worthy mainstream groups that could put on a better show - just watching the Grammy's tonight proves that bands like Foo Fighters and Bon Iver would be great entertainment for a Super Bowl halftime show. 

Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:29 pm

Madonna on M.I.A.: 'I wasn't happy about it'

What a crock of crap from Madonna. First she shows everybody just how big her ego is by singing a song about herself and then she thinks we're all stupid and believe her when she says she is surprised by what M.I.A. did. Hire a thug and they will act like a thug. Does any real football fan really want to watch these POS'S every Super Bowl. Isn't it time for some class at halftime. It's become a disgrace.

Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:25 pm

Madonna on M.I.A.: 'I wasn't happy about it'

You probably meant John Fogerty since Tom has been dead for a while.

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 8:06 pm

Madonna on M.I.A.: 'I wasn't happy about it'

Let's stick to the Tom Petties, the Who's, the Paul Mccartney's, the Tom Fogartys. Get these good old rock n roll guys up there, really singing a set of their classic hits, and be done with it. That is far more entertaining than watching Janet Jackson, or Madonna jump around for 20 minutes lip synching to taped music. Next year, get Bob Seger up there doing 'Old time rock n roll' and the stadium, and peoples living rooms will be jumping.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 7:20 pm

Madonna on M.I.A.: 'I wasn't happy about it'

A 53 year old pop singer pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeez,then she lip syncs and almost falls,and needs help doing her kartwheels......wasn't the worst halftime show but ranks near the bottom,the NFL can do better.

Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 6:55 pm

Madonna on M.I.A.: 'I wasn't happy about it'

NBC shouldn't be penalized for her act of stupidity, nor should Madonna who, herself, revealed that she was shocked by the classless act (thx Teres Minor). The reaction should be placed where it rightfully the purse stings, where a loss in endorsements, gigs, and personal appearances means less money coming home.

M.I.A. might have a rather sudden epiphany that her antics might work well with an adolescent or ambivalent crowd, but on stage in a major venue, on national television, such acts are not received well and can have a detrimental effect to one who is barely a blip on the radar screen of mainstream entertainment.

Take it from someone who learned....I'll bet Nicki Minaj did a "nip" check before she went onstage. She should have "tipped" M.I.A. to reserve her bad behavior for backstage. 

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 5:30 pm

Taking it further...

There is an unwritten "rule" that is sacred in the music business.  It goes like this: if someone asks you to be their guest on a stage, you never, ever do anything to embarass them, show them up, or try to steal the show.  This "rule" is probably as old as the music business itself. It is just something you don't do.  Basically, whenever someone violates this rule, it shows that he or she has no respect for music, no respect for the person who invited him or her onstage in the first place, and no respect for himself or herself.  
The only metaphor I can come up with for such an unthinkable offense is being a house guest and urinating on the living room carpet on the way out the door.  Yes, it was that classless and disrespectful.   

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 5:14 pm

"Adrenaline and Nerves?"

Ask anyone who has ever performed on a stage or played sports: adrenaline and nerves don't change who you are, they reveal it.  In sports, this means that people who have a fear of failure or success usually "choke" under pressure, while people who are winners on the inside have a tendency to "rise to the occasion" when it really counts.

In entertainment, it means that someone with no class will show it in situations like performing before millions of people on live TV.  The grandest spotlight of them all revealed the pathetic "artist" whose name I won't dignify by mentioning as a worthless. classless piece of garbage.  

I can only speak for myself, but I would imagine there are many who feel the same way.  All she did was ensure that, even if I am curious to see how she sounds, I will never give her music as much as a click, what alone ever purchasing it.  Madonna gave a brilliant performance and should have been allowed to celebrate it.  Thanks to a talentless hack wannabe, it didn't happen.   

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or