Madonna may be 27 years removed from her first No. 1 hit, but something about her Super Bowl halftime show will be brand new: The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and MTV-era icon will sing on an Indianapolis stage for the first time.
Eight Madonna tours, from 'The Virgin Tour' in 1985 to 'The Sticky & Sweet Tour' in 2008, have bypassed Indianapolis.
It took the Super Bowl - a sporting phenomenon that's never been presented in New York (at least it won't be until 2014), Chicago or Las Vegas - to bring the Material Girl to the Circle City.
What's in it for her?
The football game is expected to attract more than 100 million TV viewers in the United States, giving Madonna a massive and captive audience for marketing purposes.
Her most recent album, 2008's 'Hard Candy,' yielded one Top 10 single, '4 Minutes,' and two songs that fell short of the Top 40.
New Madonna music, a single titled 'Give Me All Your Love' featuring guests Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., will be released in February, while rumors of a 2012 world tour populate the Internet.
The Super Bowl could even boost 'W.E.,' Madonna's latest effort as a film director. The romantic drama arrives in theaters Feb. 3, two days before the big game.
'What a launching pad,' said Steve Gerardi, owner of Indianapolis-based concert promotion company SG Entertainment. 'It's great exposure. Look at the cost of a 30-second ad, which is more than $2 million. You can't beat that in valued exposure.'
A Super Bowl halftime show typically lasts 12 minutes.
For the NFL and NBC, the network carrying Super Bowl XLVI, Madonna's appearance may attract viewers who otherwise wouldn't check out the telecast.
'People are going to watch the game, period,' Gerardi said. 'I think the NFL is going to get a big 'wow' out of this show. It's another great decoration and the icing of the cake.'
Professional critics and amateur social-media pundits gave low marks to the Who's heritage rock at Super Bowl XLIV and the Black Eyed Peas' modern pop at Super Bowl XLV, leaving the NFL with a two-year skid of absent 'wow.'
Nikki Reed, an on-air personality at Top 40 radio station WZPL-FM (99.5), said she isn't sure Madonna can snap the streak.
'I'm bored with the idea of Madonna,' Reed said. 'It's been awhile since she has been this huge figure. I hope that I'm wrong, and I hope that she kills it. That would be an incredible thing for her career.'
At the office of the Super Bowl Host Committee, news of Madonna's halftime booking arrived Sunday night with the public announcement made on NBC.
Spokeswoman Dianna Boyce said the host committee has no role in selecting the halftime artist (or the yet-to-be-announced performer of 'The Star-Spangled Banner').
'For the host committee, it's really just the next stop in building the level of excitement toward game day,' Boyce said of the halftime announcement. 'It's all about the fever and fervor and the level of fan enthusiasm.'
Madonna sounded genuinely fired up on Sunday night, when showbiz TV show 'Extra' asked her about the Super Bowl gig.
'It's a huge deal,' said Madonna, attending a New York screening of 'W.E.' 'To be as exciting as the football game is a huge challenge. And to get your stage set up in eight minutes, another huge challenge.'
In 2004, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were singing one of Timberlake's hits, 'Rock Your Body,' when he grabbed Jackson's bustier and pulled away the material that covered her right breast.
A split-second of nudity resulted in a $550,000 indecency fine for CBS.
In subsequent years, acts selected to play halftime have skewed decidedly older than Timberlake (23 at the time), Britney Spears (19 at Super Bowl XXXV) and Christina Aguilera (19 at Super Bowl XXXIV).
Prince was 48 when he played Super Bowl XLI. Subtract last year's appearance by the Black Eyed Peas, and Prince is the youngest performer in a post-'wardrobe malfunction' parade of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and the Who.
For the record, Madonna will be 53 when she takes the stage at Lucas Oil Stadium.
But does middle age guarantee a squeaky-clean show? If that's the NFL's logic, radio personality Reed offered this zinger:
'If they're old enough that it's going to take 10 minutes to take off their pants on live TV, we're safe to go with that,' Reed said.
Gerardi said it's unlikely that Madonna's performance will be hailed as a universal smash, but it's already making headlines.
'It's impossible to please everybody. I'm sure a lot of people will say, 'Why didn't they get Taylor Swift or the Foo Fighters or Jay-Z?' But Madonna is an American icon.'
By David Lindquist / INDYSTAR.com - thanks to Brad