Does M.I.A. owe Kelly Clarkson and Madonna an apology?
M.I.A.'s bad behavior during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show is dominating online chatter Monday, overshadowing what many say is Kelly Clarkson's stellar rendition of the national anthem.
The ensuing fallout has upstaged Clarkson's performance and Madonna's pageantry with a barrage of questions, among them: Who is to blame? Why didn't NBC catch it in time? Did the NFL try to head off controversy by requiring the artists to sign a decency contract? And if not, why didn't it? Will the vulgarity result in a fine?
Madonna is sure to reap publicity out of the controversy for her new single. Snippets of her halftime performance featuring "Give Me All Your Luvin'" and the flipped bird are getting nonstop attention.
But it's Clarkson who appears to have earned overwhelming kudos.
Clarkson, who was barely recognizable in her new Cleopatra-style hairdo, delivered a pitch-perfect performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" to kick off Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
According to a CBS news poll, more than 88% of respondents said she "rocked it!"
The reviews on Twitter were near-universal in their praise: "Hands down best ever." "OUTSTANDING! Man, that girl can SING!!" "@Kelly_Clarkson nails National Anthem." "THE best national anthem of all time."
And like any good performer, she left the audience wanting more.
Clarkson managed to put her own unique spin on a song that is notoriously difficult to sing. In doing so, the first "American Idol" winner set a new standard that has bedeviled so many artists over the years. (Most recently, Steven Tyler.)
"The Star-Spangled Banner" requires a dramatic range of a full octave and a half, which can be a feat for even the most accomplished singers.
Then, there's the tricky wording courtesy of the fact that the anthem didn't start out as a song. It began life as a poem written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 titled "Defense of Fort McHenry." It was turned into a song by adding the somewhat modified tune of John Stafford Smith's "The Anacreontic Song," and then retitled. Congress proclaimed it the national anthem in 1931.
And it has been tripping up artists ever since.
Clarkson acknowledged being nervous beforehand. "Just finished rehearsing the anthem in Indy ... wow, I'm actually really nervous about singing at the Super Bowl ha!" she posted online. "Here's hoping I nail it and don't screw it up!"
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch