By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was no wardrobe malfunction, but British hip-hop singer MIA raised some eyebrows last night during her contribution to the Super Bowl halftime show: she flipped the bird in front of more than 100 million viewers.
And it’s likely to change the entertainment at the big game next year.
Madonna wanted and expected buzz from the Super Bowl — she performed for free to promote her new music. “But somebody upstaged her on her own show,” says David Allan, an associate professor of marketing at St. Joseph’s University.
Allan (right) says MIA’s middle finger salute falls far short of Janet Jackson’s breast cameo in 2004, and he doesn’t expect the FCC to be too bothered. “I suspect they’ll look at this as more of an artistic gesture,” he says, “and not so much as a deliberate attempt to be indecent.”
Not the case, though, for the NFL, who produces the show. After the world saw more of Jackson than it bargained for, the league decided to play it safer — offering stars like Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen for halftime shows. The last couple Super Bowls have marked a return to ‘edginess’; now, it’s expected to return to safer territory.
“I would bet any amount of money that next year’s Super Bowl is going to be country, and it’s going to be safe country,” Allan surmises. “Taylor Swift or somebody like that.”
Singers’ contracts can have clauses which hold them liable for any fines.
And Allan says he thinks networks will have to put the concert on a 30- to 60-second delay, and perhaps have a team of lawyers on alert, with their fingers on the blackout button.