OFFSTAGE: Miranda Lambert Was Super Bowl Star, Hands Down

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Let’s see. Of all the musical performances that made Sunday night’s (Feb. 5) Super Bowl XLVI the Super Bowl of musical performances, two really stand out. The one where the singers are holding hands, and the one where a singer is using obscene hand gestures. Hmmm. I wonder which one was the country one.

Oh, yes. That would be Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, who held hands while they sang “America the Beautiful” together. Not just like your-hand-brushes-up-against-mine hand holding. This was fingers-intertwined-for-two-minutes hand holding. It was so classy, so sweet, and so downright American.

The halftime show, on the other hand, was just the opposite because of a split-second bad decision. Madonna herself did a fabulous job mixing vintage Madonna (“Vogue” and “Like a Prayer”) with new Madonna (“Give Me All Your Luvin'”). But she’d invited some other artists on stage with her, like British rapper M.I.A., who used that limelight to raise her middle finger as a symbol for an expletive. NBC quickly issued an apology, saying, “Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture, and we apologize to our viewers.” And the NFL had this to say: “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans.”

What did you think of all the music before and during the game? And, when was the last time you held hands with someone for two minutes? View photos from the Super Bowl.