Madonna might not have been the most obvious choice to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show, but she turned out to be a wise choice.
According to numbers released by NBC Sports on Monday, Madonna's performance was the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show featuring entertainment on record — and actually edged out the game's averages in both ratings and total viewers.
Madonna's halftime performance, airing from 8 to 8:30 p.m. ET, was watched by 114 million viewers, and scored a 47.4 household rating, narrowly beating out the overall averages for the game, which averaged 111.3 million total viewers and a 47.0 household rating.
In the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, the singer's mid-game spectacular also squeaked out a victory, grabbing a 41.5 rating, versus the game average of 40.5.
Of course, those were averages, and at times the game handily surpassed the average — with viewership increasing throughout the night, the game peaked at the end from 9:30 to 9:58 ET, a half-hour that scored a 50.7 household rating/72 share, and 117.7 million total viewers.
Even so, there's no denying that Madonna's performance scored a solid hit, besting last year's performance by the Black Eyed Peas by 6 percent in the ratings and by nearly four million viewers. (It performed even better when compared to NBC's last Super Bowl halftime show, besting Bruce Springsteen's performance by 18.3 million total viewers.)
On the social media front, Madonna's halftime performance fared well too — the show created the second-highest peak in tweets per second for last night's broadcast, generating 10,245 tweets per second at one point in the performance. (The highest Twitter peak came at the end of the game, with 12,233 tweets per second.)
Maybe M.I.A. wasn't really flipping the bird during the performance, but telling the audience, "We're number one"?