Besides the exciting finish to Super Bowl XLVI that saw the New York Giants defeat the New England Patriots 21-17, audiences were abuzz over Madonna’s halftime show featuring slackliner Andy Lewis.
The performance (click here to see it on You Tube) has brought Lewis a flood of publicity, plus free exposure Adidas’ Five Ten.
Five Ten designed a special pair of its Line King shoes with super-sticky Stealth Rubber Soles to aid Lewis in his performance. To coordinate the shoes with Madonna’s Roman theme and Andy’s white toga, Five Ten studded them with gold sequins.
Considering that a 30-second television ad aired during the Super Bowl cost an average of $3.5 million this year, with an estimated viewership of 111 million people, Five Ten got one heck of a deal. The shoes will be available in stores spring 2012, and outdoor retailers might also want to stock up on slack lines, as the sport continues to grow.
Lewis, a Five Ten-sponsored athlete, is a four-time world slack line champion, and credited as the father of modern-day trickline.
“I got really nervous when I finally got to see the crowd,” Lewis said. “Hearing the roar is amazing and intense. There was a full-on light show and seemingly thousands of flashing cameras. Just as halftime was starting I got the butterflies. I was still smiling, but I knew that if I fell, I’d ruin my part of the show. When I threw my backflip and landed, and the entire stadium yelled ... I felt energy like never before! I was so happy. Having this opportunity was so great and working with Madonna was wonderful.”
Prior to the Super Bowl, Five Ten interviewed Lewis about his preparation for the big show, providing the following to SNEWS:
How did you get involved with the whole Super Bowl thing?
I was hanging out in Moab and got a phone call from Cirque du Soleil, and they asked if I wanted to be involved in a circus act for two months. I said, “No, I don’t want to be involved in a circus at all!” Then I got a call from my old boss (who had fired me from Gibbon USA) and he said, “You have to do this show!” I said, “I don’t have to do anything, I’m in control.” But then he said, “This is for the Super Bowl,” and my ears perked up.
How did they hear about you?
They saw my videos online, and had talent scouts at some of the contests I’ve attended. They were not looking for a slackliner, per se, but for a personality. They needed someone who didn’t care about a billion people watching him, but someone who could live on stage for the moment. That is what I’ve been training for over the past seven years. It is very nice that they respect that ability.
Do you get many of these phone calls?
I get a lot of these phone calls, sometimes it is for Ellen DeGeneres. I declined as they don’t pay their guests — they expect people to do it for the publicity. I don’t need any more publicity. I’m not out to be famous, I’m out to be happy.
How long did it take you long to say yes?
It didn’t take me long to decide to do the show. Four or five days after I decided I was in New York.
Describe your first meeting with Madonna.
It was very built up. You kind of see the attitudes of people around you change when she walks into the building. Everyone becomes a different person. When she came into the room to meet me, she said, “Andy, thank you for being here.” She said, “So you’re the slackliner. It’s nice to have you here Andy.” And then she gave me a hug. For somebody who is more popular than Jesus in some countries, she’s really down to earth. She has a great personality. I found her really easy to hang around with.
So how does Madonna look?
“She doesn’t look her age, I can tell you that much. She is 53 or something, but she looks very, very good … she is really in shape. She takes a lot of effort with fitness and appearance … so that age is really not a part of her life. She looks like 35 going on 54. But the way she moves and dances, everything, is younger than one might imagine for a women in her 50s … it is impressive. She still has what she had when she first started. She is still a diva.
You know the perennial question about togas and kilts … are you wearing anything on under it?
There is definitely something under it. The Super Bowl is very strict about wardrobe malfunctions, they are not even showing guys' nipples anymore.
You’ve been training with Madonna and her team for the past month in New York City. Have you been exposed to any wild partying? How do celeb parties differ from parties in your home town of Moab, Utah?
What parties in Moab? When we get to together in Moab we don’t call it a party, it is getting together with campfire and friends, not like clubbing. In NYC it’s all about getting dressed up and looking beautiful. It is a world I have no idea about and don’t give a sh** about either. It is funny to go to the club, with everybody super dressed up. I show up in jeans, a Five Ten shirt and an Outdoor Research jacket. It’s funny because I look so out of place. People think I’m famous because they don’t understand how I got into the party.
So what’s life after the Super Bowl?
If I do well, that is great, and if I screw up, I just hope slacklining doesn’t suffer. Slacklining is about keeping going, but show business is about the exact opposite — I have to be 100 percent perfect. One reason they chose me is that I focus on what I’m doing — I get into the Slacklife, so to speak.