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Madonna performs during the halftime show in the NFL Super Bowl on Sunday. Jeff Haynes / Reuters
Madonna performs during the halftime show in the NFL Super Bowl on Sunday. Jeff Haynes / Reuters

Today's entertainment news: Madonna sets TV records in the US

Plus: stars gather for Oscar lunch; Amazing Spider-Man footage tease fans; Bollywood prays for cancer-struck Yuvraj; Indian star lectures on viral hit and George Clooney to wrestle Miss Piggy?

The New York Giants may have beaten the New England Patriots at Sunday's Super Bowl, but neither could outmuscle Madonna – at least where TV audiences were concerned.

A record 111.3 million US viewers watched the championship, but 114 million watched Madonna's halftime performance which drew a firestorm of controversy over a rude gesture by the rapper MIA.

The ratings tracker Nielsen said Madonna's glitzy, Cleopatra-themed performance of her new single Give Me All Your Luvin was the most-watched halftime show in US history.

Meanwhile, NBC and the NFL were forced to apologise publicly for a finger gesture flipped at the audience by MIA, who joined Madonna in the performance.

Sean "P Diddy" Combs tweeted that Madonna "had the best half-time performance of all time".

"She does less, and yet she's so much more," wrote the singer Pink. According to Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas: "Madonna rocked."

The Chicago Tribune was less enthused and wrote that the Super Bowl "has become the biggest stage for shills of all kinds, pop stars included".

* Reuters

Stars gather for Oscar lunch

George Clooney says the best thing about Academy Awards nominations is not necessarily the prizes. It's hanging with old and new friends at the annual Oscar nominee luncheon held on Monday.

"It's fun to see people I like and haven't seen in a long time," said Clooney, who added he also has had fun getting to know his fellow best actor contenders Gary Oldman, Jean Dujardin and Demian Bichir.

Brad Pitt joked that like Clooney, awards season has allowed him to make new acquaintances. "I met this guy named George," he said, stumbling over the pronunciation of the name, "G-g-George, Jorge Clooney. Very nice guy."

Among the 150 nominees at the luncheon was the best supporting actress nominee Melissa McCarthy, a rare contender for her comedy Bridesmaids.

"It's been a pretty surreal year," she said. "I keep pinching myself, and I really hope I don't get the call where someone says, 'Kidding, kidding'."

But before the Oscars is this Sunday's Baftas, where Miss Piggy has challenged Clooney to a wresting match. The outspoken Muppet, the official red carpet host of the film awards, says the actor she looks forward to meeting is The Descendants star, who's dating the former WWE wrestler Stacey Kleiber.

"I don't wrestle girlfriends. However, if George wants to wrestle, bring it on. Winner gets a dinner?" Miss Piggy told contactmusic.com.

Amazing Spider-Man footage teases fans

The Amazing Spider-Man dropped in on hundreds of fans on Monday, at preview events in 13 cities spanning the globe including Mexico City, Berlin, Rome and Moscow.

The event began with the debut of the 3D full-length trailer, which goes online today. It featured footage of Andrew Garfield as a charmingly awkward Peter Parker being bullied at school, testing out his new web-slinging gadgets and battling the villainous Lizard. Garfield, who appeared in the New York preview event, said Spider-Man is more than just a character, but a symbol once portrayed by Tobey Maguire and now by himself, and he hoped the next person to play the superhero would be a "half-Hispanic, half African-American actor", referencing the latest incarnation of the character in the comic books.

* Associated Press

Bollywood prays for cancer-struck Yuvraj

The Mumbai film industry came out to support the Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh, who is undergoing chemotherapy for a malignant tumour in his chest at a Boston hospital.

Amitabh Bachchan was the first to react after yesterday morning's newspapers carried the lead story on Singh's sickness. Big B tweeted: "Shocked ... Yuvraj if you read this, know that we all pray for you ... Yuvraj, get up in the morning and say it out loud: 'Everyday in every way I am getting better and better!' You will."

Indian star lectures on viral hit

The performer Dhanush lectured yesterday at the Indian Institute of Management, one of the world's leading business schools, on the phenomenon of his song that went viral on the internet.

Dhanush, the son-in-law of the Indian superstar Rajnikanth, became an overnight sensation when his song Kolaveri Di hit the web in November. Multiple versions in several Indian languages also mushroomed within no time. The song is part of the soundtrack of the Tamil romance film 3, set for release this April.

Dhanush recently signed on for his own debut Hindi film, titled Raanjhana. The actor has also been working on a music video with the Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, to be released this month.

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