The Madonna comeback; career-defining moments when Her Majesty gave two fingers to the world

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"I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay."

The minute Madonna uttered this immortal phrase, we knew she was a woman after our own hearts. And when the 56-year-old star took a hefty tumble mid-Brit awards last night, we weren't at all surprised to see the Queen of Pop simply pick herself up and carry on. 

Ever the pro, she laughed off the Instagram, merely remarking: "My beautiful cape was tied too tight!" 

With a salute to the irrepressible spirit of one of the most enduring talents of our age, we take a look at Her Majesty's best comeback moments where she joked or relished a controversy, rebelled or reacted with grace, and generally raised a metaphorical two fingers to her critics: 

Brits fall and rise

She came, she fell - and she picked herself back up. Madonna must have suffered her fair share of bruises after taking a tumble down stairs in sky-high heels mid-way through her performance of Living For Love at the 2015 Brit Awards. And no surprises her live TV wipe-out was quick to go viral, with vines, take-offs and tweet jokes making Madge's trip a global trending topic.

But the veteran singer didn't miss a beat. Where other, less experienced stars may have frozen or be taken off-stage, she just kept on going. And later she made light of the incident, with a typically upbeat response.

"Nothing can stop me and love really lifted me up!" she wrote on Twitter, minutes after leaving the stage.

Go Madge!

'Long hair, don't care!'

Not for Madonna the restrictive conventions of female beauty.

The star did a Julia Roberts last year, by posting a hairy underarm selfie on Instragram, with the message "Long hair...... Don't Care!!!!!! #artforfreedom #rebelheart #revolutionoflove".

This at a time when most famed names were busy flooding their Instagram pages with self-congratulatory snaps of themselves looking flawless while doing yoga/sitting in a hot tub/en-route to award ceremonies.

Madonna's photo, in which she wore a fetishistic black bra and bow tie and with her hair scraped back into a bun, attracted thousands of likes. 

Crazy hydrangea video

After a clip of her bad-mouthing a fan who handed her hydrangeas became a global phenomenon a few years back, Madonna hit back in true style.

Instead of issuing an awkward apology or glossing over the incident, the singer relished the controversy by creating a spoof video of herself entitled Madonna's Love Letter to Hydrangeas

To the soundtrack from the cult movie The Godfather, the video sees Madonna stroking the flowers with the caption "You have no idea how many nights I have lost thinking how I hurt you."

The video continues in similar vein until suddenly the soundtrack stops and she throws the flowers to the floor and stamps on them furiously. "I'm still left with the fact I still hate hydrangeas! And I will always hate them!," the caption reads. "It's a free country! So f**k you, I like roses!"


The Britney kiss

Only Madonna could, at the age of 45, have two pop stars half her age vie to snog her. 

When Madge locked lips with Britney Spears, 21 and 22-year-old Christina Aguilera at the 2003 VMAs, the world was temporarily stunned. But it soon became one of the most iconic moments in the show's history - and a testament of Madonna's cult status, in a moment that chimed perfectly with her ability to simultaneously raise a million eyebrows around the world. 

Not only that, but it seemed everyone wanted in on the action. Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon said "I wish it was me she was snogging" while comedian Chris Rock noted, "That kiss was good, but where was mine?"

Her appetite for controversy sated, Madonna quickly moved on - although she did recently admit her then husband Guy Ritchie didn't approve of the whole stunt.

"I don’t think my ex-husband approved of it. Or, maybe he didn’t understand it," she said. "I don’t think he understood my provocation. He was not a fan of me kissing Britney Spears onstage, for instance. Was that provocative? I think it was. I mean, now it wouldn’t be."

Saying it like it is

Madonna has literally never been afraid to voice her opinion. 

Whether it's racism, homophobia or the sexual repression of older women in pop culture, she'll always call out the injustices she sees - as this recent post on her Instagram feed illustrates.

And while her opinions and comments aren't always welcome by some - and have indeed, landed her in hot water on occasion - she doesn't care about ruffling feathers. When certain commentators say she should exercise restraint in how she expresses herself, we say: bring it on.

It's so refreshing to have someone in the spotlight who's unafraid and unguarded in what they have to say. 

The six songs release

OK, there's no denying that Madonna was annoyed by the recent leaking of tracks from her new album, Rebel Heart. But she quickly rallied, releasing six songs from the forthcoming release as "an early Christmas gift" for her fans. 

Responding to early mix leaks of 13 tracks from the album, Madonna put six official versions of the songs up for sale on iTunes and other digital music retailers, effective immediately. 

"I was hoping to release my new single Living for Love on Valentine's Day with the rest of the album coming in the spring," she said in a statement. "I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the incomplete tracks that are circulating. Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift."

She keeps us guessing

Perhaps why we love Madonna the most - and why she flourishes so much as comeback queen - is that she just keeps us guessing, all the time.

She can do rebellious and provocative, graceful and ladylike, and after four four decades in the entertainment industry she still knows how to provoke a reaction. 

This is a woman who has many different facets to her personality, and knows exactly how to use them. A far cry from some of the more bland and predictable stars we have on the scene today.  

She's strong, argumentative, sexy, poised and above all, resilient.

Long may she reign!

Words: Anna Brech

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Stylist Team