Happy Birthday, Madonna! The Queen of Pop turns 54 on August 16, but she shows no sign of slowing down; in fact, if anything, she's been speeding up. Here's a list of just some of the notable things Madonna has done so far in 2012:
--Won a Golden Globe for co-writing "Masterpiece," her song from W.E., the movie she directed
--Performed at the Super Bowl
--Released her new album MDNA and saw it debut at #1 on the Billboard album chart
--Scored her 38th top 10 hit, "Gimme All Your Luvin'"
--Debuted her first perfume, Truth or Dare, as well as a designer shoe collection
--Launched her MDNA world tour, her most extensive yet
--Participated in her first-ever Twitter chat with fans
But Madonna wouldn't be Madonna if she wasn't also causing controversy and outrage, and she's done that in spades so far in 2012.
Early on in the year, Madonna gave several interviews in which she appeared to be less-than-enthusiastic about Lady Gaga's hit "Born This Way," implying that it was too similar to her own hit, "Express Yourself." She then hammered the point home by performing a mashup of the two songs on her tour. Did it bother Gaga? Well, this week, when the younger star posted a letter to her fans detailing some of her recent struggles, she made reference to "the incessant dragging of the most important single of my career in dead-beaten-horse mud."
The kickoff of Madonna's tour in Tel Aviv, Israel caused mild controversy when she gave a speech calling for peace in that troubled region. "Start now, each and every one of you. You are the future," she told the crowd. "We are the future, and if there is peace here in the Middle East, there can be peace in the whole world, OK?"
What was even more controversial, however, was the video Madonna debuted in that first show: it showed right-wing French politician Marine Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead. Le Pen and her party declared their intention to sue Madonna after she showed the same image during her show in Paris; according to The Economist, the suit was indeed filed.
Madonna caused a second controversy in Paris a few weeks later when she played an intimate concert at the L'Olympia club, which was streamed online. The show was "only" 45 minutes long -- as opposed to her regular two-hour MDNA show -- which reportedly caused some fans to boo and demand refunds. Madonna's rep stated that the show was never meant to be a full MDNA concert; Madonna later released a statement saying that the fans who booed weren't fans at all, but "thugs...pretending to be angry fans.”
Performing in Edinburgh, Scotland, Madonna angered local authorities when she refused their calls to not use the prop guns she normally brandishes in her show; the country has strict gun laws which were put in place after a 1996 school massacre. A member of her entourage reportedly told the Huffington Post, "Madonna would rather cancel her show than censor her art."
Performing in Istanbul, Turkey, Madonna caused a stir when she briefly flashed her naked breast to the crowd, and caused a similar response when she lowered her trousers on stage in Rome and showed the audience her fishnet-and-thong-clad behind.
While in Russia, Madonna pledged support for the Russian all-female punk band Pussy Riot, who were on trial for performing a song attacking Russian president Vladimir Putin at the altar of a Moscow church. Madonna said, "I think these three girls have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price for this act and I pray for their freedom." Also in Russia, Madonna spoke out against a local law banning "homosexual propaganda," resulting in a local politician to demand that she be fined, and another to imply via Twitter that she was a "whore."
Meanwhile, Madonna's longtime nemesis Elton John made headlines when he announced that the tour was "a disaster," her career was "over," and she looked like a "fairground stripper." He also complained that she'd been "horrible" to his friend Lady Gaga. There's been no response from Madonna to those comments so far.
What will Madonna get up to when the MDNA tour hits the U.S. August 28? That remains to be seen. As for her birthday, she has the day off; following a Wednesday night show in Finland, she won't perform again until Saturday, when she plays Zurich, Switzerland.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio