Top 10 Best Super Bowl Halftime Show Performances

Best Super Bowl Halftime Show Performances

The Super Bowl halftime show has become a major pop culture event, sometimes overshadowing the game itself. Over the decades, it has featured some of the biggest musical acts in the world.

The halftime show has evolved into a must-see spectacle, with dazzling productions, surprise guests, and iconic performances. This article will count down the top 10 best Super Bowl halftime shows of all time.

Top 10 Best Super Bowl Halftime Show Performances

Prince (Super Bowl XLI, 2007) 

In the pouring rain, Prince delivered an electric performance to close out Super Bowl XLI in 2007. He raced through a medley of his hits like “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby I’m a Star,” and “Purple Rain.” The downpour only added intensity as Prince wailed on his guitar solo through a swirling wind. It culminated in one of the most iconic conclusions ever, as Prince shredded his guitar silhouette against a giant projection of the Prince symbol.

Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child (Super Bowl XLVII, 2013)

Beyoncé proved herself as the queen of halftime with an unforgettable performance at Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. She opened with a sultry rendition of “Crazy in Love” before being joined on stage by Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for a surprise Destiny’s Child reunion. The trio blazed through “Bootylicious” and “Independent Women” as Beyoncé danced fiercely and nailed every note. She returned solo to amaze with “Halo” and introduce the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Michael Jackson (Super Bowl XXVII, 1993) 

The King of Pop pioneered the Super Bowl halftime show as a must-see event with his iconic set at Super Bowl XXVII in 1993. Michael Jackson was at the peak of his powers, moonwalking through “Billie Jean” and captivating the world with his first ever live performance of “Black or White.” He made the Super Bowl halftime show a global phenomenon for the first time, watched by an estimated 133 million viewers.

Bruno Mars (Super Bowl XLVIII, 2014)

Bruno Mars brought back the old school vibes with his retro halftime show at Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. He came out grooving through “Locked Out of Heaven” in a shiny gold blazer and red bandana. Mars smoothly segued into hits like “Treasure” before being joined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers for “Give It Away.” His infectious energy had the whole stadium dancing along in an upbeat blast from the past.

Lady Gaga (Super Bowl LI, 2017)

Lady Gaga put on an electrifying show at Super Bowl LI in 2017, starting on the roof of the stadium before ziplining down. She belted out anthems like “Edge of Glory,” “Born this Way,” “Poker Face,” and “Bad Romance” with high-flying athletics and pyrotechnics blazing around her. In a patriotic red, white and blue finale, she sang “Million Reasons” on a diamond-shaped stage lifted high in the air.

Katy Perry (Super Bowl XLIX, 2015)

Katy Perry entered a psychedelic pop dreamscape for her colorful performance at Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. She rode in on a giant mechanical tiger, warbling “Roar” before bringing out trippy beach balls for “California Gurls.” Lenny Kravitz joined for “I Kissed a Girl” and Missy Elliott surprised for throwbacks like “Get Ur Freak On.” Perry capped it off soaring through the air on a shooting star platform, fireworks ablaze.

The Rolling Stones (Super Bowl XLVII, 2006)

Rock legends The Rolling Stones proved why they are still going strong at Super Bowl XLVII in 2006. Their energetic set opened with explosions as Mick Jagger came out furiously singing “Start Me Up.” Keith Richards dueled with Ronnie Wood on guitar solos as the band powered through classics like “Rough Justice” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” It was a masterclass in pure rock and roll from one of the greatest bands of all time.

Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars (Super Bowl 50, 2016)

The Super Bowl 50 halftime show in 2016 was an all-star extravaganza featuring Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars. Coldplay kicked it off with “Viva la Vida” and “Paradise” before Beyoncé slayed with “Formation.” Bruno Mars followed up with “Uptown Funk” in a dance-off with Beyoncé’s dancers. The three acts came together for a colorful finale mashup of “Fix You/Uptown Funk/Crazy in Love.”

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez (Super Bowl LIV, 2020)

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez made history as the first Latinas to headline the halftime show with an electric performance at Super Bowl LIV in 2020. Shakira opened with hits like “She Wolf” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” crowd surfing into a salsa breakdown. JLo entered in a daring leather catsuit belting “Jenny from the Block” and “Get Right.” Their high-energy set celebrated Latin culture on music’s biggest stage.

Rihanna (Super Bowl LVII, 2023)

After years of anticipation, global superstar Rihanna finally took the Super Bowl halftime stage this year at Super Bowl LVII. She immediately impressed, floating high above the field suspended on a transparent platform. Gliding down, she broke into dancehall bangers like “Rude Boy” and “Work,” showing off her Caribbean roots. Rihanna moved through smash hits from across her career, like “Umbrella,” “We Found Love,” and “Diamonds.” If her first live show in years is any indication, Rihanna remains an electrifying performer.

Other Notable Performances

While they may not crack the top 10, here are some other memorable Super Bowl halftime shows:

U2 (Super Bowl XXXVI, 2002):U2 paid solemn tribute to the victims of 9/11, as the names of those lost scrolled on a screen while the band played “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Super Bowl XLIII, 2009):The Boss lived up to his nickname with a high-octane rock set punctuated by his iconic knee slide across the stage.

Madonna (Super Bowl XLVI, 2012): Madonna entered as a Roman goddess on a golden throne, leading a spectacle with guest stars LMFAO, CeeLo Green, Nicki Minaj, and M.I.A.

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2004): This controversial halftime show ended with Timberlake briefly exposing Jackson’s breast on live TV, now known as a “wardrobe malfunction.”

Aerosmith, NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly (Super Bowl XXXV, 2001): This jam-packed lineup collaborated on mashups, like NSYNC joining Aerosmith for “Walk This Way.”

 Conclusion

Throughout its decades-long history, the Super Bowl halftime show has provided some of the most talked about and indelible musical moments ever televised. The performers who have graced the stage represent the biggest hitmakers and icons in the music world. With such an enormous global platform, the pressure is massive to put on an entertaining, flawless and memorable show. The artists who rank among the best like Prince, Michael Jackson, and Beyoncé have managed to thrive under the spotlight and deliver legendary performances that stand the test of time. Check out here more Pop Culture Listicle Content and media.

FAQs:

Q. What was the “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl?

A. This refers to when Justin Timberlake accidentally exposed Janet Jackson’s breast during their controversial duet performance.

Q. Who was the oldest performer at the Super Bowl halftime show?

A.  The Rolling Stones hold the record for oldest halftime performers. Mick Jagger was 62 and Keith Richards was 58 during their 2006 show.

Q. What female artist has the most Super Bowl halftime show appearances?

A. Gloria Estefan has performed 3 times (1992, 1995, 1999), more than any other female artist.

Q. Who turned down offers to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show?

A. Several artists like Rihanna, P!nk and Cardi B reportedly turned down offers due to the NFL’s controversies.

Q. What was the most popular Super Bowl halftime show on YouTube?

A. Katy Perry’s 2015 show with over 118 million views edges out Madonna’s 2012 show with 114 million views as the most watched on YouTube.