The Super Bowl is the ultimate mix of sports and entertainment. While some people will fanatically follow the game itself, many other casual fans seem to care more about the commercials and halftime performances. If you fall into that latter category, have we got a list for you! We’ve compiled the 12 most memorable Super Bowl Halftime shows. Do you agree with our list? Are there better shows that are missing? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!
The 12 Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Shows
1. Beyonce & Destiny’s Child: Super Bowl XLVII, 2013
This might have been Queen Bey’s first Superbowl performance, but it wouldn’t be the last. However, this dazzling performance would certainly help solidify her reign.
Not only were her trademark powerful vocals and complex choreography right on point, but she brought back the other two members of the late 90’s Supergroup Destiny’s Child for an emotional reunion.
2. Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band: Super Bowl XLIII, 2009
When The Boss took the stage in 2009, he was one of the only aging iconic rockers to prove that he still knows how to to have fun.
Set to a simple backdrop, Springsteen electrified the crowd and proved that he had a sense of humor doing it. “I want you to step back from the guacamole dip, I want you to put the chicken fingers down and turn your television all the way up.” He didn’t disappoint.
3. Lady Gaga: Super Bowl LI, 2017
This performance is notable because, Lady Gaga, otherwise known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, pulled off one of the most impressive entrances in Super Bowl history by creating the illusion of jumping off the wall of the studium onto the stage.
That said, hammering out eight powerful bangers and four costume changes in thirteen minutes is nothing to scoff at either.
4. Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson, Kid Rock, Nelly, and P. Diddy: Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2004
One of the highlights of this memorable performance that perfectly epitomizes the culture of excess and extravagance of the early 2000s was the infamous wardrobe malfunction that would go down in Super Bowl halftime history for years to come.
5. Patti Labelle, Tony Bennett, Arturo Sandoval, Teddy Pendergrass, and Miami Sound Machine: Super Bowl XXIX, 1995
This Disney produced classic is memorable not so much for the performances themselves, but for the borderline absurdist spectacle that came with it, including Indiana Jones flying in on a parachute and the execution of a satanic ritual.
6. Michael Jackson: Super Bowl XXVII, 1993
Despite the sketchy network footage and the obvious backtrack, this performance is still Michael Jackson doing what he does best, including moonwalking across the stage, with impressive stunts to match.
7. U2: Super Bowl XXXVI, 2002
In the recent wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, U2 opted to turn their performance into a tribute to a country that was still desperately struggling to come to grips with the devastating events that had recently transpired.
Most notably, a tear jerking live performance of “Where the Streets Have No Name” was set to a poignant backdrop of the a list of names of the victims.
8. Katy Perry with Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott: Super Bowl XLIX, 2015
Perry gives Gaga a run for her money for best entrance by riding in on the back of a oversized lion puppet, and of course, Elliot nailed it.
However, it was really the shark stationed directly to the left of Perry during her performance who would steal the show and become an instant meme sensation.
9. Diana Ross: Super Bowl XXX, 1996
Many forget that in back in the 90s when the Super Bowl halftime show was still a fresh concept, the Diva herself set the bar for the caliber of stunts and performance that is taken for granted today.
It’s worth tolerating the grainy footage and poor recorded sound quality to watch Ross pull off a costume change for every single song, capped by the grand finale where her gown literally transforms into a mountain as Ross rises up above the stage for a paradigmatic performance of “Ain’t No Mountain HIgh Enough,” shortly before blasting off in a helicopter.
10. Madonna, LMFAO, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green: Super Bowl XLVI, 2012
Madonna showed up to this iconic show to remind everyone exactly how a pop performance is done, and she didn’t disappoint.
Flanked by Nicki Minaj and a bird-flipping M.I.A., the elaborate costumes and stage lighting was over the top in all the right ways.
11. Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars: Super Bowl L, 2016
Although the headliner, Coldplay, was notably upstaged by Bruno Mar’s slick dance moves, it was Beyonce who really stole the show and made history with a performance that also doubled as a bold political statement.
12. Prince: Super Bowl XLI, 2007
The Artist Formerly Known as Prince might no longer be with us, but one of the myriad of ways his legacy lives on is through his iconic 2007 Super Bowl Halftime performance, which is widely regarded as the best Super Bowl halftime show in the history of the Super Bowl.
As real rain hammered down, Prince appropriately finished the iconic set with what might be the most impressive live rendition of Purple Rain he ever performed, while the mesmerized crowd sang along to every word.
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