We are witnessing that all of the biggest events in the world attract a massive number of viewers. However, only a small number of them can compare themselves to the Super Bowl. Ad slots that appear on television during this even are the most expensive ones in the world. For 30 seconds, companies are required to pay $5.6 million. Naturally, you can see that this even became one of the biggest gigs of the year. When you are looking back to the origins of the event, since 1960, the nature of it changed massively. At that time, in 1960 halftime consisted only of the performance of the liberty bell by Arizona University’s marching band.
Today, all of these events are planned so carefully, that its preparation can be compared to Oscars or Grammys. In 2020, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are going to appear on the stage of Hard Rock Stadium. Also, it is important to know that this year’s event is going to be organized in Miami Gardens, Florida. Naturally, the crowd is there to witness the biggest game of the year between Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. However, entertainment performed at the halftime of the game can provide the crowd with more pleasant experiences than the game itself. It is important to point out that this is not a ranking, we are just pointing out the best performances. This was the reason we’ve decided to make a list of the best super bowl halftimes ever. With that said, let us begin.
1993 – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson’s performance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena back in 1993 is considered to be a turning point when it comes to super bowl becoming one of the most sought-after events in the history of the United States. The production began with him appearing on each of the massive screens along with several stunt doubles who appeared in a puff of smoke.
Jackson himself was dressed as a dictator from the Middle East. He started jumping on the center of the stage and the crowd approved his performance. He opened his performance with an 80s hit Billie Jean, he continued with one of the most popular songs from 90s, Black or White. Finally, the performance was completed with Heal the World and We are the World. For the last two songs, he was accompanied by choir-heavy singalongs.
2001 – Mary J Blige, Britney Spears, ‘NSync, and Aerosmith
In 2001, the whole of the United States witnessed one of the most interesting super bowl performances. The combination of Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Mary J Blige, and ‘NSync proved to be one of the most interesting ones ever. The event began on a high note with Aerosmith’s Don’t Want to Miss A Thing and ‘NSync’s Bye Bye Bye.
Without any doubt, one of the best intros ever. Later, Spears and Mary J Blige joined forces in order to perform For Walk This Way. During the performance, they had a couple of vocalists. Later, the event was made even better by the guitar fireworks from Joe Perry.
2002 – U2
Back in 2002, in New Orleans, on the halftime of the super bowl, U2’s made her memorable performance. It is important to point out that U2 opted for a more personal approach. Bono walked on the stage that already featured other members of the band through the crowd. He was welcomed by the strains of Beautiful Day. This was the first super bowl halftime event that was organized after the attack on the eleventh of September.
The list of all of the people who perished on the day of the attack was shown on a widescreen behind the band during the performance of U2’s popular song Streets Have No Name. There are many different opinions about this popular group. However, one thing about them cannot be denied. We are thinking about their ability to turn stadiums into some kind of communal service. This super bowl halftime was a perfect moment for them to do their thing the best way they can.
2004 – P Diddy, Janet Jackson, Jessica Simpson, Kid Rock, Justin Timberlake, and Nelly
Now, we are going to ask you some questions. You can think about it as a music pub quiz. Can you name at least one of the numbers of Kid Rock? What was the opening song by Jessica Simpson? Which song was changed to namecheck P Diddy? The reason we ask is, we don’t remember. The reason we can’t remember because this was the night a new word was introduced in the English language, wardrobe malfunction.
During that night, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson had a performance of sorts. After ten songs that were performed on the halftime, they teamed up for a song called “Rock Your Body”. During the performance, Timberlake exposed Jackson’s nipple because he ripped a part of her dress. Some lawsuits and fines followed and her music was banned from music video channels and radio. The reason was that many people presume that this was a stunt.
2007 – Prince
We are pretty certain that not many people were aware that they want to witness Prince’s performance on the super bowl before it actually happened. He performed at the stadium of the Miami Dolphins. The weather wasn’t looking too good for this event. That didn’t stop Prince from giving us what is considered to be the best appearance on the super bowl halftime ever. He appeared dressed in his trademark clothing and he opened with Queen’s We Will Rock You.
Later, he continued with his massive hits Baby I’m a Star and Let’s Go Crazy. After this song, he started performing Bob Dylan’s, Foo Fighters, and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s songs. In the end, heavens opened as Prince performed Purple Rain. As we said, this is widely considered to be the best super bowl performance ever.
2009 – Bruce Springsteen
Fans of Springsteen can thank Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for their appearance on the super bowl in 2009. Charles Coplin, the head of NFL’s programming was on his way home when he got an email from Jon Landau, Springsteen’s manager. In the email, Landau congratulated him on the Petty show. John was trying to see if there is a possibility of his client appearing on the super bowl halftime. Coplin later told Rolling Stone that he has happy that they were interested in appearing in their event.
This resulted in Bruce Springsteen and his band, the E Street Band appearing at the super bowl halftime in Tampa Bay, Florida. In the beginning, Bruce was thundering into the mic and similarly to a preacher, he said that they are going to bring the might power of his band into the home of the spectators. Also, he told the audience to turn their television all the way up. There were no special effects in terms of video trickery or drones. Instead, it was just a raw band with a military tightness.
2012 – Cee-Lo Green, Nicki Minaj, Mia, LMFAO, and Madona
As the grandmaster she is, Madonna started her performance at the Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, on a high note. She was surrounded by dancers dressed as a phalanx of oiled warriors. She looked like Cleopatra. The crowd was pretty pleased with her performance. Naturally, this wasn’t only her show, because we’ve witnessed performances of the rising hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj, rapper MIA, dance act LMFAO, and Cee-Lo Green.
This performance occurred about a decade after Madonna caused controversy after she kissed Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears on MTV Music Awards. But this event couldn’t finish without at least some minor controversies. A person responsible for a minor scandal was MIA. She caused it by flipping the bird near the end of her guest rap.
2013 – Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé
Before Beyoncé’s appearance on the super bowl, she was somewhat lip-synched at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration. She admitted so on the press before the super bowl performance. The crowd sensed that she has something to prove on this performance. Surely, there was quite a fire in her stomach before she made an appearance on Mercedes-Benz Stadium in New Orleans. It was planned for Jay-Z to make an appearance as well, but that didn’t happen.
It turned out to be a hell of ladies’ night. All the backing band members, all the dancers, and her former bandmates from Destiny’s Child, Michelle Williams, and Kelly Rowland were ladies. She started with Bootylicious, her former bandmates joined her on performing Run the World. This performance was considered as a comeback of sorts after several years of badmouthing of this popular star. We can say that she also silenced people who talked about her live abilities.
2015 – Missy Elliott, Lenny Kravitz, and Katy Perry
What do you think about a surreal chessboard, which looks like it just came up from Alice in Wonderland? Giant puppet tiger? Dancing palm trees, sharks, and beach balls? All of these were featured on the super bowl halftime back in 2015. Lenny Kravitz’s performance can be called as a laid back, simple, but powerful performance that leaves the crowd ecstatic.
After him, the stage turned to Katy Perry’s California Gurls and Teenage Dreams. Later we get to see Missy Elliot’s Get Ur Freak On. This was one of the biggest mood changes in the history of the super bowl halftimes. We even witnessed sharks that were dressed in oversized football shirts. This combination of hip-hop, retro rock, and retro pop, is still considered to be one of the greatest super bowl performances ever.
2017 – Lady Gaga
Do you think that Lady Gaga and American football have some ties? We certainly don’t. However, she became very popular for her performances and the super bowl was considered as the next logical step. Some people are even saying that there is not a show similar to Lady Gaga’s show. At first, she performed the national anthem of the United States. After that, she performed Pete Seeger’s The Pledge of Allegiance and This Land is Your Land.
More than 300 drones were flying in order to create stripes and stars flag. She zip wired onto the stage and she landed on a tower that reminded people of a building that was featured in a post-apocalyptic movie, Blade Runner. This was the perfect moment for her to sing her massive hit, Poker Face. Later, her performance was enriched with her costume, designed by Versace, and choreography similar to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. She was surrounded by zombified football players. It was quite a show to start the second half with.