The top super bowl halftime show of all time includes performances by Michael Jackson, Prince, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Lady Gaga. Each of these artists put on a show that went down in Super Bowl history as some of the best half-time entertainment ever seen.
The Superbowl halftime show is one of the most anticipated events of the year. It brings together some of the biggest musical stars in a spectacle that’s sure to entertain.
For many football fans, the Super Bowl halftime show is just as anticipated as the actual game itself. Since 1991, when New Kids on the Block performed during the halftime of Super Bowl XXV, the Super Bowl halftime show has become one of the most talked-about events in sports. While some performances have been more memorable than others, here’s a look at some of the best and most iconic Super Bowl halftime shows.
Ranking The Top Superbowl Halftime Show Performers
The Super Bowl Halftime Show has evolved from a small marching band-centric event to a blockbuster concert attracting the biggest names in music, not to mention millions of viewers.
For many years, the halftime show was fairly simple. It would simply feature a college marching band or two. The University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band performed the Liberty Bell during the first Super Bowl Halftime Show in 1960.
But that all changed in 1993 when Michael Jackson made the Super Bowl halftime show a must-see television event, and the modern halftime show took hold.
It became not only an offering of live music and entertainment for football fans waiting patiently for the third quarter to start but also a badge of honor for the artists invited to perform.
Playing the Super Bowl is one of the greatest milestones you can achieve as a musician, a singular marker of a star who’s earned their stripes as a bona fide legend
Let’s take a look at some of the top Super Bowl halftime shows ever.
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira (2020)
While Jennifer Lopez and Shakira were not the first Latinas to perform at the halftime performance, they certainly made a mark in 2020.
It was difficult to find a performer for the show due to Colin Kaepernick’s blacklisting, but the Colombian goddess and the New York Puerto Rican hustler took the stage. Shakira was on guitar, and J. Lo arrived on a stripper pole.
Emme Lopez, Lopez’s daughter, appeared during the performance and sang Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”
Shakira and JLo rocked the Super Bowl, Half-Time Show, with a spectacular performance!
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Justin Timberlake (2018)
14 years after the Janet Jackson debacle, former NSYNC leader Justin Timberlake performed at the Super Bowl halftime show. Many criticized Timberlake’s decision not to perform some of his greatest hits to promote his new album “Man of the Woods,” but it was Timberlake’s rise from the ashes of the halftime show.
Lady Gaga (2017)
Lady Gaga is one of the most diverse artists in history, and everyone was waiting to see what her halftime show would reveal. Many people wondered what Gaga would do at the Super Bowl, from her stage outfit to her song choices. Gaga chose to play “safe” by performing some of her uncontroversial hits, beginning with an arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner, but she made sure to include her queer-positive anthem, “Born This Way.”
Katy Perry (2015)
This performance was another standout moment in Super Bowl history. Katy Perry put on a show-stopping extravaganza with her song selection, including classics such as “California Gurls” and “Firework”. She also had special guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott join her on stage for their hits, making this an unforgettable experience for viewers across the world.
Bruno Mars (2014)
Bruno Mars’s performance at Super Bowl XLVIII in New York City’s first-ever Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium was the pinnacle of his career at the time. Many questioned whether the Hawaiian native had a large enough catalog for such an honor, but he outdid himself. It began with small children holding hands in front of American flags and culminated in soldiers dedicating “Just the Way You Are” to their families. The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Mars himself took part in the lighthearted and fun performance.
Beyonce stole the show with her 2013 Super Bowl performance. She performed some of her greatest hits from throughout her career, including “Crazy in Love”, “Halo” and Destiny Child’s classic hit “Single Ladies”. She even brought out Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams to join her on stage! It was an unforgettable performance that showcased Beyoncé’s vocal talent and charisma.
One of the best performances in recent memory was Prince’s show-stopping performance at Super Bowl XLI. It was hailed as one of his best shows ever and featured some of his classic hits, including “Purple Rain”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, and “Kiss”. It also featured a remarkable solo guitar rendition of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” that had everyone singing along.
The Rolling Stones (2006)
Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones’ Super Bowl performance was memorable for two reasons: the legendary band performed on a stage shaped like their logo, and they only performed three songs — Yes! They began with “Start Me Up,” followed by “Satisfaction,” and finished with “Rough Justice.”
Janet Jackson (2004)
Unfortunately, it’s not because Tom Brady won his second championship, but it’s simply because of a mishap that birthed a whole new phrase in the English language: “wardrobe malfunction”.
While Diddy performed in a sea of smoke, Nelly arrived in a giant red car to sing “Hot in Here,” and Kid Rock and Jackson ripped through 10 tracks on top of matching band interludes, the 2004 performance was overshadowed by Justin Timberlake’s “accidentally” ripping off Janet’s chest covering.
Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (1999)
This performance is possibly the least balanced on the list. These three artists may not be your first choice, but they were individually some of the biggest stars in the 1990s. Gloria Estefan was a superstar who led the “Latin invasion” era, and her 1999 co-headlining tour with Stevie Wonder was monumental in terms of bridging generations and genres. Bringing in Big Bad Voodoo Daddy may have thrown the mix off, but it resulted in a memorable moment among the greats of the 1990s.
Michael Jackson (1993)
Michael Jackson’s 1993 halftime show is still considered one of the best of all time. He sang hits like “Billie Jean” and “Black or White,” and even performed his signature moonwalk dance move which had never been seen before on a large scale. The performance was so iconic that it completely changed what we expect from a Super Bowl halftime show.
These are the top super bowl halftime show performances of all time. From Michael Jackson to Bruno Mars, each one is special in its own right and has helped shape the Super Bowl halftime show into what it is today.
While these performers may not be around forever, they have certainly left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment and sports.
There’s no doubt that future Super Bowl halftime shows will strive to top these performances.