One of the biggest events in sports entertainment is the Super Bowl halftime show with millions of viewers tuning in from around the world to watch some of the biggest musical acts on stage. Over the years, there have been many memorable halftime performances, and in this blog, we’ll be counting down the top 5 Super Bowl halftime performances of all time.
From Prince’s iconic rain-soaked performance to Beyoncé and Bruno Mars’ high-energy extravaganza, these are the Super Bowl halftime shows that left a lasting impression and are still talked about years later.
As a side note, the Super Bowl 2023 just ended on 12th Feb. A highlight of this halftime show was Rihanna’s performance. While it was not flashy as the previous years, Rihanna’s effortless grace, charm and confidence on stage (that too singing live after years of isolation) was simply amazing. This was the kind of performance only she could pull off. Besides, it was incredible to see her perform so many recognizable hits. You could feel instant nostalgia with these songs.
That being said, let’s dive into the top 5 Super Bowl halftime performances!
Performances that Rocked the Super Bowl Halftime Show
5. Michael Jackson (1993)
Michael Jackson was much ahead of his time, as evidenced by the fact that his halftime show from 1993 is still highly regarded in 2023. He performed “We Are the World” with a children’s choir and then “Heal the World” while a huge globe inflated in the centre of the stage, albeit he didn’t delve too far into his vast catalogue. He moonwalked across the stage as he sang “Billie Jean” as well.
The King of Pop is without a doubt the most remembered performer, even if he was the first celebrity to appear at the Super Bowl, therefore ending the marching band era as we knew it. Besides, it was a landmark moment in Super Bowl history and is widely considered one of the greatest halftime shows of all time.
Jackson’s performance was watched by millions of people around the world and featured some of his biggest hits, including “Jam,” “Billie Jean,” and “Black or White.” In essence, the performance was a testament to Jackson’s status as one of the biggest pop stars of all time and helped to further cement his place in music history.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsopN7JKUVs
4. Dr Dre and Friends (2022)
This edition had the world’s biggest and most well-known hip-hop and R&B legends that delivered the most entertaining Super Bowl halftime show in years. This was just last year and the hip-hop show was “lit.”
During the show, Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg started with the songs “The Next Episode” and “California Love,” which was followed by 50 Cent’s “In da Club,” track. Mary J. Blige sang “Family Affair” and Kendrick Lamar was all out rapping “Alright” before the show ended with Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and Dre’s “Still D.R.E.” songs.
More significantly, as a result of the outstanding performance and legendary nature of the halftime show, which featured these huge names in the music industry, the halftime show won an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live). It was a historic first win for the halftime show in the category.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdsUKphmB3Y
3. Katy Perry (2015)
Katy Perry’s halftime show performance at Super Bowl XLIX took place on February 1st, 2015. The show was held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona and was watched by millions of people all around the world. Katy Perry’s performance was highly praised for its spectacular stage design, special effects, and memorable musical numbers, which included some of her biggest hits, such as “Roar” and “Firework.”
Some of the most memorable moments were when Katy Perry rode in on the back of a huge lion puppet and when she was pulled through the air while singing “Firework.” All in all, she put on a great show with the colours, the costume changes, and the lights, it was exciting and fun.
The show was also notable for its guest appearances, including Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott who also performed their upbeat originals.
Overall, Katy Perry’s halftime show was one of the most talked-about moments of Super Bowl XLIX and solidified her reputation as one of the biggest pop stars in the world.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD1QrIe–_Y
2. Coldplay – Featuring Beyoncé and Bruno Mars (2016)
Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars performed together during the halftime show at Super Bowl 50, which was held in 2016. The performance was a medley of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” Beyoncé’s “Formation,” and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” It was a highly-anticipated and well-received performance, with all three artists bringing their own unique style and energy to the stage.
Coldplay’s eventual ascent to Super Bowl status was inconceivable when they made their alt-rock debut with “Yellow” in 2000. Well, the band eventually conquered the world with their introspective soft rock, and prior to performing at Super Bowl 50, it infused its music with dance grooves and new colours with the “A Head Full of Dreams” LP.
Meanwhile, the duel between Bruno Mars and Beyoncé’s dance teams was unstoppable as they introduced their respective then-new tunes “Uptown Funk!” and “Formation.”
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9cUytejf1k
1. Prince (2007)
Prince surely delivered one of the best Super Bowl halftime performances of all time, with a memorable performance in the rain that included hits such as “Purple Rain,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “Baby I’m a Star.”
The performance was a testament to Prince’s immense talent and showmanship, and is still remembered and celebrated by fans today. Before Prince rocked Super Bowl XLI, making it the best halftime concert ever, no one realised how much we wanted to hear him backed by a brass marching band. Additionally, following his passing in 2016, the act gained more notoriety.
He combined his own compositions with covers of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” and the Foo Fighters’ “Best of You.” With the most flawless performance of Purple Rain, which featured an epic guitar solo in the rain, he brought the show to a close.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WYYlRArn3g
Some Other Popular Mentions
While the Super Bowl halftime show is a much-anticipated event there have been many other entertaining performances. Here are some of the notable performances:
– Madonna (Super Bowl XLVI, 2012) – Madonna’s high-energy performance included an army of dancers, acrobatics, and a rendition of “Vogue.”
– Lady Gaga (Super Bowl LI, 2017) – Lady Gaga’s halftime show was a visual spectacle, featuring her biggest hits and a rendition of “God Bless America.”
– U2 (Super Bowl XXXVI, 2002) – U2’s patriotic performance in the aftermath of 9/11 was a moving tribute to the victims of the tragedy.
– Justin Timberlake (Super Bowl LII, 2018) – Justin Timberlake brought a mix of old and new hits, as well as a tribute to Prince, to the Super Bowl halftime stage.
These are just a few of the many memorable Super Bowl halftime performances. The halftime show is always a highly watched event, and it’s always interesting to see what new and exciting acts will be featured each year.