Some only watch the big game for the Halftime show, others leave it on in the background while the trough of deep-fried goodness is revisited. You may have no interest in the performer, but the Super Bowl Halftime Show is more about the entertainment and performance from the artist than the artist itself. It’s meant to be a spectacle for the largest recorded T.V. audience in U.S. history, right behind the Apollo 11 moon landing. The halftime show has come to be an event all on its own, and 2021 is going to have to come up with something really out there to compete with the round-up of legendary performances below.
PRINCE - XLI - MIAMI - 2007
In the pouring rain, no doubt, Prince undoubtedly holds claim to the best Super Bowl Halftime Show to date. Starting with Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and transcending through some of The Artist Formerly Known as the Symbol’s best before closing out the 15 min performance with “Purple Rain.” The set was 100% performance and pure entertainment. Prince delivered only as he can and quite possibly outshined the Colts’ victory.
MICHAEL JACKSON - XXVII - ROSE BOWL - 1993
Michael Jackson was the first performer to headline a Halftime Show prior to Superbowl XXVII, and the NFL had not realized the marketing and advertising platform of the time slot. And because it was the first, they had to have the best. MJ demanded with 3 full min of notoriety to start the show, performed “We are the World” with a children’s choir, and moonwalked right along with “Billie Jean.” And while there were a few miscues along the way, because it was the first true Halftime Show, Michael Jackson was/is the King of Pop.
JANET JACKSON, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, P. DIDDY, NELLY - XXXVIII - HOUSTON - 2004
More formally known as the Nipplegate due to the infamous wardrobe malfunction, the best of TRL took the stage in Houston. The show covered every demographic and in 2004, it was the best of the best. Janet Jackson for sex appeal, JT to bring the pop, Nelly getting “Hot in Herre”, Diddy dancing around, and Kid Rock headbanging his trailer rock anthems. And while the only thing talked about after the game was the nipple with a mention of the Patriots defending their title, the XXXVIII Halftime Show still holds up today.
BLUES BROTHERS, ZZ TOP, and JAMES BROWN - XXXI - NEW ORLEANS - 1997
The Blues Brothers were a charismatic crew from Hollywood that fell upon the Superbowl XXXI Halftime Show with none other than ZZ Top and King of Funk, James Brown. The show starts off with a corky news update informing the crowd that Elwood Blues has recently escaped from prison, possibly traveling with two accomplices, on a mission from God. With rock, funk, and the Blues this Halftime Show had a little bit for everyone… over the age of 30. And even today, it’s still pretty incredible to see James Brown up on stage in the red velvet getup.
BRUNO MARS AND RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS - XLVIII - MET LIFE - 2014
In 2014 Bruno Mars was not the start-studded performer he is today and thus the NFL brought in the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a safety net. But opening the show with a drum solo before joining his dynamic band, Bruno Mars brought the funk party to Superbowl XLVIII. The gold jackets, fancy footwork, and string plucking from the infamous Flea proved to be more than anyone could’ve hoped for, showcasing an outright entertaining performance. So much in fact that Bruno Mars was invited back a few years later to share the stage with Beyonce and Coldplay.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - XLIII - TAMPA - 2009
What else needs to be said other than Bruce was The Boss for his Superbowl XLIII performance. He was the perfect selection to bring rock back to Halftime and with the assistance of a joyful choir, Springsteen brought the house down. He hit the crowd and viewers at home with “Glory Days” and “Born to Run” and unlike previous aging rock musicians to take the Superbowl stage, The Boss delivered a full-on, segmented rendition of any one of his concerts. And in true performer fashion, Springsteen knew exactly where he was when he said, “put the chicken wings down and turn your television all the way up!”
THE WEEKND - LV - TAMPA -2021
And here we are, The Weekend gets a shot to make his mark in the history of the coveted Halftime Show. From music fans to sports betters, we await his moment in the spotlight and are sure there will be a few surprises, planned and not planned. Enjoy the “Big Game” and turn up the volume!
Outkast could’ve prevented Nipplegate by declining the invitation to perform
Super Bowl XXIII was entertained by an Elvis impersonating magician
The New Kids on the Block got bumped to after the game due to Desert Storm coverage
Halftime performers don’t get paid, it’s all about the publicity in front of over a hundred million viewers