Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows of All Time

Last Updated on February 13, 2023

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events of the year, drawing in fans from all over the world. While some watch to see the NFL season end with a bang, others tune in for the halftime show, a blockbuster concert that features A-list musicians such as Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, and Dr. Dre. The 15-minute performance is known for being over-the-top, entertaining, and full of pizzazz. 

Musicians get a chance to solidify their legacy with a one-time electric and charismatic performance that matches the excitement and physicality of the game. The show is an excellent distraction for football fans waiting patiently for the third quarter to start. 

With Rihanna’s performance coming up this weekend, we’ve decided to look at some of the best halftime shows of all time. This breakdown is based on how good the show was regarding stage presence, vibes, choreography, and vocals. 

10. Lady Gaga (2017)

When the NFL announced that Lady Gaga would perform at the halftime show in 2017, everyone was beyond excited. The eclectic artist known for her strong vocal talents, crazy stunts, provocative lyrics, and flamboyant costumes was expected to pull shocking tactics in-line with her brand.

Interestingly enough, Lady Gaga’s performance was so aggressively normal it was freaky. No surprise guests, no weird choreography – just Gaga singing her greatest hits. While some considered her performance too “vanilla” given what we’re used to seeing from her, we enjoyed the show simply because she is a force to be reckoned with.

9. Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars (2016)

The introspective soft rock band Coldplay headlined the Super Bowl 50 show in 2016 with a tame performance of their album – A Head Full of Dreams. Granted, they had show-stopping dance grooves, a marching band, and a Technicolor full floor display, they weren’t lighting up the stage. 

But all this changed when they invited two of the biggest names in the music industry – Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, who blew away the rest of the show. Beyoncé and Bruno Mars performed “Formation” and “Uptown Funk,” respectively, with mind-boggling choreography that made this halftime show memorable.

8. Madonna (2012)

Madonna showed up at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show on a throne carried by muscled, oiled men. She was dressed as a Roman with a golden headpiece. Her outfit and entrance alone made her show chilling and exciting, but her metal performance had everyone raging. She did some breakdancing, the splits, and sang her lungs out to Give Me All Your Luvin with M.IA.

7. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira (2020)

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s halftime performance was sexy, dynamic, exciting, and fresh, to say the least. The two widely-known artists provided a rapturous experience that sent chills down everyone’s spine. Their songs were catchy, exhilarating, and comforting, and their choreography was in-sync and pleasing to watch. Shakira even did a crowd surf before J. Lo showed up to perform some of her greatest hits, including Jenny From The Block.

6. Katy Perry and Missy Elliot (2015)

Katy Perry, who’s known for having a playfully cartoonish sense of style and sexually suggestive hit songs, is catapulted onto this list with the help of Missy Elliot. While Katy delivered a beyond-dazzling Vegas spectacle with some of her hit songs, Missy Elliot stole the show. Being her first high-profile performance in a while, her appearance was shocking and exhilarating. No one expected it, and the crowd went ablaze as Get Ur Freak On played.

5. Janet Jackson (2004)

It’s a bummer that people only remember this iconic performance due to the infamous “wardrobe malfunction.” At the climax of their act, Timberlake approached Janet Jackson and pulled off part of her costume, exposing her breast. There are numerous speculations from fans that the controversial moment was staged, but no official statement or confirmation has ever been released. But, exposed breast or not, Miss Janet delivered one hell of a show.

4. Dr.Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J.Blige, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar (2022)

The 2022 halftime show is one of the biggest performances of all time. Featuring legendary hip hop and RnB artists; Dr.Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J.Blige, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar, this historical performance is the first to win an Emmy Award. The artists delivered an upbeat, powerful, and entertaining show, with each musician showcasing their vocals, dance moves, and talent. Seeing great artists come together and share a stage was arguably the highlight of the game.

3. Diana Ross (1996)

Diana Ross’s 1996 halftime show was extra, bougie, and sassy. The diva entered the stage on a crane made of sparkles, eluding glamor and class. At the end of her performance, she remarked, “Oh my, here comes my ride!” as a helicopter landed and her crew whisked her away. Her exit was as badass as it was memorable.

2. Beyoncé (2013)

Beyoncé is one of the greatest artists and entertainers to grace the Super Bowl stadium. The degree of physicality she put into her performance is one to admire and adore. She not only sang from deep in her soul but also danced, which required a massive amount of breathwork, energy, and perfect coordination. Only a few artists can pull off what Beyoncé did effortlessly without gasping for oxygen. The best part of her show was when a guitarist shot fire out of her instrument. 

1. Prince (2007)

No artist on this list matches Prince’s 2007 halftime show performance. His performance was beyond electric, from his colorful blue and orange outfit to his leopard print guitar strap. The way he played the instrument, his bold setlist, and his strong vocals were chilling. There was an effortlessness to his stage presence, and he sang some of his greatest hits like Let’s Go Crazy and Proud Mary. The rocker also performed Purple Rain with an actual downpour that had fans blown away.

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