When it comes to the Super Bowl, everyone spends time talking about the game but we all know that the game is not the only thing that matters. The decision of who is performing at the halftime show is one that is debated all year long and, while disappointment is normally felt once the name is announced, there is no doubting that there have been some outstanding performances at Super Bowls.
Whether you like moments that are emotional, moments that are entertaining, or moments with some boobs, the halftime show has featured a lot over its history and that is not going to change any time soon. With all eyes watching, you can also expect some surprises, but for the network’s sake, let’s hope that only refers to surprise artists and not nudity.
Last year, Katy Perry showed that theatrics and even sharks belong on the big stage. What the most memorable performance at the halftime is going to depend on what type of music you enjoy, but the effort that clearly goes into the performances is usually worthy of your attention. Here are the 10 most memorable moments to come out of the halftime shows so far.
10. Michael Jackson And 3,500 Children
No matter what you choose to believe about Michael Jackson‘s personal life, there is absolutely no doubting that the man could put on a show when it mattered the most. In 1993, he was one of the biggest superstars around and put on a performance at the Super Bowl that was one for the ages. Not only did he go through many of his hits, which were set to outstanding visuals and his iconic dancing, but he also orchestrated 3,500 children to help make for a memorable and touching performance of “Heal the World”. At the very least, this is a memory of Jackson that should always live on in a positive way.
9. Rolling Stones Still Rock
I’m going to be honest, I am a massive, and I mean massive, Seattle Seahawks fan, so when my team entered Super Bowl XL against the dreaded Pittsburgh Steelers, you better believe 16-year-old Alex was nervous. What helped ease my mind was the awesome performance by The Rolling Stones at halftime. They may be old, but that just means they had countless years to learn how to rock out with the best of them. While the Super Bowl tends to be moving to more contemporary performers, there’s still some love for the classics. Not to mention, they performed on an unbelievably cool looking stage.
8. Britney, Justin And So Many More
Call me crazy but I am a huge fan of how unbelievably star studded the Super Bowl shows can be. Even if you think you know who is headlining, they tend to have some friends who always make the show worth watching. In 2001, fans got to watch Aerosmith headline. However, that was far from it, as Britney, Nelly, Mary J. Blige, and NSYNC all came out on the stage at one point or another. When you find out that they had a collaborative closing number of “Walk This Way”, you’ll probably be on your way to YouTube to watch it, or was that just me? Plus, even if you hate the music, Britney’s pants were a definite poor fashion choice and that can at least make you smirk.
7. Left Shark
As you now know, I’m a massive Seahawks fan. As a result, those halftime shows are going to stand out a bit more as memorable. That being said, no matter how sad I was last year, there was no forgetting Left Shark. Katy Perry is known for her entertainment, and she pulled out all of the stops last year. I don’t think anyone thought her shark dancing partners were going to steal the show in the way that they did. The sharks not only exploded on the internet, but continued to trend long enough to become a popular Halloween costume, which is impressive when you consider the game is in February.
6. Madonna Decides Gold Is Her Color
Similar to 2001 with Britney and company, Madonna made sure that if she was going to hit the stage for the halftime show, she was going to do so with company. The superstar not only emerged on a golden throne (seriously), she then had the classiest band around, LMFAO, join her as they did a little “Party Rock Anthem”. Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green and M.I.A also appeared at one point or another to help make for a memorable performance. Given that there are some rock legends who have been unforgettable at the halftime show, Madonna was a nice change of pace.
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers Help Shock A Record Audience
This is the last Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl entry, I swear. I mean, it’s also the last year I could pick, but nobody can dispute how awesome the Red Hot Chili Peppers are. The performance stands out not only because the Red Hot Chili Peppers managed to keep their clothes on, but also because it was broadcast to a (at the time) record-breaking 115.3 million viewers. This was a game that was 22-0 at the half and really demonstrates the powerful draw that the halftime show holds. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were a surprise to many, as the show was headlined by Bruno Mars. Mars has had some great Super Bowl performances of his own, and appeared in this past year’s halftime show as well.
4. Destiny’s Child And Beyonce’s Unflattering Photos
Did you think I was going to finish this list and not put Queen B on it? I don’t know if Beyoncé did anything that was quite as outrageous as how good she looked. The halftime show also had Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams come on stage, reuniting Destiny’s Child if only for a few brief moments. A fun fact about this performance is that some less than flattering images of Beyoncé made their way to the internet (because yay technology), which allegedly upset the superstar. Something tells me her millions of dollars and memorable performance will be enough to comfort her.
3. Purple Rain In The Rain
There are a lot of people on here who are unbelievable performers but I don’t know if there is any single person more talented than Prince. In 2007, during a torrential downpour, Prince hit the stage and performed some of his best songs, as well as covering some classics like “Along the Watchtower”. The true peak of the performance came when he performed “Purple Rain”, using a guitar that needs to be seen to believed, while the rain poured around him. Sometimes, the imagery is truly worth a thousand words.
2. U2, The Year Of 9/11
One of the toughest moments in the history of America came on September 11th, 2001. The attack left the nation stunned and searching for answers. Even sports took a brief hiatus as everyone tried to really breath in the gravity of what had just occurred. When the sports world continued and the Super Bowl became a logical end point again, the decision of who was going to be the halftime show seemed more important than ever.
After the moving performance by U2, it is hard to imagine anyone else could have been considered. The performance also included a backdrop, featuring the names of all the victims of the attacks. Bono also displayed the lining of his jacket, which just so happened to be stars and stripes, a strong sign of support.
1. Janet Jackson’s Boob
There is no way that this list would be complete without the infamous Janet Jackson ‘nip slip.’ While there is no way to ever be sure if this was a planned stunt or not, it certainly stunned the world when millions of people got a little closer than expected. For those unaware, Jackson was finishing up the song “Rock Your Body” on stage with Justin Timberlake, when Timberlake reached over and ripped off part of her dress, exposing her breast. Remember, this is live TV! Given that the nip slip happened at the very end of the song, you can imagine how it looked intentional. CBS, who was hosting the game, was fined $555,000 for the stunt and a 5-second delay was implemented on all future ‘live’ showings.