In case, you have not heard…the Super Bowl is today! Lady Gaga will have the honor of headlining the always fun Super Bowl Halftime Show. But before Mother Monster and her crew take over the NRG Stadium, here are some of my favorite Super Bowl Halftime Shows of All-time.
#8: Bruno Mars (Super Bowl 48; 2014)
Bruno Mars kicks off our countdown! I believe after this performance, Bruno Mars solidified his position as one of the most talented artists of his generation. His nearly 13-minute set featured a children’s choir singing “Billionaire,” an electrifying drum solo, and a superb medley of his hits such as “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Treasure,” “Runaway Baby,” and “Just the Way You Are.” Another plus was the surprise appearance of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who performed “Look Away” with Mr. Mars.
#7: Madonna (Super Bowl 46; 2012)
The Queen of Pop recruited an army of thousands for her halftime show at the Lucas Oil Stadium. Madonna weaved dozens of shirtless bodybuilders, a slackliner, members of Cirque du Soleil, four high school drumlines, and a 200-member choir into her nearly 13-minute show. She also premiered her latest single: “Give Me All Your Luvin’” with M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, danced with LMFAO, and did two spectacular numbers with former Voice coach CeeLo Green. I thought it would be hard to top Madonna, but…
#6: Beyonce (Super Bowl 47; 2013)
Beyonce picked up Madonna’s gauntlet and created a spectacular performance at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome! Queen B’s set provided every viewer with everything from singing a few bars of “Love on Top” a cappella to delivering a much asked-for and highly anticipated reunion with Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The “Daddy Lessons” singer raised the bar for every future halftime show performer to include a stimulating visual experience.
#5: Aerosmith, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, & Nelly (Super Bowl 35; 2001)
The last Super Bowl Halftime Show before the horrific events of 9/11 brought together five masters of four musical genres: pop, rock, soul, and rap together for one iconic set. After a pre-recorded skit that featured Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler, *NSYNC kicked off the performance with “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me.” Aerosmith followed it with their Oscar-nominated hit: “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and “Jaded.” Britney, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly joined the group for a memorable “Walk This Way” that will always be ingrained in the minds of millennials everywhere.
#4: Stevie Wonder & Gloria Estefan (Super Bowl 33; 1999)
Two of my favorite music legends came together for the last Super Bowl Halftime Show before the New Millennium. After a cameo from E.T., special guests Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and an army of swing dancers kicked off the Miami party with a quick nod to swing music. Stevie Wonder “drove” to the stage and took the set to the next level with a unique medley of “Sir Duke,” “Sunshine of My Life,” and “I Wish.” Then, the Queen of Latin Pop rocked Miami with “Oye” and “Turn the Beat Around.” The duo ended their set with a colorful finale that included a medley of hits including “You’ll Be Mine (Party Time),” “Another Star,” and “My Cherie Amour.” This halftime show remains one of the best Super Bowl performances from my childhood!
#3: Bruce Springsteen (Super Bowl 43; 2009)
Ten years later, another one of my all-time favorites: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band took the Super Bowl by storm. This show was not only awe-inspiring, but it is the most motivational show of the past 15 years. I got chills from the first notes of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” to the time that the choir came in to perform “Working on a Dream.” I wished that I was in that mosh pit during that song and “Glory Days.” No rocker present or future will rock the Super Bowl harder than the Boss!
#2: Prince (Super Bowl 41; 2007)
It is hard to believe that Prince passed away almost one year ago and that his spectacular show turns 10-years-old in a few days. The Purple One braved the elements to deliver a high voltage rock-soul show for the ages that featured some of Prince’s iconic songs such as “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Baby I’m A Star.” He also shared his takes on “All Along the Watchtower,” “Best of You,” and “Proud Mary.” Finally, Prince ended his epic show with “Purple Rain.” Prince’s set will always be the best Super Bowl halftime show performance of the 21st century, and I do not think that no one will match its intensity and celebration of life.
#1: Michael Jackson (Super Bowl 27; 1993)
The King of Pop has the distinguished honor of taking the top spot in this countdown! Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl Halftime Show performance is claimed by numerous media outlets that MJ’s nearly 13-minute set was one of the most watched events in television history. This performance set so many precedents that the NFL started going after A-list entertainment to headline the halftime show. Jackson performed “Billie Jean” along with a bunch of hits from his 1991 Dangerous album that included “Jam,” “Black or White,” and “Heal the World.” Today, we talk more about the game and always forget the ads or who performed at the halftime show. The King of Pop made his performance about brotherhood, unity, and hope. A message that we need more than ever.
I do not own any of the clips that are featured in this article. They belong to the National Football League and their respective television networks.