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Top 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Shows
If the only reason you tune into the Super Bowl is to see the halftime show (and the Doritos commercials), then you’ve come to the right spot.
It’s the spectacle we wait all year for—who will perform in the next halftime show?
And for the most part, they just keep getting better. How could you possibly top Shakira and J.Lo? Oh yeah, by celebrating the ENTIRE history of rap with names like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Mary J. Blige.
Even if you’re watching from your living room, covered in nacho cheese dip, you can feel the energy that comes from screaming fans and the performance of a lifetime. And they’ve come a long way since the marching band performances from the 1960s. Today, every performer pushes it to the limit with fireworks and elaborate costumes. You almost forget there’s still a game to finish…
No doubt about it, the Super Bowl halftime show has become one of the most highly-anticipated musical performances of the year. Let’s look back at the ten most memorable Super Bowl halftime shows.
10 Snoop Dogg (Super Bowl LVI, 2022)
The 2022 Super Bowl halftime show was a hip-hop lover’s dream come true. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar took the stage and delivered a performance that will go down in history. The show celebrated hip-hop and R&B, and it was clear that the artists were there to have a good time and put on a show for the fans.
The set design was out of this world, with the stage resembling a spaceship. The artists brought their A-game, each delivering a standout performance showcasing their unique style and sound. The tribute to Nipsey Hussle was a touching moment that brought tears to many eyes.
One of the show’s most memorable moments was when Eminem took a knee during his performance of “Lose Yourself.” It was a powerful statement against police brutality and racial injustice, and it sparked a conversation about the role of activism in music.
9 Michael Jackson (Super Bowl XXVII, 1993)
Let’s take it back to 1993 with Super Bowl XXVII. The air was electric as fans eagerly awaited the halftime show. Suddenly, the stage lit up, and there he was, the one and only King of Pop, Michael Jackson! As soon as Jackson hit the stage, the crowd went wild. He stood motionless for what felt like an eternity, and just when you thought he was frozen, he broke into his signature dance moves, leaving everyone in awe.
For over 12 minutes, Jackson had the entire stadium in the palm of his hand, belting out classics like “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” and “We Are the World.” The energy in the stadium was palpable as Jackson worked his magic, and you couldn’t help but dance along.
The highlight of Jackson’s performance was his unforgettable rendition of “Heal the World.” Standing on top of a massive globe, he invited the audience to join him in a call for global unity and peace. It was an emotional moment that brought the stadium to its feet, with fans swaying and singing along in perfect harmony.
8 Prince (Super Bowl XLI, 2007)
Welcome to Super Bowl XLI in 2007, where the halftime show featured an unforgettable performance from the legendary Prince. The crowd was buzzing as they eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Purple One.
As the curtain lifted, Prince appeared on stage, dressed in a bright orange suit and flowing shirt. The energy was palpable as he kicked off his set with “Let’s Go Crazy.” His electrifying guitar riffs and energetic dance moves immediately entranced the audience.
Prince’s performance was a medley of his classic hits and covers of other popular songs, including “Purple Rain.” As he sang, a downpour of rain began, and the stadium was illuminated in purple lights. The scene was surreal, and fans sang along to every word.
The highlight of Prince’s performance came during his cover of “Best of You” by the Foo Fighters. As he played his guitar, a massive sheet was projected behind him, creating a silhouette of the artist. His shadow was projected, creating an unforgettable moment that left the crowd speechless.
7 Beyoncé (Super Bowl XLVII, 2013)
The Super Bowl XLVII halftime show in 2013 was lit, thanks to the mesmerizing performance by the one and only Beyoncé. From the moment she stepped onto the stage, it was clear this would be a performance to remember.
Queen Bae’s set was a stunning display of dance, lights, and pyrotechnics, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats. Her “Love on Top” opener set the tone for what was to come, with Beyoncé delivering energetic dance moves that kept the stadium buzzing with excitement.
Beyoncé performed a medley of her greatest hits, including “Crazy in Love” and “End of Time.” The stage was transformed into a sea of flames, with Beyoncé at the center, delivering fierce dance moves and showcasing her signature vocal range.
Like the icon she is, Beyoncé’s reunion performance with Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams was the cherry on top. The trio’s medley of classic hits, including “Bootylicious” and “Independent Women,” was a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
6 Lady Gaga (Super Bowl LI, 2017)
“Gaga, ooh, la, la.”
Lady Gaga’s halftime show during Super Bowl LI in 2017 is a performance that will go down in history as one of the most visually stunning and musically impressive halftime shows.
As the lights in Houston’s NRG Stadium dimmed, Lady Gaga descended from the roof on wires and began her set with “God Bless America.” She then segued into a medley of her greatest hits, including “Poker Face” and “Born This Way.” Her performance was electrifying, leaving the crowd spellbound.
Lady Gaga performed “Bad Romance” while standing atop the stadium roof. As she sang, fireworks exploded behind her, creating a breathtaking scene that will forever be etched in Super Bowl history. And during “Million Reasons,” she sat behind a piano and delivered a stripped-down version of the song, showcasing her incredible talent as a singer and musician.
5 U2 (Super Bowl XXXVI, 2002)
In 2002, we got one of the most emotionally charged halftime shows in Super Bowl history, courtesy of the iconic Irish rock band U2. Super Bowl XXXVI (I’m still crying about it).
As the band took the stage, they began to perform their hit song “Beautiful Day,” accompanied by a massive backdrop featuring the names of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The stadium was silent as the names scrolled across the screen, and U2’s powerful performance served as a tribute to the victims and a show of solidarity with the American people.
As Bono belted out the lyrics, the stadium erupted in cheers. The band then launched into a stirring rendition of “MLK,” which served as a tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The performance was a moving tribute to the values of unity, peace, and equality.
And during “Where the Streets Have No Name,” the band’s circular stage was lowered onto the field while a sea of lights illuminated the stadium.
4 Katy Perry (Super Bowl XLIX, 2015)
Katy Perry’s Super Bowl XLIX halftime show was an unforgettable spectacle, featuring one of the most epic entrances in Super Bowl history. The crowd was stunned as Perry rode atop a massive mechanical lion, singing her hit song “Roar” to the ecstatic crowd.
As Perry made her way to the main stage, the stadium was transformed into a vibrant carnival of colors, with dancers in vibrant costumes and fireworks exploding in the background. Perry’s performance was a high-energy medley of her greatest hits, including “Dark Horse,” “California Gurls,” and “Teenage Dream.” Her commanding stage presence and infectious energy left the audience in awe, with fans singing and dancing to every song.
But the true show-stopper was Perry’s finale, during which she performed her hit song “Firework” while soaring above the stadium on a shooting star. Perry belted out her signature high notes while floating above the crowd, creating one magical moment.
3 Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2004)
We won’t forget this one, but probably for the wrong reasons. The Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in 2004 will forever be remembered for the controversial “wardrobe malfunction” that occurred during Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s performance.
But there was much more to the performance than just that one (terrible) moment.
As Jackson and Timberlake took the stage, they kicked off their set with “Rock Your Body,” and the crowd was on its feet. But then, during the final moments of the performance, Timberlake reached over and ripped off a part of Jackson’s costume, exposing her breast on live television. The moment created a media frenzy and sparked a nationwide debate over censorship and indecency.
Despite the controversy, Jackson and Timberlake’s performance was a high-energy spectacle showcasing their incredible talent. Their chemistry was undeniable, and the audience was captivated by their dynamic stage presence and electrifying moves.
2 Bruno Mars (Super Bowl XLVIII, 2014)
The Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show in 2014 was a celebration of music and dance courtesy of the immensely talented Bruno Mars.
As the lights in the stadium dimmed, Mars appeared on stage, dressed in a gold blazer and black slacks. He kicked off his set with “Locked Out of Heaven,” showcasing his incredible vocal range and infectious energy. The crowd was on its feet, singing and dancing to every beat.
Mars’s performance was a medley of his greatest hits, including “Treasure” and “Just the Way You Are.” The stage was transformed into a party, with Mars and his band backed by a group of dancers in matching outfits.
But when the Red Hot Chili Peppers joined him, the whole world lost it. The band performed their hit song “Give It Away,” with Mars on vocals and (impressive) guitar. The combination of Mars’s pop sensibility and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ rock energy was a match made in heaven.
1 The Rolling Stones (Super Bowl XL, 2006)
The Rolling Stones’ halftime performance at Super Bowl XL in 2006 was a rock ‘n’ roll spectacle that left fans cheering for more.
As the band took the stage, they kicked off their set with “Start Me Up,” accompanied by an impressive pyrotechnics display that set the stadium ablaze. The crowd was on its feet, dancing and singing along to Mick Jagger’s iconic vocals.
The Stones’ performance was a medley of their greatest hits, including “Satisfaction” and “Brown Sugar.” Jagger strutted across the stage, working the crowd with his signature moves and infectious energy, while Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood delivered blistering guitar solos that left fans in awe.
The peak moment of the Stones’ performance came when they performed “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” while playing on a stage that was shaped like the band’s famous lips and tongue logo. Classic.