Top 15 Greatest Halftime Shows In Super Bowl History

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[Image via USA Today]

The amazing Halftime Shows in Super Bowl history are often talked about more than the actual game itself. Since 1967, the huge event has had a halftime show performance consisting of some of the biggest names in entertainment. Over the past decade, there seems to be a big discussion over who should perform at the next big game every year.

This year, the Super Bowl LIV game will take place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on February 2. The sponsor is Pepsi, who has been sponsoring the halftime show for the past seven years. The two megastars taking to the stage for the halftime show this year are Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

The two Latin pop singers will make their debut at the game which is bound to be an energetic performance everyone will talk about in years to come. They very well could be part of one of the greatest halftime shows in Super Bowl history.

Lopez recently discussed with Entertainment Tonight that she and Shakira are planning to do just that. They want this to be the best halftime show in Super Bowl history. However, only time will tell.

The two songstresses will be following in the footsteps of some absolute musical legends and icons. Many of which you’ll see below.

One thing that is always something to look forward to during the halftime shows is the special surprise guests that make an appearance. Over the years, there have been some jaw-dropping surprises that have arguably stolen the show.

Yet we wanted to know who THE best halftime show act was.

With over 40 to choose from, we feel we’ve found the best 15 in history. Let us know what you think below.

 

15. Black Eyed Peas

[Image via The Jakarta Post]
  • Super Bowl XLV halftime show
  • 2011

In 2011, Black Eyed Peas performed at the Super Bowl that took place at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Some may say this is a controversial choice as the sound wasn’t the greatest. However, their set was very energetic and full of household hits from start to finish.

The group entered the stage with “I Gotta Feeling” and went straight into “Boom Boom Pow.” The Peas opted for two special guests for their halftime show. The first being living legend Slash. He performed “Sweet Child O’ Mine” with Fergie and proved why he is one of the world’s greatest guitarists.

After a couple more hits from the Peas, Usher entered the stage and sang his “OMG” with will.i.am who features on that single. The group ended their set with “The Time (Dirty Bit)” and a reprise of “I Gotta Feeling.”

While there seemed to be some sound issues throughout, you can’t always get live TV right all the time. Their outfits and stage production was very futuristic, which could be considered ahead of its time for 2011. It’s not quite the best halftime show in Super Bowl history but it deserves some recognition.

 

14. Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

[Image via Evening Standard]
  • Super Bowl XXXIII halftime show
  • 1999

In 1999, Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, and special guest Big Bad Voodoo Daddy performed at the Super Bowl that took place at the Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Voodoo Daddy opened the show with “Go Daddy O.” Wonder then entered the stage in a car and sung “Sir Duke.” Doing what he does best, he performed “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” and “I Wish” on the keyboard. Seven years later, Estefan returned to the Super Bowl stage and brought the Latin flavor. She performed “Oye!” and “Turn The Beat Around” before performing a duet with Wonder.

The duo sang of a medley of their hits — “You’ll Be Mine (Party Time),” “Another Star,” and “My Cherie Amour” — for their final number. Since we’re discussing the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history, this one needs to make the list.

This was the second time Estefan had been a part of one of their halftime shows. Back in 1992, the “Get on Your Feet” hitmaker performed in the Winter Magic themed Super Bowl XXVI halftime show which was a salute to the Winter Olympics that year.

 

13. Bruno Mars

[Image via wtlcfm]
  • Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show
  • 2014

In 2014, Bruno Mars performed at the Super Bowl that took place at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Mars had the honor of headlining his own set fairly early in his career and made sure to put on an epic show. He showed off his talents by playing the drums before opening his explosive set with “Locked Out of Heaven.”

He continued by performing other crowd-pleasers — “Treasure” and “Runaway Baby” — before welcoming his special guests. Mars began to sing the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ hit single “Give It Away” who then jumped on the stage and performed the song in full. The rock group went all out and proved why they are one of the most successful bands from the past few decades.

Mars ended his set with his breakthrough smash, “Just The Way You Are,” which was a sincere moment.

Whether you’re a fan of Mars or not, there is no denying that he didn’t command the stage throughout and didn’t have to distract the viewers with lots of guests which is why his performance is one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history.

 

12. Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, and Kid Rock

[Image via bonjourdin]
  • Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show
  • 2004

The Super Bowl halftime show that took place in 2004 is not only one of the most talked-about but also the most controversial. Not only did it contain a star-studded lineup but viewers also got more for what they bargained for. Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, and Kid Rock all took to the stage at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, and it’s a night a lot of people won’t forget.

Jackson opened the set with one of her most recognizable songs, “All for You” and received a very warm welcome. The “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” songstress showcased why she is one of pop music’s biggest performers and why she deserved a place at the halftime show.

Diddy and Nelly, some of the 2000s biggest rappers, also performed a string of hits, which was switched up halfway with Kid Rock.

For the encore, Jackson entered the stage and performed another iconic single, “Rhythm Nation.” The music legend welcomed Justin Timberlake on stage with her and performed his single “Rock Your Body” with him.

At the very end of their performance, Timberlake ripped off a piece of her clothing which exposed her nipple. Some say it was planned, others say it was an accident. Regardless of what people think, the overall performance was stellar and entertaining from start to finish.

Is it one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history or just the most memorable? It’s very likely both.

 

11. Aerosmith and NSYNC

[Image via si]
  • Super Bowl XXXV halftime show
  • 2001

The 2001 Super Bowl sums up that year in music perfectly. The event took place at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida was one hell of a wild show.

NSYNC opened the whole performance with “Bye Bye Bye” with full choreography like you would expect any ’90s or ’00s boyband to do. Aerosmith’s first performance was their heartfelt “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” which quickly went straight into another NSYNC number, “It’s Gonna Be Me.”

Aerosmith kept the energy and performed “Jaded.” The band stayed on the stage with NSYNC and rocked out to “Walk This Way” with multiple guests. Britney Spears, Nelly, and Mary J. Blige all contributed to the song and is a strong reminder to this day of what the early ’00s was all about.

You could easily say that the 2001 halftime show is one of the craziest and some-what cheesiest performances the event has ever seen. However, for that reason, it is one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history.

We’re probably never going to get Justin Timberlake and Spears on a stage together ever again so enjoy it for what it is.

 

10. Katy Perry

[Image via Capital XTRA]
  • Super Bowl XLIX halftime show
  • 2015

In 2015, Katy Perry performed at the Super Bowl that took place at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The “Waking Up in Vegas” hitmaker went all out for her headline slot and entered the stage on a giant gold tiger while performing “Roar.” She was joined by an army of dancers for “Dark Horse” before welcoming Lenny Kravitz.

He ended up performing a rock rendition of Perry’s breakthrough single “I Kissed a Girl” with her.

Perry continued with her chart-topping crowd-pleasers — “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls” — but wasn’t done with the special guests. It had been a while since Missy Elliott had done anything on a huge scale and made a comeback for the Super Bowl.

The rapper treated viewers to “Work It,” “Get Ur Freak On,” and “Lose Control” and proved that she still had it going on.

Some may even say that Elliott stole the show and was the highlight of the night. According to Buzzfeed, the “Pass That Dutch” songstresses streams skyrocketed and all three songs she performed entered the top 10 on iTunes.

Elliott left the stage and Perry ended her set with “Firework,” ending everything on a high.

If Perry’s crazy production and a comeback moment from Elliott isn’t enough for you to believe that it is one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history then something isn’t right.

 

9. Coldplay

[Image via Bustle]
  • Super Bowl 50 halftime show
  • 2016

There is no denying that Coldplay is one of the U.K.’s biggest bands so it’s not surprising that they headlined their own Super Bowl.

The group performed a string of hits they’ve achieved — “Yellow,” “Viva la Vida,” “Adventure of a Lifetime,” and “Paradise” — to name a few but were overshadowed by their guests. Bruno Mars returned to the Super Bowl two years later with Mark Ronson and sung “Uptown Funk.”

Shortly after, Beyonce made a surprise return too and performed her brand new single at the time, “Formation.” The pop duo had a mini dance-off and it was all viewers could talk about.

While Coldplay had their own moment, there is no denying that Mars and Beyonce stole the show. If Coldplay performed alone, would it be considered one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history? Probably not. But with the help of two other superstars, it is.

 

8. Madonna

[Image via PopSugar]
  • Super Bowl XLVI halftime show
  • 2012

It was only a matter of time until the Queen of Pop, Madonna, had her own Super Bowl halftime show. The “Into the Groove” icon headlined her own in 2012 at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, and put on an extravagant show.

When you’re one of the most successful artists in the world, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to have one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history.

Madonna is no stranger to performing in stadiums and owned the stage with confidence. She opened her set with “Vogue” and continued with the other legendary singles she’s released throughout the years. At the time, she promoted her latest single, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” and invited the featured artists, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., to perform with her.

She was also joined by LMFAO and Cee-Lo Green who performed a couple of medleys with her.

Madonna’s Super Bowl may have not been cutting edge but it was fun from start to finish.

 

7. U2

[Image via GQ]
  • Super Bowl XXXVI halftime show
  • 2002

U2‘s Super Bowl halftime show may not have consisted of many songs but it was the message behind it that makes it one of the greatest halftime shows in Super Bowl history. The Irish band performed at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2002 and it was pretty touching.

They opened their set with “Beautiful Day” and paid tribute to those who passed away in the September 11 attacks. While they performed “MLK,” they displayed a curtain containing the 9/11 victims’ names.

The powerful message behind their performance is still remembered to this day and is a reminder of why Bono is one of the greatest frontmen.

 

6. Bruce Springsteen

[Image via Rolling Stone]
  • Super Bowl XLIII halftime show
  • 2009

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen performed at the Super Bowl with his legendary E Street Band at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Being the showman that he is, Springsteen, often referred to as The Boss, proved that he was still on top of his game.

Unlike a lot of acts, Springsteen used his 12-minute headlining slot to perform just a few songs instead of a bunch of medleys, trying to squeeze everything in. Sometimes less is more.

He played “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “Born to Run,” “Working on a Dream,” and ended on “Glory Days” from his Born In The U.S.A. album.

Another thing he didn’t opt for was any other special guests. It was Springsteen and his band. But that’s all he needed. Not only one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history but also one of the greatest talents.

 

5. Lady Gaga

[Image via Telegraph]
  • Super Bowl LI halftime show
  • 2017

Lady Gaga made her mark one of the most successful artists from the past decade so a Super Bowl halftime show was always bound to happen. The “Perfect Illusion” songstress performed at the Super Bowl at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

She made sure that her performance would be considered one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history.

Like Springsteen, Gaga didn’t opt for any special guests. Her set consisted of herself, her band and a lot of dancers. She performed full choreography and reminded us of all the hits she’s had.

Gaga showcased her amazing vocals when she played “Million Reasons” on the piano and set the stadium alive with “Bad Romance” as her closing song.

 

4. Prince

[Image via The Daily Beast]
  • Super Bowl XLI halftime show
  • 2007

In 2007, Prince performed at the Super Bowl at the Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. As always, he went out in style. The “Kiss” hitmaker’s stage was in the shape of his symbol which was lit up in flames at the beginning. After the “We Will Rock You” intro, Prince went straight into “Let’s Go Crazy” and rocked his set.

He played numerous guitars throughout and cemented his status as a legend. Aside from his own material, he performed a few covers, including “Best of You” from Foo Fighters. He ended his set with “Purple Rain,” lighting up the stadium in purple.

There is no doubt that Prince was one of the most talented and influential musicians so arguing that he doesn’t have one of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history would be hard.

 

3. Shania Twain, No Doubt, and Sting

[Image via Time]
  • Super Bowl XXXVII halftime show
  • 2003

In 2003, Shania Twain, No Doubt, and Sting performed at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. While it seems to not be the most memorable, it’s definitely one of the greatest halftimes shows in Super Bowl history.

Twain burst onto the stage singing “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” which took everyone back to the 1990s. She followed up the song with “Up” and walked through the crowd at one point.

When Twain got lifted off onto a platform at the end of her performance, Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt, entered the stage started doing press-ups at the beginning of “Just a Girl.” Like Twain, it took viewers back to the ’90s from when it was first released.

Sting, the lead singer of The Police, performed their 1980’s hit “Message in a Bottle” with No Doubt which ended the performance on a complete high.

The XXXVII halftime show may have not included much new material but it was a blast from the past that everyone appreciated.

 

2. Beyonce

[Image via GotCeleb]
  • Super Bowl XLVII halftime show
  • 2013

In 2013, Beyonce performed at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. This might be her second entry on this list of greatest halftimes shows in Super Bowl history as Beyonce’s debut performance at the event remains iconic.

Beyonce opened her set with an a capella performance of “Love on Top” and strutted straight into her iconic single, “Crazy in Love.” Unsurprisingly, she owned the stage and had energy throughout every song.

It may have seen as an obvious choice to have her husband, Jay-Z, as a surprise guest. So, for that reason, that might be why the rapper didn’t make an appearance. However, Beyonce didn’t let anyone down. The “Deja Vu” entertainer invited her group members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, from Destinys Child on stage with her for a reunion.

The R&B trio performed some of their most-loved singles — “Bootylicious” and “Independent Women (Part I)” — and Beyonce’s hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” together.

Beyonce ended her set with a ballad, “Halo,” and a montage with clips from her life.

 

1. Michael Jackson

[Image via Washington Post]
  • Super Bowl XXVII halftime show
  • 1993

You can’t have a list of the greatest halftime shows in Super Bowl history without mentioning Michael Jackson. Surely?

There are many reasons why he is considered the King of Pop and this is one of them.

When Jackson jumped from underneath the stage and just stood still for a good minute with the crowd screaming back at him, it just proved how much stage presence he had. Jackson sang and danced throughout his whole set, proving that he didn’t need any other high-profile name on stage with him as a special guest.

He opened his set with “Jam” and treated viewers with “Billie Jean” and “Black or White.” Jackson ended his performance with a children’s choir for “We Are the World” and “Heal the World.”

According to Washington Post, Jackson set the standard for future Super Bowl halftime shows as the NFL made a deliberate effort to attract top performers after the performance increased the TV ratings by a huge amount, drawing in 133.4 million U.S. viewers.

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