The 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Shows ever
Rihanna’s return makes for a highly anticipated Super Bowl halftime show on February 12th, but which have been the best so far?
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The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most coveted gigs in the world. Many artists have labeled it as the ultimate stage, and one that every artist aspires to get the call for.
Prior to Michael Jackson's performance in 1993, the Super Bowl halftime show looked very different. It would be more in tune with something you’d likely see at a college football game, with a marching band ‘headlining’ the games half time entertainment.
Michael Jackson was the first A-list superstar to perform at the Super Bowl, and since then, the meteoric rise in popularity of the half time mini concert has been quite incredible.
Some halftime shows have not received the best reviews, but without naming them, we can all think of a few examples. Additionally, some halftime shows may be more well-known for reasons unrelated to the music.
Who is Performing at the Super Bowl 2023?
Rihanna will perform at Super Bowl LVII's halftime show, which will be the first to be sponsored by Apple Music.
Rihanna, an industry icon, is set to make her highly anticipated return to music on February 12th, on the grandest stage in the world at Arizona. Despite not releasing any new music since 2016, Jay-Z, who first signed her as a teenager, will help her create a spectacular performance.
"RiRi" hasn't performed since the 2018 Grammys, and her comeback is stirring up speculation about what she'll perform and if she'll give a sneak peek of any new music at the event.
What time is the Super Bowl Halftime Show?
The halftime show's start time is dependent on the length of the first half of the Chiefs vs Eagles game, making it difficult to predict with certainty. However, it is estimated to begin around two hours after the 8:30 pm EST kickoff.
How long is the Super Bowl Halftime Show?
The halftime break during the Super Bowl is longer than a standard halftime, and Rihanna's performance at Super Bowl 57 is expected to last around 20 to 30 minutes.
Ranking the 10 Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Shows of All Time
- The Weeknd - 2021 Super Bowl Halftime Show
At a Super Bowl held in Tampa with a reduced crowd due to the pandemic, The Weeknd soloed the entire halftime show, performing a 15-minute set as he moved from behind the end zone to the field.
The Weeknd put on a creative performance, disappearing into a maze of mirrors and lights within the stadium while still performing on the large screens. He then emerged onto the field accompanied by an army of red suited dancers for a spectacular finale accompanied by fireworks.
The Weeknd contributed over $7 million to the production costs of his own show, betting on himself. After his performance, his live shows sold out with sales increasing by almost 400%.
- Lady Gaga - 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show
When the 2017 Super Bowl half time show began, Lady Gaga was nowhere to be seen, until she started singing God Bless America… while standing on the roof of the stadium.
And then… she jumped. Lady Gaga descended onto her own NFL halftime show stage from the rafters, in one of the most acrobatic and energetic Super Bowl shows since it began.
The dynamic performer danced, ran, and jumped across her imaginative stage, ending her show with a mic drop before jumping off stage while catching a football.
- The Rolling Stones - 2006 Super Bowl Halftime Show
One of the all-time Rock N’ Roll bands in history brought a crazy energy to the halftime show at Super Bowl XL. Mick Jagger, who was 62 years old at the time, darted around a looping stage engaging with fans down below.
The Stones gave the crowd one of the most powerful shows in Super Bowl halftime history at Ford Field, on a stage in the shape of their iconic tongue logo. Jagger was outstanding, the band was phenomenal, and the show was one of the best.
- Shakira and Jennifer Lopez - 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show
Shakira and Jennifer Lopez are both iconic enough women to own the Super Bowl stage all by themselves, so to see them feature together made for quite the spectacle.
The two goddesses brought energy to the stage, with an athletic performance that featured the music of both female stars. These two Super Bowl halftime performers stole the show, creating a work of art together that represented the Latina community so proudly.
- Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - 2009 Super Bowl Halftime Show
Bruce Springsteen is a legendary stage performer, and his Super Bowl performance lived up to his reputation. The audience was remarkably invested in the halftime show, which was one of the most captivating I've seen.
Springsteen and the E Street Band performed many classics, including ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’, ‘Born To Run’ and ‘Working on a Dream’. Bruce even threw in a very iconic knee slide at the age of 60.
This one, along with the Rolling Stones show, has many fans wanting to see classic rock shows return to the Super Bowl halftime shows.
- Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar - 2022 Super Bowl halftime show
Dr. Dre built a Hip-Hop Super Bowl halftime show in 2022 that was so good Bengals kicker Evan McPherson sat and watched it instead of sitting in the locker room with his team.
Dre created a concoction of some of the best Hip-Hop talent and brought them all into one 15-minute show that ended with the whole group of extremely talented performers on stage performing ‘Still D.R.E.’ together.
It was an awe-inspiring sight to see all the performers together, with 50 Cent's grin at the conclusion of the show demonstrating how significant the moment was. The show and its participants were a perfect match for the new So-Fi Stadium in Inglewood, California, making it truly one of the best halftime shows ever.
- Beyonce - 2013 Super Bowl halftime show
One of the most iconic women of a generation stole the show with her Super Bowl performance in 2013.
The legendary musical icon sang some of her most famous tracks, including a stunning rendition of ‘Halo’, plus ‘Crazy in Love’ and ‘Independent Woman’.
Beyonce reunited with her Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams on stage, thrilling the world with their reunion during a performance that lived up to the high standards we've come to expect from her. Simply sensational.
- Michael Jackson - 1993 Super Bowl halftime show
It would be impossible not to rank the Super Bowl halftime show that started it all near the top of this list. The Michael Jackson Super Bowl performance in 1993 helped to create the phenomenon around the show. Ever since, stars have pined over the prospect of being the next name on the very prestigious list.
The skilled performer made an explosive entrance onto the stage at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, basking in the applause of the crowd for a full two minutes before even starting his performance.
Michael Jackson's Super Bowl performance was a testament to the power of raw talent. He didn't rely on technology or flashy effects, instead he took the stage and captivated the audience with his set that included "Billie Jean," "Black or White," and "Heal the World," as well as his iconic dance moves that have become legendary. Jackson will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Super Bowl performers of all time.
- U2 - 2002 Super Bowl halftime show
U2 dedicated their Super Bowl performance to the victims of the 9/11 attacks just a few months earlier and opened with a beautiful rendition of ‘Beautiful Day’.
Their entire performance was filled with emotion and passion for those who had lost their lives, with the names of the victims scrolling on the big screen as U2 sang some of their most famous hits. The tribute by Bono and the band was perfectly crafted and holds great respect across America and the world.
- Prince - 2007 Super Bowl halftime show
Prince's Super Bowl performance is still unmatched, in my opinion. During the game between Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears, Prince put on a legendary show inside the Dolphin Stadium, making everyone forget about the football game for a moment.
His rendition of "Purple Rain" in the rain, with the purple stage and lighting, and the purple guitar, accompanied by the crowd singing along, was unforgettable. The iconic image of Prince in his bright blue suit, soaking in the moment at the end of his performance, has been recognized as one of the greatest musical moments in history, and for good reason.
Many consider Prince to be the mastermind behind the best halftime show ever, with his exceptional musical talent and showmanship making the performance unforgettable.