This year’s Super Bowl is so far living up to expectations, and we’re hoping the halftime show does, too! Forgetting the actual football for a moment, we’ve been taking a look at the best halftime shows in history to get us ready for the main event. In the past we’ve had spectacle, we’ve had controversy, we’ve had surprise guests and even more surprising fashion slips. We’ve had the world’s biggest stars taking to the field to put on a show once the second quarter’s all washed up and we want more.
Thankfully, we’re getting it as Jennifer Lopez and Shakira take up the mantle in 2020, but to welcome them to the Super Bowl halftime hall of fame, we’re counting down our top shows over the last 53 Championship games.
That means we’re running through all the silhouette guitar solos, left shark antics, helicopter exits, and genre-mashing dance offs to find the craziest, most awe-inspiring performances yet. Each year is exciting, but there are some special years when magic is made on the field and it all happens between the second and third quarters. The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most bombastic blasts of entertainment of the year, and we’re bringing you the very best of the best for some pre-game study.
5. Super Bowl XLIX halftime show: Left Shark steals the show from Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott
You’d be forgiven for any confusion the day after Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott took on the Super Bowl halftime show. Instead of raving about the stars of what was, anyway, a fantastic show, the world was obsessed with a hapless extra dressed in a shark costume.
Left Shark quickly became an internet phenomenon after some lacklustre dance moves became a hilariously human distraction on a stage of superstars. Aside from the lovable shark mishaps, we enjoyed Katy Pretty being propelled into the sky for a rendition of Firework, after Missy Elliott joined her on stage for a three song diversion. Still, it was an electric show that demonstrated just how deep the halftime show has become ingrained in entertainment culture.
4. Super Bowl XXX halftime show: Diana Ross has lift off
A Diana Ross Super Bowl halftime show was never going to be a low-key affair. But 14 costume changes, sparkling airlifts, a field-covering golden cape, and a helicopter exit set to I Will Survive and Take Me Higher took the short entertainment slot to new heights.
If you can try and ignore the theatrics for a second, you’ll also realize that this 1996 show was filled to the brim with the medleys and mashups of Diana Ross’s hottest tracks. We kick off with Stop In The Name of Love and flit through some of Ross’s top tracks before reaching costume change number six at Chain Reaction, then it’s a whistle stop tour past Reach Out And Touch before a sublime Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is belted from the heights of an airlift.
3. Super Bowl XXXV halftime show: the best of 2001 come to party
Aerosmith. NSYNC. Britney Spears. Mary J. Blige. Nelly. You could have ripped the Super Bowl XXXV lineup straight off a 2001 USB MP3 player. It was a never ending roster of fireworks (coming out of JT’s hands no less), boyband power poses and dance offs. And then Walk This Way happened.
Suddenly you have Britney taking the stage to duet a verse with Justin, and then Mary J. Blige joins the party. Who next? Nelly jumps out to complete this Who’s Who of everyone’s bedroom poster collection and the world seems to stop spinning for just a moment. The 2001 Super Bowl halftime show was stuff of legend, bringing together the biggest artists of the day to perform in new and spectacular ways – plus, it was the first show to allow the audience onto the field so no wonder the entire show feels different.
Oh yeah, and the whole thing starts with a Ben Stiller Dodgeball cameo.
2. Super Bowl XLVII halftime show: Beyonce brings out the single ladies
We were happy with a Beyoncé halftime show, if a little shocked she had never held the show solo before. We were happy with a slew of hits infused with the kind of raw power you only find in a Knowles performance. We were even happy with a solo artist taking on the entire Super Bowl halftime show by herself… until she wasn’t.
Dreams came true when Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined their former Destiny’s Child frontwoman on stage just before a legendary Charlie’s Angels pose. Bootylicious and Independent Women ensued, before a rendition of Single Ladies and Halo melted the nation. Not only was Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show an explosive success in its own right, but it served to somewhat alleviate the reputation of the singer herself after controversy over lip syncing earlier in the year.
1. Super Bowl XLI halftime show: Prince’s Purple Rain
There’s something about performing in the pouring rain that makes everything so much more intense. To be honest, Prince never needed the added flair to raise the stakes of his shows, but the Super Bowl XLI halftime show was on another level of showmanship. Take big budget spectacle and combine it with an artist as extravagant as the man who made himself a symbol and you’ve got yourself a show.
Every second, from the opening thunder of a We Will Rock You cover to the finale of a particularly fitting Purple Rain was dripping in finesse. A simple silhouette and a shredding guitar solo made for one of the most powerful moments in halftime history.
Who is performing at the Super Bowl 2020 halftime show?
From helicopters to awkward sharks, we’ve enjoyed swathes of legendary performances over the last 53 Championship games. Following in the footsteps of these star-studded spectacles are Jennifer Lopez and Shakira as they take to the stage for the 54th Super Bowl in Miami, Florida.
We’re expecting some of each artists’ biggest hits to boom out over the speakers of Hard Rock Stadium so get ready for some Jenny From The Block, Hips Don’t Lie, Let’s Get Loud mashups. Celebrating the history of Latin music in the heart of Miami, the two artists will also likely treat us to a live selection of their Spanish-language hits.
To make sure you don’t miss a minute of the spectacle, we’ve put together a handy guide to watch the Super Bowl halftime show online from anywhere.