Some people count down the days until the Super Bowl to see which team will take the title as champions. Others, however, are bigger fans of the junk food, commercials, and the 10-minute-long pop concert known as the Super Bowl halftime show. After Justin Timberlake took the stage in 2018 for his record third halftime performance, we decided to look back on 5 of the best halftime shows in Super Bowl history.
1. Lady Gaga (2017)
We all know that a Lady Gaga concert means we’re all in for a treat, but in 2017 she really pulled out all the stops. Starting her set on the roof of the stadium, Lady Gaga sang “God Bless America,” with a backdrop of drones creating an image of the American flag. She then dove into the arena to perform her hits “Telephone,” “Born this Way,” “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance,” and “Million Reasons.” With bizarre spectacular sets, a crowd of dancers, torches, and a circular piano, Lady Gaga proved just how much she knows how to entertain. Her exit was just as entertaining – she dropped the mic, caught a football, and hopped off the stage into nothingness.
2. Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars (2016)
Although Coldplay was the headliner of this halftime show, their guest performers Beyonce and Bruno Mars really added a special touch. Coldplay began their set surrounded by colors and a children’s orchestra, and they were able to get the crowd cheering in seconds. Their feel-good setlist included “Yellow,” “Viva La Vida,” “Paradise,” “Adventure of a Lifetime,” and a medley of “Fix You and “Up and Up.” Bruno Mars and Beyonce made the show truly iconic by bringing their new hits “Uptown Funk” and “Formation,” and amping up the energy with their dance troupes. Props to Coldplay for sharing their halftime performance with two other artists, which ended up making it one of the most memorable.
3. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (2004)
It was the day the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” was born. To this day, people still debate over whether Justin Timberlake accidentally or intentionally exposed Jackson’s nipple while ripping off part of her costume. Whether it was accidental or not for either person, popular opinion still wonders why Janet Jackson received more criticism than Justin Timberlake, whose career seemed to flourish. But, looking past the last two seconds, this Super Bowl Halftime show was actually pretty great.
4. Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj and Cee Lo Green (2012)
With possibly the grandest entrance of any performance, Madonna entered the field as a Greek goddess led by an army of Spartan soldiers. Madonna debuted new arrangements of her old songs, like the drum-heavy version of “Open Your Heart” with Cee Lo Green. She also brought out LMFAO for a mashup of “Magic” and “Party Rock Anthem.” Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. joined her for the single “Give Me All Your Luvin,” but the epic finale of “Like A Prayer” with a gospel choir made the performance that much more spectacular.
5. Prince (2007)
Arguably the best Super Bowl halftime performance of all time, Prince’s set still excites even more than 10 years later. On a stage shaped like the “Artist Formerly Known As Prince” symbol, he opened with a cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” before kicking off his hit “Let’s Go Crazy,” and the crowd went wild. With a glowing marching band and a giant silhouette of himself shredding the guitar solo of “Purple Rain,” Prince got the entire stadium on their feet singing along, all in an actual downpour of pouring rain.
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