Check Out The Most Historic Super Bowl Halftime Performances In History

Published on 05/14/2021
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Every year, Americans wait for the Super Bowl like nothing else. This is easily one of the most exciting sporting events in the country! Aside from the game itself, everyone eagerly waits for the halftime performances as well. Even though they can be entertaining and uplifting, this is not always the case. People like Prince, Madonna, and The Boss have all delivered excellent performances, but there are also performers who did not make the mark. At any rate, people can’t seem to stop talking about the halftime show for weeks on end. In fact, some of them continue to be the talk of the town even though it has been years since then. Let us start with the worst ones and progress to the best we have ever seen! We also have a couple of fun facts about the most historic performances for you. Are you ready?

Worst: Gloria Estefan And Olympic Figure Skaters, 1992

“Winter Magic” was the theme, which was perfect for cold Minnesota. Obviously, there have been a lot of huge snowmen and Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill. They were famous ice skaters at the time. The choreographed dance looked a little all over the place. Together with her Miami Sound Machine, Gloria Estefan danced and sang her heart out in the hopes of turning things around. Sadly, it did not work. The TV audience instead watched the live comedy special of In Living Color. No one thought that it was going to have an audience, but it turned out to be a hit. The halftime organizers were surprised by this and decided to get serious the following year. They pulled out the big guns with Michael Jackson!

Worst Gloria Estefan & Olympic Figure Skaters, 1992

Worst: Gloria Estefan And Olympic Figure Skaters, 1992

Worst: Blues Brothers, 1997

Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and John Goodman make up the Blues Brothers band, but the problem was that John Belushi was no longer around. The Blues Brothers performed soul and blues that fell flat. Things could have improved by the time James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, appeared. Sadly, it was too little too late. ZZ Top and Catherine Crier were there and blew away the audience, but the halftime show had already deflated too much by that point. The viewers expressed more interest in ordering a new drink and topping up their popcorn buckets instead of watching this disastrous show go on.

Worst Blues Brothers, 1997

Worst Blues Brothers, 1997

Worst: Be-Bop Bamboozled, 1989

According to PopDust, the Be Bob Bamboozled set in 1989 is the “weirdest Super Bowl halftime show ever.” Sadly, they are not the only ones to have this opinion. Dan Witkowski, the producer, said that it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek with 3-D glasses that the audience members had to use, the “world’s largest card trick,” an Elvis impersonator called Elvis Presto, and an unknown magician. Aside from that, the producer claimed that 300 million viewers in China tuned in. You can say that this is not one of the worst halftime performances if you look at it through a “get eyeballs on this show” lens. However, we do not think that should be the basis of anything for this list!

Worst Be Bop Bamboozled, 1989

Worst Be Bop Bamboozled, 1989

Worst: Pete Fountain, Irma Thomas, Doug Kershaw and Snoopy, 1990

There were two tributes at the halftime show of the 1990 Super Bowl. It was meant to celebrate New Orleans and the 40th anniversary of Peanuts. It was a good thing that the Big Easy never disappointed when it comes to music. The show came to a close with Snoopy on a steamboat in the Mississippi River, dancing to “When the Saints Go Marching In” that then morphed into “Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown.” As you can imagine, it confused the heck out of everyone. The lack of coherence with the music impacted the enjoyment of the audience. It might be intriguing, but it still deserves a spot on our list.

Worst Pete Fountain, Irma Thomas, Doug Kershaw And Snoopy, 1990

Worst Pete Fountain, Irma Thomas, Doug Kershaw And Snoopy, 1990

Worst: Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, 1995

Tony Bennett, Miami Sound Machine, Patti LaBelle, and Teddy Pendergrass participated in a halftime show together. Sadly, The Bleacher Report referred to it as “the craziest, weirdest, most unbelievable—and many would say the worst—Super Bowl halftime show ever.” The NFL Senior Vice President of Special Events Jim Steeg said that the league ran into an issue after the successful halftime performance of Michael Jackson. “After Michael Jackson, a lot of big, A-list talent was afraid to compete with him,” he explained. Anyway, the show had live pythons, an actor portraying Indiana Jones, skydivers, and a great deal of stunt people on the set. While it had a lot of potential, it failed to live up to expectations.

Worst Indiana Jones And The Temple Of The Forbidden Eye, 1995

Worst Indiana Jones And The Temple Of The Forbidden Eye, 1995

Worst: Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, and Tina Turner, 2000

That is a lot of performers, but even this wonderful cast of talented singers failed to give us a halftime show that will entertain us like no other. For the Win had this to say about it: “The singers performed five songs. More than a decade later, I doubt there’s a single person who could name them, Collins or Aguilera included.” It was opened by an orchestra and followed by a tame Disney-sponsored duet by Enrique Iglesias and Christina Aguilera. Sadly, the Lion King on Broadway production did not exactly go well with the viewers and the people who whip up lists about the best Super Bowl halftime shows ever.

Worst Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, And Tina Turner, 2000

Worst Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, And Tina Turner, 2000

Worst: Black Eyed Peas, 2011

The Black Eyed donned light-up robot suits and delivered a version of their old hit song, “I’ve Had the Time of My Life.” Even though Slash of Guns N’ Roses was present, Fergie was the one who belted out to “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” That did not fly with the viewers, who gave her a lot of flak for it. In reference to the show, Rolling Stone said, “The worst. Just the worst. Watching at the time, you instantly knew you were witnessing something magical and special – like seeing a unicorn cough up blood.” For The Win was a little more lenient. On the website, they described the performance, “It was merely watchable and entertaining. Is that so bad?”

Worst Black Eyed Peas, 2011

Worst Black Eyed Peas, 2011

Worst: Up With People, 1986

Check out what The Street had to say about how Up With People did at the Super Bowl halftime show: “Voice-of-God narration from the stadium PA system, some dead-eyed singers staring into nothingness and a few random color guards and drill teams and you have Up With People.” The musical act was a staple of the halftime shows during the first two decades of the Super Bowl. Aside from that, Up with People performed at the shows in 1976, 1980, and 1982 as well. A writer said, “Up With People looked like an English language overdub of a Kim Jong Un birthday celebration and sounded like what the Manson family would have been doing if they didn’t decide to go murdering people and ending the ’60s. It was terrifying but, for some reason, none of us could look away”

Worst Up With People, 1986

Worst Up With People, 1986

Worst: The New Kids on the Block, 1991

This was a halftime show meant to show support for American troops, but people did not get it. The performance featured small kids and Disney characters on the stage as they moved to “It’s A Small World,” as well as “Step by Step” by the New Kids on the Block. That was the first time a contemporary act played at the Super Bowl halftime. Aside from that, Whitney Houston also gave her iconic rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that year. It has since turned into a hit and even went platinum. That was the most iconic part of the halftime show. This was not even aired on live TV as networks only played a compressed version of it after the game. There were times when they did not broadcast it at all.

Worst The New Kids On The Block, 1991

Worst The New Kids On The Block, 1991

Worst: The Who, 2010

For The Win had been so underwhelmed by the 2010 halftime show of The Who. It said, “Remember when there was an uproar after NBC cut away from The Who’s Closing Ceremony performance at the 2012 Olympics? That wouldn’t have been a terrible fate for this halftime show.” The band received a lot of criticism for the lackluster performance. Rolling Stone did not let them off the hook either: “Alas, they showed up even more shoddily prepared than the Colts, fumbling a medley of classics – sad to think of all the kids out there first hearing ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ or ‘Baba O’Riley’ in this sorry condition.”

Worst The Who, 2010

Worst The Who, 2010

Worst: Adam Levine Called Out For Double Standard

In 2004, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake gave us a halftime performance that we will never forget. But we will get around to that later on. However, it is interesting to see how Adam Levine has started to shed his clothes on the stage fifteen years after that. The front of Maroon 5 kicked off the performance in a big trench coat and gradually stripped down until he only had pants on. Twitter was furious, asking why on earth he was allowed to do such a thing when Jackson was criticized for something that was out of her control. This double standard did not sit well with us, which is why this show is on our list.

Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show

Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show

Best: Rolling Stones, 2006

In 2006, The Rolling Stones did a great job with their Super Bowl halftime performance with “Rough Justice” and “Start Me Up”. Even though “Satisfaction” was completely expected, everyone had a blast with it. “This one we could have done for Super Bowl I,” joked Mick Jagger before he launched into the song. They had to swap out or skip the racier lyrics of the song, but the show producer insisted on suing a ten-second delay for emergencies with words or lyrics. The band delivered a loud and energetic show that made the critics and crowds happy. They ended the set with a performance of “Rough Justice.”

Best Rolling Stones, 2006

Best Rolling Stones, 2006

Best: Katy Perry and Missy Elliott, 2015

Katy Perry handed us a Vegas-style halftime show, complete with Left Shark and dancing palm trees. Everyone had already been having a blast by then, but the big reveal popped out with the appearance of a dark silhouette as “Get Ur Freak On” started playing. It was none other than Missy Elliott making an incredible comeback after a long time. “Talk about knowing how to choose your moment. Give Katy credit – only a true star would be confident enough to share a spotlight with Missy,” said Rolling Stone. The two women are responsible for one of the best halftime performances we have ever seen. It is no wonder they continue to enjoy success when it comes to their careers as recording artists.

Best Katy Perry And Missy Elliott, 2015

Best Katy Perry And Missy Elliott, 2015

Best: Madonna, 2012

Madonna had only been in her twenties when she gave us amazing stage shows. She reminded us of what she was capable of during the Super Bowl in 2012. The singer went up the stage to vogue out with ancient Roman gladiator backup dancers. She then gave us a stunning performance of her greatest hits. It might have been a hit or miss, but it at least entertained viewers. She looked like she had a blast doing a “Party Rock Anthem”/”Sexy and I Know It” mashup with LMFAO. The finale called for “Like A Player” with the help of Cee Lo and a choir. Her set only went on for twelve minutes, but we wish it was longer!

Best Madonna, 2012

Best Madonna, 2012

Best: Beyoncé, 2013

It was truly iconic when Beyonce launched her halftime performance with a silhouette on fire and then appearing in a cloud of smoke. She then started to belt out “Crazy in Love” and “Love on Top,” songs that we all know and love. Of course, there is no way we can forget about the Destiny’s Child reunion that saw her together with Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland once more. They sang “Independent Women,” “Single Ladies,” and “Bootylicious” together. There were a lot of band members and female dancers on the stage. Aside from that, we saw animation screens of duplicates of her going around during the highlight. The general public had been thrilled with the intense and powerful show!

Best Beyoncé, 2013

Best Beyoncé, 2013

Best: Prince, 2007

People were surprised that the NFL would take a chance on Prince after the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction fiasco. After all, the singer has always been known for risqué dance movies and lyrics. In the end, it paid off. He delivered a strong show by playing his classic songs such as “Let’s Go Crazy” and “1999.” Not only that, but he also performed “All Along the Watchtower” and “Proud Mary” by other performers. He ended his set with “Purple Rain,” which was the right choice based on the response of the audience. The finale went from “All Along the Watchtower” to “Best of You” to “Purple Rain.”

Best Prince, 2007

Best Prince, 2007

Best: U2, 2002

There was a reason this Super Bowl was different from the others that came before it. After all, 9/11 just happened five months prior to the event. U2 honored the loss of the country with “Where the Streets Have No Name.” As they sang the song, the backdrop showed the names of the victims of the attack. When Bono finished the song, he flipped his jacket open to show the stars and stripes on the lining. While it was a memorable show, it made others uncomfortable. “It was great theater and a touching tribute, but going from football to Beautiful Day to a heartbreaking, scrolling list of the thousands killed in a terrorist attack, then back to football in a span of 25 minutes was disorienting,” said Billboard.

Best U2, 2002

Best U2, 2002

Best: Bruce, 2009

Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen is behind one of the greatest Super Bowl halftime performances in history. He delivered a set that was 15 minutes long. This meant that it was longer than the others. It also allowed us to listen to more of his best songs. He performed an unknown track, which people found weird since he only had four songs to play. Aside from that odd choice, he went with “Born to Run” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.” Before this, he had already turned down a number of invitations to do it. The whole country was thrilled when he finally accepted in 2009.

Best Bruce, 2009

Best Bruce, 2009

Best: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Nelly, & Mary J. Blige, 2001

There were a couple of things that made the 2001 Super Bowl performance so weird. First of all, it featured two performers at the peak of their careers: Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake of ‘N Sync. When Rolling Stone talked about the performance of “Walk This Way,” it said it “has to be one of the most demented three-minute spectacles ever aired on TV. Britney, in silver football pants, starring as the Missy Who Was Ready to Play. Mary J. Blige wailing along. Nelly rapping over Joe Perry’s guitar solo. Really, the whole gloriously sleazy history of American pop music is here in this performance.”

Best Aerosmith, Britney Spears, 'N Sync, Nelly, & Mary J. Blige, 2001

Best Aerosmith, Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Nelly, & Mary J. Blige, 2001

Best: Michael Jackson, 1993

According to For the Win, this was the last great performance that Michael Jackson ever delivered. The King of Pop reused to move for 90 seconds. As hundreds of thousands of fans waved and screamed, he simply stood there without even moving a little. Michael Jackson first gave us “Jam” before he transitioned into “Billie Jean.” The latter might just be the most iconic pop song in history. He went on to sing “Black or White” and then “Heal the World.” For the Win went as far as to say, “It was the birth of the modern-day Super Bowl spectacle,” says For The Win” Sadly, the musician passed away in 2009.

Best Michael Jackson, 1993

Best Michael Jackson, 1993

Middle Of The Pack: Boyz II Men, 1998

Do you keep up with critics? If so, you might already know that the promising performance was lackluster. Boyz II Men did not perform “End of the Road,” the most popular song of the group. This was enough to put off some of the viewers. At the time, the group had been at the peak of its career. This might be why they instead chose to pay Motown a tribute. It brought out legendary guests such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, and Martha Reeves. A lot of people felt that the last one was the unpopular choice here, although we can’t deny that she gave us a powerful performance too. It might not have been a flop, but it not an especially memorable performance either.

Middle Of The Pack Boyz II Men, 1998

Middle Of The Pack Boyz II Men, 1998

Best: Stevie Wonder, 1999

Whoa, talk about a trip down memory lane. Stevie Wonder appeared at the 1999 Super Bowl halftime show with elegance and style in spades. He performed a number of hits and allowed Gloria Estefan to try her hand at redeeming herself at the event. He sang “Sir Duke” as a way to celebrate the hundredth birthday of Duke Ellington. She helped spice things up for the viewers in Miami with an up-tempo salsa percussion. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy also made an appearance. There were a lot of great moments from this performance, but we thought it was funny when Stevie Wonder cruised around the field in a car.

Best Stevie Wonder, 1999

Best Stevie Wonder, 1999

Worst: Shania Twain, Sting, And No Doubt, 2003

We love Shania Twain too, but we would rather forget about this performance of hers. In fact, we do not remember much of it! Let us just say that she delivered a snooze fest of a performance. The cameraman must have been bored himself because we were treated to a closeup of the keytar man. This is a clear sign that you are doing your job properly. It is a good thing that Sting and Gwen Stefani stepped in to the rescue. The pair harmonized to the tune of “Message in a Bottle,” which made for a perfect combo. We are sure that Stefani also loved the opportunity to perform for her hometown crowd in SoCal.

Worst Shania Twain, Sting, And No Doubt, 2003

Worst Shania Twain, Sting, And No Doubt, 2003

Best: Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2014

In 2014, Bruno Mars showed up on stage to set it on fire. The show kicked off with teenagers singing. He then proceeded to steal the spotlight from them as he tried to play John Lennon on the drums. This talented singer belted his heart out and danced as well as any man could. What made it even better was the surprise appearance of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. No one expected to see them there! The members ripped off their shirts and began to jump around to the hit song. It was an odd choice, but it worked.

Best Bruno Mars And The Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2014

Best Bruno Mars And The Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2014

Best: Diana Ross, 1996

Before Beyonce came in and ruled the scene, the 1996 Super Bowl halftime show was as diva as it could get. Diana Ross entered the stage on a crane, yelling, “Come on, world.” On top of that, the entrance was made even more iconic thanks to all the sparklers. There had been plenty of ruckus on the stage as she performed. This had a lot of people wondering if the singer was going to be run over by all the red-vested dancers. However, the best part of the show was when Ross said, “Oh my, here comes my ride!” She had been talking about the helicopter that had just landed before it flew her away. What an icon!

Best Diana Ross, 1996

Best Diana Ross, 1996

Worst: The Halftime Shows From 1967 To 1989

In the past, the halftime shows of the Super Bowl were not quite as extravagant as they are now. In all fairness, the higherups of the league had no idea that they could put on such shows. These days, the performances can even outdo the football games themselves. Sadly, Rolling Stone found the shows from 1967 to 1989 so lackluster that they served as nothing more than just “bathroom breaks.” Yikes. We only started getting fun and fiery performances at the halftime point when the ‘90s rolled in.

Worst The Halftime Shows From 1967 To 1989

Worst The Halftime Shows From 1967 To 1989

Not The Worst, Not The Best: Tanya Tucker, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and The Judds, 1994

Did you find yourself wondering who on earth those people are? Well, you are not the only one. In 1994, the United States of America was treated to a set by Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, the Judds, and Travis Tritt. They all hail from Nashville and delivered country entertainment. It was a wholesome but forgettable set. It was a pretty mediocre performance that did not come with frills. After a couple of mishaps through the years, we can’t exactly blame the head honchos of the league for playing it safe.

Not The Worst, Not The Best Tanya Tucker, Clint Black, Travis Tritt And The Judds, 1994

Not The Worst, Not The Best Tanya Tucker, Clint Black, Travis Tritt And The Judds, 1994

Best: Tom Petty, 2008

Tom Petty is a musician who knows exactly how to give us a fun halftime show at the Super Bowl. In 2008, he gave us a great performance when he took the stage. He knew what the audience wanted and delivered in spades. Just so you know, he opened his set with a rendition of “American Girl.” Sadly, he was unable to make up for his fellow Tom. We are talking about Tom Brady, who had not been at his best at the Super Bowl in 2009. We are sure that fans of the Patriots would rather forget that year.

Best Tom Petty, 2008

Best Tom Petty, 2008

Best: Paul McCartney, 2005

People expect a lot from you when you are one of the most famous members of the Beatles. It is a good thing that the pressure has never gotten to Sir Paul McCartney. This just goes to show that he is in a league of his own! In 2005, he took the stage at the halftime show and delivered a performance that we will never forget. He opened the set with “Drive My Car,” which he followed up with “Get Back” and “Live and Let Die.” To cap it off, he went with, “Hey Jude.” This is what halftime performers should aspire for!

Best Paul McCartney, 2005

Best Paul McCartney, 2005

Best: Coldplay, 2016

In general, people have differing views about Coldplay. No matter what you feel about them, you have to give them some credit. In 2016, the rock band opened up for Beyonce herself. We are glad that they were not intimidated at all by this prospect. They showed up and gave everyone a great set. The British rockers opened with “Yellow,” which made for an awesome contrast to the next song: “Viva la Vida.” They then turned to “Paradise” and “Adventure of a Lifetime” before they gave way for Bruna Mars, who sang “Uptown Funk.” Everyone had been thrilled by the time that Chris Martin joined Beyonce and Mars to do a mash-up of “Up & Up” and “Fix You.” What a powerhouse combination!

Best Coldplay, 2016

Best Coldplay, 2016

Best: Bruno Mars, 2016

We have already mentioned Bruno Mars, so we might as well give him his own spot. He joined Coldplay and Beyonce in a star-studded halftime show at the 2016 Super Bowl. After the British band ended their set with “Adventure of a Lifetime,” the singer took over to belt out “Uptown Funk.” We do not know about you, but we think that this is the perfect song if you want to hype up a crowd. Beyonce joined in not long after that and wowed us with her mashup of “Formation” and “Crazy in Love.”

Best Bruno Mars, 2016

Best Bruno Mars, 2016

Best: Lady Gaga, 2017

No one will ever describe Lady Gaga as a “chill” performer. It felt right for her to enter the stage via cables at the halftime show at the Super Bowl in 2017. That was not all. Mother Monster went on to belt out to “God Bless America” and then “This Land Is Your Land.” She showed us that her vocals are truly unlike anyone else’s. Thanks to her amazing stage presence, she was able to hype up the audience. We also love the way that she went from “Born This Way” to “Telephone” to “Just Dance.”

Best Lady Gaga, 2017

Best Lady Gaga, 2017

Best: Left Shark, 2015

All right, this one is a little different from the rest, but bear with us! Left Shark was an overnight internet sensation after he appeared at the halftime show at the 2015 Super Bowl. When Katy Perry gave us her Vegas-themed set, she danced beside palm trees and Left Shark. There was more than one shark with her at the time, but Left Shark was the star. Hamish Hamilton, the director of the halftime show, shared this with EW: “I don’t think anybody on the team had any idea that Left Shark was going to become such a cultural phenomenon. We were trying to work out how we could bring a beach scene to life.”

Best Left Shark, 2015

Best Left Shark, 2015

Best: M.I.A., 2013

At Super Bowl XLVI, the halftime show was full of talented performers. We had Madonna and LMFAO, which would have been enough on their own. People cheered when they saw M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj join the other musicians on the stage. They were both decked out in Egyptian clothing and had pom-poms in hand. M.I.A. gave us a great performance even though she was not quite as famous as the others on the stage. It was all going well until she pulled out a move that ended up costing a lot of money in fines.

Best M.I.A., 2013

Best M.I.A., 2013

Worst: M.I.A.’s Middle Finger, 2015

M.I.A. had been performing beside Madonna when she gave the camera the middle finger. It might have been a small incident, but it backfired on her. People were not pleased with her behavior and called it a “finger malfunction” that outdid Madonna, who was disappointed to see it and said that M.I.A. showed “irrelevant” and “teenage” behavior. When she talked to Ryan Seacrest, she said, “I was really surprised. I didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t happy about it. I understand it’s punk rock and everything, but to me there was such a feeling of love and good energy and positivity; it seemed negative.”

Worst M.I.A.'s Middle Finger, 2015

Worst M.I.A.’s Middle Finger, 2015

Even Worse: M.I.A. Is Sued By The NFL

It is a good thing that Madonna and M.I.A. do not have bad blood. Sadly, the younger woman was sued by the NFL for a lot of money. ESPN reported, “Contracts signed by performers for the Super Bowl stipulate that an artist’s performance and wardrobe must comply with the NFL’s standards. Failure to do so, could result in a stiff fine. Contracts signed by artists performing at the Super Bowl.” This was precisely what M.I.A. went through. Only a month after the Super Bowl performance, the Sri Lankan artist was hit with a lawsuit worth $1.5 million by the American Arbitration Association.

Even Worse M.I.A. Is Sued By The NFL

Even Worse M.I.A. Is Sued By The NFL

M.I.A.’s $16 Million Charge

If you kept up with it, you might have thought that it was an endless sage. Two years later, the issue had not been resolved. The American Arbitration Association decided to seek an extra $15.1 million in damages. This meant that she was being charged with over $16 million! Not long after this piece of information came out, M.I.A. took to Twitter to joke, “@madonna ummm …. can I borrow 16 million?”

M.I.A.'s $16 Million Charge

M.I.A.’s $16 Million Charge

Best, Sort Of: M.I.A. Settles In August 2014

It took them almost two and a half years to get somewhere. At last, M.I.A. chose to settle with the league and put everything behind her. However, we have no doubt that she mentally flipped off all the head honchos at the NFL. They did not share how much the rapper had to pay. Her attorney, however, said that M.I.A. and the NFL came to an agreement that put an end to the multimillion dollar dispute. On the bright side, the league ended up donating the money to charity.

Best, Sort Of M.I.A. Settles In August 2014

Best, Sort Of M.I.A. Settles In August 2014

M.I.A. Wasn’t The Only Expensive Artist

Even though her performance “tarnished” the image of the NFL, no one is all that upset over it. After all, it was a mostly harmless gesture. At any rate, she is not the only performer who caused controversy on the stage at the halftime show. We are sure that you have at least heard of the unforgettable halftime show by Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. How much did it cost the league anyway? Let us find out.

M.I.A. Wasn't The Only Expensive Artist

M.I.A. Wasn’t The Only Expensive Artist

This Moment Cost The NFL $550,000

This performance remains one of the most discussed moments in the history of the Super Bowl halftime show even though it has been more than a decade since then. The FCC got 554,000 complaints from the public after this. “My decision to change the Super Bowl performance was actually made after the final rehearsal,” said Janet Jackson, “MTV, CBS [and] the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever, and unfortunately the whole thing went wrong in the end. I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention.” Even though she issued an apology, we doubt that she will return to perform once more in the near future. It is pretty ironic that they have since signed Justin Timberlake up again.

This Moment Cost The NFL $550,000

This Moment Cost The NFL $550,000

Outkast Said No To The Bowl

Can you believe that Outkast could have played at the halftime show in 2004 but turned it down? This had to be done for artistic reasons. Big Boi, one half of the rap dup, shared this with Business Insider. He did not mind it all that much, but Andre 3000 did not want to do it. They were reportedly asked to sing “The Way You Move” and “Hey Ya!” However, the producers asked them to cut down the songs. “[Andre] didn’t want to cut the songs, he wanted to do the full songs. It was like, ‘Nah, can’t do it,” said Big Boi. He remains hopeful that they would get invited again in the future. Fun fact: if they took on the offer, the wardrobe malfunction with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake would not have taken place!

Outkast Said No To The Bowl

Outkast Said No To The Bowl

Expenses Only

You were wrong if you thought that the stars received a lot of money to perform at the halftime show. The truth is that they do not get much. In fact, the performers only get reimbursements for the expenses they spend. This includes fees for the backup singers, dancers, production, travel, and lodging. The reasoning behind this is that no performer could get this big of an audience at a single event, so the exposure is allegedly enough payment on its own. In 2013, Forbes said that the NFL spent more than $600,000 on the production expenses of Beyonce’s performance. Whoa.

Expenses Only

Expenses Only

New Kids On The Block = No Kids On The Block?

We already talked about this earlier, but the 1991 Super Bowl was the first one to feature famous contemporary performers. Prior to that, the show instead featured local musicians and college bands. In 1991, however, these teen pop stars had been the headliner for the halftime show. Fans were eager to watch the performance from home, but they were very disappointed. The network ended up cutting the performance to deliver Gulf War coverage. Donnie Wahlberg, one of the band members, wrote about it for Playboy. In his piece, he said that “most people don’t know of or acknowledge it as the first of its kind — you know, the grandfather of all these halftime performances: because they didn’t see it.”

New Kids On The Block = No Kids On The Block

New Kids On The Block = No Kids On The Block

The Forgotten Halftime Show

We are glad that the members of the New Kids on the Block had not been heartbroken about getting bumped out of live TV. When Donnie Wahlberg was interviewed by Playboy, he said that they were not happy about the Disney-produced hyper-commercialization of it. “Afterward, we found out it didn’t air during the game. It had been preempted. George Bush made a speech,” he said, “I’m sure a lot of our fans were upset. But it made me very happy. We all breathed a sigh of relief. And it felt appropriate… It felt more fitting that George Bush made a speech during halftime than this ‘Small World’ Disney thing.”

The Forgotten Halftime Show

The Forgotten Halftime Show

Best: Whitney Houston, 1991

In 1991, Whitney Houston received the opportunity to perform after the New Kids on the Block at Super Bowl XXV. She gave us a performance that has since become one of the most iconic moments in the history of the Super Bowl. Her performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was a huge hit among the audience. In 2016, Danyel Smith got to talk about it for ESPN Magazine: “People were weeping in the stands, weeping in their homes. The song itself became a top-20 pop hit. Folks called in and requested Whitney Houston’s national anthem on the radio.”

Best Whitney Houston, 1991

Best Whitney Houston, 1991

No JAY-Z For U

The truth is that not everyone is willing to perform at the Super Bowl when the opportunity is offered to them. In 2017, Jay-Z allegedly turned down the chance to perform at the halftime show of the Super Bowl LII. According to the Sun, an insider said, “He really has no plans to do the half-time show.” It is possible that he was not happy that Beyonce did not get paid for it. On the other hand, it might also have to do with his refusal to show support for NFL players who do not bend down and kneel when the national anthem is playing. It should be common sense to do such a thing.

No JAY Z For U

No JAY-Z For U

Best: Tribute To Louis Armstrong, 1972

In the ‘70s, the halftime shows at the Super Bowl were very different from what they are now. Despite this, they did have a few memorable moments as well. One such moment had to do with Louis Armstrong at the Super Bowl VI in 1972. Ella Fitzgerald and Al Hirt delivered a great jazz performance as a tribute to the trumpeter-singer. She frequently sang with him in the past. Together with the U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team and Carol Channing, Hirt and Fitzgerald sang “Mack the Knife.” Fitzgerald also made history as the first woman of African-American descent to perform at the halftime show!

Best Tribute To Louis Armstrong, 1972

Best Tribute To Louis Armstrong, 1972

From A To ZZ Top

ZZ Top performed at the halftime show in the same year that the Bleus Brothers did. The bearded band had a set of their own at Super Bowl XXXI. They played songs such as “Legs” and “Tush” on the stage. Sadly, viewers called the performance by the Blues Brothers “painful.” A lot of them had tuned out before ZZ Top could even play. We are glad that the band was not harmed by the mediocre performance that preceded theirs. At the moment, ZZ Top has sold over 25 million albums. In 2004, the band entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well.

From A To ZZ Top

From A To ZZ Top

Frodo Was There

You just never know who you will find at the Super Bowl halftime show. It is, after all, among the biggest live performances of each year. There is one thing that might take you by surprise. Did you know that Elijah Wood performed at a halftime show in the past? He is best known for bringing Frodo to life in The Lord of the Rings. The truth is that he only had a small part in the Super Bowl halftime show, but it is still worth mentioning. The actor sang beside country musicians such as Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, and Clint Black. Wood was also in a 1993 Super Bowl commercial for Wavy Lay’s potato chips.

Frodo Was There

Frodo Was There

Gaga’s Halftime Haters

In 2017, Lady Gaga delivered a hit performance at the halftime show. Sadly, she became the target of online trolls who tried to shame her for her appearance. These people went on social media to say that she had a “muffin top” or “beer gut.” There was no way the pop icon would stand for that when she has always advocated for body acceptance. She took to Instagram to say, “I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you and be relentlessly you.” Let us keep our fingers crossed that her fans will follow her wise piece of advice.

Gaga’s Halftime Haters

Gaga’s Halftime Haters

Elvis Has Left The Building

How do you like the sound of watching magic tricks at the Super Bowl? This has actually happened in the past. Let us just say that this changed the course of the halftime performances. In 1989, Elvis Presto took the stage as a magician and Elvis Presley impersonator. This happened at Super Bowl XXIII. He was accompanied by the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and 2,000 dancers at the time. It was an attempt to lure in viewers, and it kind of worked. Dan Witkowski, the producer of the show, said, “[A]ll of the baby boomers were trying to cling on to the past and so it just all kind of clicked from that standpoint.”

Elvis Has Left The Building

Elvis Has Left The Building

That’s A Lot Of Ebony And Ivory

Which halftime show holds the record for the most pianos performing at the same time? The answer is Super Bowl XXII in 1988. This took place in San Diego and had the theme “something grand.” Chubby Checker, the USC Marching Bands, the San Diego State University Marching Aztecs, and the Rockettes performed with 88 grand pianos to accompany them. It was an elaborate show produced by Radio City Music Hall. We want to know how many tuners they hired to work on all of the pianos! The Super Bowl had a tribute to Bob Hope as well.

That’s A Lot Of Ebony And Ivory

That’s A Lot Of Ebony And Ivory

Katy Perry Photobomb?

Whoa, what a creepy photo. We are not sure what was happening when it was taken. This was taken at the halftime show at the 2017 Super Bowl. Someone pointed out the creepy guy in the background while Katy Perry belted out to “Teenage Dream.” A person took to Reddit to say, “[P]aused the halftime show at the right moment and saw this guy.” Do you think that he is a stagehand or a random creep who somehow made his way to the stage? Sorry, but we just don’t know. One of the other users chimed in, “We all were focused on the fake sharks… while the real shark lurked behind the waves.”

Katy Perry Photobomb

Katy Perry Photobomb

Set Up Has To Happen In Minutes

Anyone who has watched the halftime show at the Super Bowl must have been blown away by the quick and elaborate stages. They seem to just magically appear on the football field, but this is not black magic. This is all about a ton of people who work hard and fast. Popular Mechanics had the opportunity to report on the process that went into the performance of The Who in 2010. It took 600 people to get the stage right! Charles Coplin, the vice president of NFL special events, said that it is “[s]ix minutes on and six minutes off the stage. There’s just no way to describe that other than sheer terror.”

Set Up Has To Happen In Minutes

Set Up Has To Happen In Minutes

When Things Don’t Go Smoothly

It does not matter what goes on because the people behind the scenes need to set up the halftime stages as quickly as possible. It can take several days to assemble the stage for a typical concert, but the Super Bowl staff only get a couple of minutes. In 2010, four people got injured as they rehearse the stage set-up for the performance of The Who. One of them had been hurt so badly that they had to be flown out via chopper. Before Prince made his 2007 halftime performance, it started to rain. The power also went out. This was solved by having a stagehand hold two cords together for twelve minutes!

When Things Don’t Go Smoothly

When Things Don’t Go Smoothly

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Unplugged

Fans could not help but notice how the instruments of the Red Hot Chili Peppers looked unplugged at Super Bowl XLVIII. Flea confirmed all the speculation that the band was aware that they only had to provide live vocals because everything else was going to be pre-recorded. He wrote a letter to fans to discuss this. “I understand the NFL’s stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the TV viewers,” he said. Flea said that they would be willing to play the same gig in the same way again in the future.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Unplugged

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Unplugged

Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Controversy

No performance at the Super Bowl halftime show is immune to criticism. This is only natural since so many people tune in to watch it. In 2016, Beyonce delivered a politically charged performance that referenced the Black Lives Matter movement, Hurricane Katrina, the Black Panthers, and Malcolm X. Approval and criticism followed. Jessica Williams on the Today Show supported the musician in an editorial segment. She said, “I didn’t realize that singing about race was equivalent to Janet Jackson getting her [expletive] pulled out at the Super Bowl. But you’re right … the fans deserve wholesome entertainment. Like watching 300-pound men give each other concussions while a crowd cheers like we’re extras in the movie Gladiator.”

Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Controversy

Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Controversy

Up With People

We already told you this, but Up With People has the most performances at the halftime shows of the Super Bowl. What are they exactly? Well, it is an educational organization formed as part of a spiritual movement called the Moral Re-Armament in 1965. It began doing “Sing Out shows” and began to get Super Bowl gigs even though it was not particularly popular among fans of football. A lot of people say that it helped establish the modern halftime performances as we know them now: big, bold, and dramatic. It is interesting to learn that Glenn Close used to be a member of this group.

Up With People

Up With People

Secrecy Is Of The Utmost Importance

It is very important to keep the details of the halftime performance a secret from the public. When Cracked spoke to two performers who previously worked on the shows, they revealed insider details that no one was privy to. They said that the job is protected by nondisclosure agreements. Aside from that, the workers are not allowed to bring cellphones into the facilities. The rehearsals are shrouded in secrecy as well. As a matter of fact, Missy Elliott did not go to the rehearsals until only one day before she made a surprise appearance and joined Katy Perry on the stage in 2015. This happened because the producers had been concerned that word would get out.

Secrecy Is Of The Utmost Importance

Secrecy Is Of The Utmost Importance

Not A Pretty Thought

You should not be fooled by all the glitz and glamour of the halftime shows either. They tend to hide more unpleasant facts. At halftime, people debate on whether to go to the restroom or stay parked in front of the TV. Scott Tissue wrote an amusing analysis of all the toilets that flush at this point of the Super Bowl. “More than 350 million gallons of water will flush through our toilets as an estimated 90 million people use their facilities,” said the company. “That amount of flushing equals seven minutes of water flowing over the Niagara Falls.” We can’t say that we have thought about it like that before.

Not A Pretty Thought

Not A Pretty Thought

Timberlake’s Tribute To Prince, And Selfie Kid

If you ask us, the halftime show at the 2018 Super Bowl featured some of the greatest entertainers in recent memory. Justin Timberlake did not have a great experience on the stage in the past, but he delivered a great comeback. He sang all the classics and paid Prince a tribute as well. Once he was exhausted by all the dancing, he decided to get up close and personal with the crowd. As he cozied up with the fans, he snapped a selfie with an adorable kid. The little boy even appeared on Ellen after that!

Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show

Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show

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