When it comes to NFL Super Bowl halftime performances, it’s always an all or nothing kind of affair. Although we cannot help that duds happen every now and then, some performances are incredible and uplifting. There are even occasions when famous musicians put on such a good shows that they basically overshadow the football game itself! We are sure you have heard of some of the events we will be talking about in the next few pages. Let us check out the best, and the worst halftime performances over the years! We hope you are ready for a trip down memory lane.
1992: Gloria Estefan And The Olympic Figure Skaters
The Minnesota cold was the inspiration for the “Winter Magic” theme. There were giant snowmen and talented ice skaters like Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill. The audience was treated to random choreography and impish figures running all over the place. Gloria Estefan was there with the Miami Sound Machine as well, though she mostly tried to turn things around. She did not succeed, which led to more viewers opting to watch the live comedy special of In Living Color instead. The following year, the organizers decided it was time to bring out the big guns aka Michael Jackson.
1997: Blues Brothers
John Goodman, Jim Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd made up the Blues Brothers band. They performed soul and blues, which did not interest the audience. James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, was also there. He could have saved the show, but it was a “day late, dollar too short.” ZZ Top and Catherine Crier were also there, but these rockers also couldn’t save the day. The members of the audience used the time to refill their popcorn and grab a drink instead.
1989: Be-Bop Bamboozled
According to PopDust magazine, Be Bop Bamboozled delivered the “weirdest Super Bowl halftime show ever.” Clearly, they were not the people who felt that way. The entire show was meant to be tongue-in-cheek with the “world’s largest card trick”, 30D glasses, a magician, and an Elvis impersonator called Elvis Presto. According to the producer, 300 million Chinese people watched the show alone. Perhaps it was not the worst Super Bowl halftime performance ever. However, we are sure some people would beg to differ…
1990: Irma Thomas, Doug Kershaw, Pete Fountain, Snoopy
The halftime performance in 1990 can be split into two tributes. One was for the 40th anniversary of Peanuts, while the other was for New Orleans. It was in New Orleans, which meant the music was still enjoyable. It ended with a Snoopy on a Mississippi River steamboat dancing to “When the Saints Go Marching In” before segueing into “Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown”. It was incoherent, which may be a bit of an understatement.
1995: Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye
According to The Bleacher Report, the 1995 halftime performance was “the craziest, weirdest, most unbelievable—and many would say the worst—Super Bowl halftime show ever.” Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, and the Miami Sound Machine participated in the show. In its defense, the NFL claimed Michael Jackson’s halftime show set new standards for performances. The Senior Vice President of Special Events Jim Steeg explained, “After Michael Jackson, a lot of big, A-list talent was afraid to compete with him.” This performance came with an Indiana Jones actor, live pythons, skydivers, and stunt people. Yikes.
2000: Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, Tina Turner
You might also want to consider the Edward James Olmos and Toni Braxton performance in 2000. Here was what For the Win had to say about the singing acts: “The singers performed five songs. More than a decade later, I doubt there’s a single person who could name them, Collins and Aguilera included.” There was an orchestra for the opening, followed by a Disney-sponsored duet by Enrique and Christina Aguilera. Sadly, the Broadway treatment of Lion King did not fly with the audience.
2011: Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas went up on stage and did what they do best – wear light-up robot outfits and delivered their rendition of “I’ve Had The Time of My Life”. Slash of Guns N’ Roses was there, but Fergie’s version of “Sweet Child o’ Mine” was not well-received. This was how Rolling Stone described it: “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.” Meanwhile, For The Win was more charitable with its comments: “It was merely watchable and entertaining. Is that so bad?”
1986: Up With People
The Street had this to say about the ‘Up With People’ performance: “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 music group had been present in one-fifth of the halftime shows for the first two decades of the Super Bowl. They were around for 1976, 1980, and 1982. The publication continued, “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.”
1991: The New Kids on the Block
The halftime show was meant to show support for the troops, but people could not get behind it. The performance came with Disney characters and little kids jumping around to “Step By Step” and “It’s A Small World”. That was the first time the boy band performed at the Super Bowl. However, they were overshadowed by Whitney Houston’s wonderful performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Sadly, the show was not even played on live television as many networks only showed a condensed version when the game ended.
2010: The Who
For the Win found the 2010 performance of The Who to be underwhelming. They 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 was criticized for their lackluster performance. Rolling Stone described it this way: “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.”
2019: Adam Levine
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake had one of the most unforgettable Super Bowl halftime shows in 2004. There was a fair bit of controversy thanks to the wardrobe malfunction Jackson suffered on live TV. Meanwhile, Adam Levine took the stage in 2019. He was criticized heavily when he began to take off his clothes until he was only wearing pants! Twitter users started asking why this was fine, but Jackson’s was not. The double standard was brought to close scrutiny, and rightfully so.
2006: Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones jumpstarted the halftime of Super Bowl 2006 with performances of “Satisfaction”, and “Start Me Up”. Mick Jagger made this joke before diving into “Satisfaction”: “This one we could have done for Super Bowl I.” They had to change out some of the racier lyrics, although the whole performance was received well by the critics and crowds alike. They ended the show with “Rough Justice”.
2015: Katy Perry And Missy Elliott
Katy Perry went with a Vegas-style show complete with Left Shark and dancing palm trees. Everyone was enjoying themselves when Missy Elliott was revealed as “Get Ur Freak On” played. This was her first public appearance in years, so you can imagine how thrilled the audience members were. Rolling Stone described the big reveal by saying, “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.”
Madonna has always been excellent at performing stage shows since she was in her twenties. Everyone was reminded of this during Super Bowl 2012. She went on stage to vogue her heart out. There were dancers in Roman gladiator garb in the back as she performed her greatest hits. Although it was fairly a hit or miss, the viewers had a great time. Madge also partnered with LMFAO for a mix-up of “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy And I Know It”. She even sang “Like A Prayer” with Cee Lo Green for the finale!
Queen Bey opened the halftime performance of Super Bowl 2013 with a silhouette on fire. She emerged from a cloud of smoke and began performing her hit songs like “Crazy in Love” and “Love on Top”. Everyone was also thrilled about the unexpected Destiny’s Child reunion when Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland showed up to perform “Single Ladies”, “Bootylicious”, and “Independent Women”. They also used multi-media to show animation screens with Beyoncé duplicates running around for additional emphasis. This was one halftime show for the books!
After the Janet Jackson slip-up, many were surprised to find Prince on stage. The musician was known for his risqué dance moves and lyrics, but they made the right choice to feature him. He delivered a powerful performance with “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Proud Mary”, “1999”, and the Jimi Hendrix song “All Along the Watchtower”. Fans were delighted when he delivered “Purple Rain” for the finale. Iconic!
This Super Bowl happened only five months after the Twin Towers attack, so it was not like the ones that came before it. U2 and Bono honored the victims with “Where the Streets Have No Name”. The backdrop showed the names of the victims of the tragedy. Bono revealed the stars and stripes in his jacket lining as he was finishing the song. However, there were people who thought it was uncomfortable. Billboard described it this way: “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.”
Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen is here, of course. The musician had a set that lasted 15 minutes, which was longer than most. The four-song set included an unknown song, much to everyone’s puzzlement. Nonetheless, he also played hit songs such as “Born To Run” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”. He had turned down numerous invitations before, so everyone was thrilled when he took the stage in 2009.
2004: Janet Jackson And Justin Timberlake
This might just be the best known halftime game performance in the entire history of the Super Bowl. It is best known for Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, and her famous wardrobe malfunction as they performed “Rock That Body”. This was what Billboard had to say about it: “FCC fines have been assessed, thrown out and appealed in judicial court, and the court of popular opinion will be in sessions for years. But bedazzled breast or not, you have to admit that J&J put on a pretty kick-ass show. It’s a shame all anyone remembers is the last two seconds.”
2001: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, ‘N Sync, Nelly
This Super Bowl halftime performance had two performers at the top of their careers: Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake was with NSync. Rolling Stone said, “’Walk This Way’ 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.”
1993: Michael Jackson
According to For the Win, this was the King of Pop’s last amazing performance. He stood still for 90 seconds as 100,000 fans waved and screamed their hearts out. He opened the show with “Jam”, then “Billie Jean”, followed by “Black or White”, and closed with “Heal the World”. For the Win said, “It was the birth of the modern-day Super Bowl spectacle.” Michael Jackson passed away in 2009.
1998: Boyz II Men
Although a Boyz II Men halftime show sounded promising, it ended up being underwhelming. For starters, they did not perform “End of the Road”, which the audience did not like. They were still in the peak of their career back then, so they made a tribute to Motown. There were many iconic guests such as The Four Tops, The Temptations, Martha Reeves, and Smokey Robinson as well. It was not a complete flop, but it is not exactly the best performance ever either.
1999: Stevie Wonder
When Stevie Wonder graced the halftime stage, he did it with elegance and style. He performed his best hits and let Gloria Estefan have a shot at redeeming herself. He performed “Sir Duke” to honor the centennial birthday of Duke Ellington as well. Meanwhile, Gloria Estefan delivered a salsa percussion that impressed everyone! Big Bad Voodoo Daddy made an appearance as well. However, we daresay most people will never forget how Stevie Wonder drove that car on the field!
2003: Shania Twain, Sting, No Doubt
This was definitely not Shania Twain’s best performance. It was basically considered a snooze fest. If you need proof, just know that the cameraman zoomed in on the keytar guy. It was a good thing that Sting and Gwen Stefani were able to salvage the show somewhat by harmonizing to “Message in a Bottle”!
2014: Bruno Mars, The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Bruno Mars delivered a standout set in 2014, but we expected nothing less! It began with teens singing before the spotlight went to Bruno Mars doing a John Lennon impression. He sang, played instruments, and danced for everyone in attendance! The Red Hot Chili Peppers also joined in on the fun when they shed their shirts and began jumping around to their hits. People had doubts, but it was great fun!
1996: Diana Ross
Before Queen Bey rolled in, we had Diana Ross. She descended to the stage on a crane, yelling, “Come on, world!” There was some commotion as she performed, so many were worried about her safety. However, the most memorable part of the night was when she exclaimed, “Oh my, here comes my ride!” Cue a helicopter landing and a great escape. That’s a diva if we ever saw one!
1967 to 1989: The Halftime Shows
Once upon a time, the halftime shows were very different from what we know now. In all fairness, the former Super Bowl executives had no idea they could do something like the halftime performances of today. According to Rolling Stone, the old halftime events were “bathroom breaks”. Yikes!
1994: Tanya Tucker, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, The Judds
Did you just wonder who these guys are? Well, many people felt the same way. In 1994, America got a set by these Nashville country musicians. It was a wholesome halftime show, but it was also absolutely forgettable. This is what happens when you play it safe!
2008: Tom Petty
If there was a musician who knew how to do a Super Bowl halftime performance, Tom Petty is it. When he went on stage in 2008, he delivered a great performance. He knew what the audience wanted and gave them that. He got it right from the very beginning when he performed “American Girl”! Unfortunately, that season was one of the worst for another Tom – Tom Brady, of course.
2005: Paul McCartney
When Paul McCartney went on stage, people had very high expectations for him. Luckily, he did not crack under all the pressure. He delivered an excellent performance during the halftime show during Superbowl 2005. He opened with “Drive My Car”, performed “Get Back”, followed it with “Live and Let Die”, and closed with “Hey Jude”. There are people who have perfected stage shows, apparently!
Let us give credit where it is due! No matter how you feel about Coldplay, they were successful at opening for Beyonce! It was a high-pressure job that not many can accomplish, but they did it. Of course, they opened with “Yellow” and followed it up with “Viva la Vida”. They also played “Adventure of a Lifetime” and “Paradise” before Bruno Mars took over with “Uptown Funk”. However, everyone was exhilarated with the Chris Martin, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé mashup of “Up&Up” and “Fix You”.
2016: Bruno Mars
Let’s dive straight into Bruno Mars now that we are on the topic! He showed up to play “Uptown Funk” after Coldplay finished their set with “Adventure of a Lifetime”. The talented musician was then followed by another talented musician – we are talking about Beyoncé, of course!
2017: Lady Gaga
For the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show, Mother Monster made her entrance using mile-high cables. If that did not impress you, we bet her renditions of “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land” did! Much to everyone’s delight, Lady Gaga also performed “Telephone”, “Just Dance”, and “Born This Way”.
2015: Left Shark
No matter what you have to say, Left Shark was a hit among the Super Bowl XLIX audience members. Although Katy Perry appeared on stage as well, it was Left Shark who stole the show. Hamish Hamilton, Halftime show director, explained it to 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.”
The halftime show of the Super Bowl XLVI was full of talented people. Fans were already thrilled when Madonna and LMFAO climbed the stage, so what more when M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj joined them in Egyptian garb and pom-poms. M.I.A. was amazing in her own right even though she was not as famous as the other people with her. However, there was something that happened that did not fly with everyone.
2015: M.I.A.’s Middle Finger
M.I.A. flipped her middle finger at the camera while she was performing with Madonna! It might sound like a minor incident, but it blew up. Everyone said that the “finger malfunction” upstaged Madonna! Madge expressed her disappointment by calling M.I.A.’s actions “irrelevant” and “teenage”. This was what she told Ryan Seacrest in an interview: ” 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.”
The NFL Sues M.I.A.
Despite everything, Madonna and M.I.A. remain on good terms. However, the same could not be said for the NFL and M.I.A. Here was what ESPN said: “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.” That was how the American Arbitration Association asked $1.5 million from M.I.A. Yikes.
A Total Of $16 Million
At the time, it seemed like her middle finger saga would never end. Two years after the incident, it still wasn’t resolved. On top of the original fine, the American Arbitration Association asked for $15.1 million more! When it became public, M.I.A. took to Twitter: “@madonna ummm …. can I borrow 16 million?”
2014: M.I.A. Settles
After two and a half years, M.I.A. and NFL reached a settlement. The total amount she the Sri Lankan artist paid never went public. At the very least, her attorney confirmed the dispute was finally over. Apparently, the NFL donated all the money to charity.
There Were Other Expensive Artists
Although M.I.A.’s behavior somewhat “tarnished” the image of the NFL, it was not really a big deal to most people. Moreover, M.I.A. is far from being the only person who did something so controversial on stage. We already talked about the Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson incident, but do you have any idea how much it cost the NFL?
It Cost Them $550,000
We daresay that Janet and Justin still hold the record for the most controversial Super Bowl halftime moment. The FCC got 554,000 complaints afterward! “My decision to change the Super Bowl performance was actually made after the final rehearsal,” Janet Jackson explained, “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 has apologized for the incident, we doubt she will ever return on the stage. Justin, however, was in Super Bowl 2018.
Outkast Turned Them Down
Can you guess who turned down the chance to play in the halftime show of Super Bowl 2004? It was Outkast, who cited artistic reasons. Big Boi told Business Insider that he did not mind doing it, although Andre 3000 was not onboard. They were asked to sing “The Way You Move” and “Hey Ya!”, but the show producers wanted them condensed. Big Boi explained, “[Andre] didn’t want to cut the songs, he wanted to do the full songs. It was like, ‘Nah, can’t do it.” Interestingly, the Janet Jackson wardrobe fiasco would have been avoided if they agreed!
No More And No Less
You would think that the big stars earn a lot of money during the Super Bowl, but this is not the case. Apparently, artists only get reimbursement for their expenses, which includes production costs, lodging, travel, and talent fees). Why? Well, the Super Bowl executives are aware that no performer could gather an audience as much as the Super Bowl could. The exposure is the payment they get. According to Forbes, it cost them $600,000 to pay for Beyoncé’s production expenses alone! Whoa.
No Kids On The Block
We already talked about the 1991 Super Bowl, which was the first one to feature big contemporary performers. In the past, they mostly featured local musicians and college bands. It was in 1991 that New Kids on the Block appeared as the headlining band. However, people tuning in from home were disappointed. The network cut away from the program to cover the Gulf War. Donnie Wahlberg later wrote about it for Playboy: “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.”
The Forgotten Halftime Show
Despite this, the boys were not too heartbroken about the whole thing. According to Donnie Wahlberg, they were not feeling the Disney-sponsored hyper-commercialization. “Afterward, we found out it didn’t air during the game. It had been preempted. George Bush made a speech,” he shared, “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.”
1991: Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston also appeared during Super Bowl XXV. Her performance is yet another momentous Super Bowl moment. Her “The Star-Spangled Banner’ rendition received a lot of praise. In ESPN Magazine, Danyel Smith said, “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.”
Jay-Z Also Said No
Jay-Z I yet another artist who declined the opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl. In 2017, he turned down an offer to appear at Super Bowl LII. According to The Sun, “He really has no plans to do the half-time show.” Perhaps he preferred to watch the show instead of performing during it!
1972: Honoring Louis Armstrong
Half-time shows might not be as big in the ‘70s as they are now, although there were still a couple of unforgettable moments. One such occasion was Ella Fitzgerald and Al Hirt’s tribute to the legendary Louis Armstrong. Carol Channing and the U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team performed alongside them for “Mack the Knife”. It was also historic because it was the first time an African-American woman performed during the Super Bowl halftime.
Blues Brothers Did ZZ Top No Favors
ZZ Top went on stage the same year that the Blues Brothers did. The band’s set for Super Bowl XXXI included “Legs” and “Tush”. Sadly, the so-called “painful” Blues Brothers’ performance meant that numerous viewers already tapped out when ZZ Top appeared. It is a good thing that the band did not suffer by the lackluster Super Bowl performance. As of the present, ZZ Top sold over 25 million albums. In 2004, they were even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Frodo Came To Sing
Apparently, you simply cannot tell which celebrity will appear the Super Bowl. It is one of the greatest live performances every year, so we cannot blame them. This one was fairly surprising, however. Elijah Wood sang during a halftime show! The actor is best known for playing Frodo Baggins in the The Lord of the Rings films, although he has been acting since he was a child. He performed in Super Bowl XXVIII alongside Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, and Wynonna Judd. He was also in the 1993 Super Bowl commercial!
How To Handle Halftime Haters
After her terrific halftime performance in 2017, Lady Gaga became the victim of online trolls who tried to criticize and body-shame her appearance. These cyber bullies posted about how she had a “muffin top” or a “beer gut”. The musician is passionate about body acceptance, so she did sit by and let it pass. She took to Instagram to say this: “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.” What a lovely message for her fans!
Elvis Presto Revolutionized Halftime Performances
What do you think of magic tricks during the Super Bowl? It has happened before, and it basically changed halftime performances. It was in 1989 that Elvis Presto, an Elvis Presley impersonator and magician, took over the stage during Super Bowl XXIII. The performer also had the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and 2,000 dancers with him. It was a part of the “Be-Bop Bamboozled” performance we previously talked about. To this day, it remains the biggest production ever, an effort to attract viewers who were not into football. Apparently, it worked. Dan Witkowski, the show producer, explained“[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.”
During Super Bowl XXII, the halftime performance broke a new record. Did you know that this was the time they made the record for the highest number of pianos performing all at once? The theme of the show was “Something Grand”, which checks out. There were 88 grand pianos playing as the Rockettes, Chubby Checker, San Diego State University Marching Aztecs, and the USC Marching Bands performed. Radio City Music Hall certainly came up with an elaborate show. Any idea how many tuners were required? The halftime performance also came with a Bob Hope tribute. Aside from that, The Wonder Years premiered right after the game!
Katy Perry and the Photobomber
Okay, exactly what is happening here? Someone who watched Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2017 pointed out the creepy figure as the musician was belting out to “Teenage Dream”. The observant fan posted it on Reddit with this caption: “[p]aused the halftime show at the right moment and saw this guy.” Is this a stagehand? A random creep? We might never know… Another Reddit user contributed his two cents: “We all were focused on the fake sharks….while the real shark lurked behind the waves.”
Set Up Does Not Involve Magic
We have all watched the Super Bowl, right? We bet you were impressed by how quickly the displays and stages appeared on the football field. We know it might look like, but there is no magic involved here! The credit goes to a bunch of people working very hard and very fast. Popular Mechanics covered the story about The Who’s performance in 2010. Apparently, it took them 600 people to arrange the stage! Charles Coplin, the NFL special events vice president, explained that it was “[s]ix minutes on and six minutes off the stage. There’s just no way to describe that other than sheer terror.”
When Things Do Not Go According To Plan
Regardless of the conditions, the folks working behind the scenes need to finish the job at lightning speed for a smooth show. When it comes to regular concerts, it might take days to set up. However, the Super Bowl crew does not have the same luxury! In 2010, four people got injured as they rehearsed for the stage setup for the performance of The Who. One of them had such a severe injury they had to be transported by a chopper! Before Prince made his 2007 halftime performance, there was a heavy downpour. The power also went out! A stagehand had to hold two cords together for the entire 12-minute run.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers Without Wires
A lot of fans were observant enough to notice how the instruments being played by the Red Hot Chili Peppers were unplugged during Super Bowl XLVIII. When the rumors were circulating, Flea took to Facebook to confirm what people suspected. He reported that they knew that they would only have live vocals. Flea wrote this for his fans: “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 t.v. viewers.”
Beyoncé Made A Stand
It looks like every performance out there is open to criticism nowadays. With a large audience, it is bound to happen. Beyoncé delivered a politically charged halftime performance in 2016. It referenced Malcolm X, Hurricane Katrina, Black Lives Matter, and the Black Panthers. Many people did not approve of this. However, Jessica Williams from the Today Show expressed her support right away with a biting editorial segment. Here is a snippet: “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.”
What Is Up With People?
As we have previously mentioned, Up With People is the record-holder for most performances during the Super Bowl halftime shows. It is an education organization first formed in 1965 under the spiritual movement called the Moral Re-Armament. The group began doing “Sing Out show” and then started getting Super Bowl invitations despite their lack of popularity among football fans. Nonetheless, many credit them for helping establish the halftime performances as we know them now: big, bold, and dramatic. Interestingly, Glenn Close used to be a member!
Secrecy Is Key
One of the most important things about the halftime show is secrecy. They take this very seriously and ensure that no details are leaked to the public beforehand. Cracked talked to two performers and learned insider details. Both of them said that the job called for Nondisclosure Agreements. They could not bring cellphones inside the facilities and rehearsals were shrouded in secrecy. Missy Elliott did not even show up for rehearsals save for the day before the performance. This was because the producers did not want people to figure out the surprise reveal! Here is Lady Gaga on the field right before the game.
Not All About The Glamour
Behind all the glamour and glitz we associate with the Super Bowl halftime performances, there is something not-so-nice that happens. It is at this point that many people head to the restroom! Scott Tissue wrote a highly entertaining analysis of the number of times toilets flush during the intermission. The company claimed, “More than 350 million gallons of water will flush through our toilets as an estimated 90 million people use their facilities. That amount of flushing equals seven minutes of water flowing over the Niagara Falls.” That is probably too high an estimate, but it did make us think!
Timberlake Returns To The Super Bowl
During the 2018 Super Bowl, we were all treated to another excellent show during halftime. Although there was some controversy about his return to the stage after the Janet Jackson incident, Justin Timberlake did not disappoint any of us. He performed his hits and even paid tribute to Prince! When he was done dancing his heart out, he went to the crowd to parlay with the fans. He even took a selfie with this unsuspecting child!