Super Bowl Halftime Hits & Flops

Even if you’re not really an NFL fan, you’ll find yourself at least a little bit interested in the Super Bowl and its halftime extravaganza which requires just as much, if not more production than the game itself.

Last year’s high energy Latin extravaganza in Miami featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira generated plenty of headlines, a few viewer complaints and more than a few uncomfortable silences as you tried not to stare for too long.

As with just about everything at the moment, this Super Bowl Halftime Show will be a little bit different than in previous years however The Weeknd is promising to put on a show.

Time will tell if he is going to join the list of Super Bowl Halftime Hits or suffer the ignominy of the ultra-sad list of misses.

Misses
Super Bowl XLV – Black Eyed Peas

Not to start off on a negative note but this was far and away from the worst Super Bowl halftime show imaginable.

With awkward choreography, a bizarre light show and Fergie butchering Sweet Child of Mine while grinding on Slash, you wished you were in the Steelers locker room getting reamed out by Mike Tomlin.

Super Bowl XXXIV – The Walt Disney “Spectacular”

With the game being broadcast on ABC, owned by the Disney company, it makes sense that the show should feature some sort of tie in.

Instead of an entertaining collaboration between Toni Braxton, Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera and Enrique Iglesias it was this weird “embrace the future show that looked like a rejected scene from the fifth or sixth planned sequel to Fantasia.

Would it have been that hard to hear some of their hits instead of lip-syncing to some album they were trying to push?

Super Bowl XXIX – Indiana Jones Remake

If you were looking for a worse Indiana Jones clip than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, this might be it.

First of all, there was no Harrison Ford and some bizarre creative decisions, like some guy setting himself on fire.

In all honesty that sounded like a better way to get through the intermission than sit through this.

Super Bowl XLIV – The Who

The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard The Who were doing the halftime show was that I couldn’t wait to hear “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

Unfortunately, out of sync audio and a band clearly past their prime ended those hopes for a good halftime show.

It was all set up for them but… it just didn’t work.

Super Bowl XLVII – Beyonce

Full disclosure, I was really excited when Beyonce was announced as the halftime show for Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans.

Unfortunately, she didn’t really follow through on her primary job description, forgetting she was supposed to be a singer and not putting on a dance recital.

Sure, we got the Destiny’s Child reunion to tickle the nostalgia bone, but it wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world if the power went out during the performance instead of the game.

While her solo show fell flat, Beyonce redeemed herself somewhat with an impressive guest spot three years later teaming up with Bruno Mars to salvage Coldplay’s snoozefest of a performance.

Super Bowl LII – Justin Timberlake

14 years after the infamous Nipplegate disaster, JT was all geared up for a triumphant return to the Super Bowl halftime show.

He even had the self-awareness early on during Rock Your Body to reference the “wardrobe malfunction” and have a bit of fun with it.

On the whole, though, the show just fell flat with his weird electro-pop mix never quite taking off, instead of bringing back bad memories of Robbie Williams’ Rudebox era.

Plus, he spent more time running around the stadium trying to keep up with the choreography than actually singing.

Hits

Super Bowl XXXVI – U2

We have to start off with the best of the best and U2 leads the way with this spectacular, emotion-filled performance.

Beautiful Day, MLK and Where the Streets Have No Name still gives you chills when you watch the September 11 tribute.

It set the bar for every other performer to reach and while some have come close, nothing will match that performance in New Orleans.

Super Bowl XXXV – Aerosmith, N*Sync & A Bunch of Cameos

Nothing screams early 2000’s MTV than these bands but somehow, it actually worked really well.

Aerosmith and N*Sync traded songs before combining to finish off with a spectacular collaboration on Walk This Way.

As if that wasn’t enough 2000’s stuff for you, there were also (very brief) cameos from Britney Spears, Nelly and Mary J Blige just for good measure.

Perhaps the best part of the entire show might have been Britney singing next to Steven Tyler and getting drowned out.

Super Bowl XLI – Prince

In the first-ever Super Bowl played in the rain, Prince put on a show that was made all the more spectacular by the miserable weather.

Despite fears, the diminutive pop star wouldn’t take to the stage given the inclement conditions, he came out and delivered one of the most memorable performances in Super Bowl memory.

Of course, he had to finish with Purple Rain.

Super Bowl XLIII – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

The post-Nipplegate trend of going for the old rockers was getting a bit stale by this stage but you can’t go wrong with the boss.

He and his band carried the show without a whole lot of excessive production and over the top flashiness.

A true rock star performance in every sense of the word, he even managed to overcome a knee slide straight into a camera that momentarily robbed him of his breath.

Super Bowl XLVIII – Bruno Mars

While the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl might have been a forgettable week in the Big Apple (and a forgettable week for the Broncos), Bruno Mars was the standout for his highly entertaining halftime show.

Full of energy and creativity, Mars showed off his range while channelling his inner James Brown.

That being said we probably could have done without the interruption from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers but overall this was one to remember.

Super Bowl LI – Lady Gaga

Gaga might not be everyone’s cup of tea but you can’t deny she went all out for her halftime show when given the chance.

Her first song choice of God Bless America would have ruined quite a few bets who would have taken songs like Edge of Glory but it was a great performance.

If you can work out where she disappeared to at the end though… you’re doing better than me.