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LIST: Six Super Bowl Halftime show-stoppers

By Jay-Ann Claudine Gutierrez Published Feb 16, 2022 1:51 pm

More than American football, the Super Bowl is watched by many – netizens included – for its halftime show, which often calls in the biggest musical performers to grace the stadiums with next level production.

This year’s Super Bowl performance from legendary hip-hop artists Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and surprise guest 50 Cent has brought some serious nostalgia to its viewers as they sung hit after hit of the old school classics.

In the wake of their iconic collaboration, we look back at some of the most showstopping halftime shows since the program’s inception.

2021: The Weeknd

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Call out his name for a memorable halftime show, The Weeknd’s 2021 performance was the first to utilize the stands and the field due to the COVID-19 restrictions on audience size.

The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, donned a red glittery coat on top of an all-black ensemble complete with black gloves as he sang his chart-topping hits. The Canadian singer also headed for the backstage for his dizzying mirror-maze segment on Can’t Feel My Face with more than a dozen identical performers who sported head bandages – a nod to The Character, a concept for his fourth studio album After Hours. The performance closed with a socially distanced field of the identical dancers shifting from synchronized movements to mob-like dancing that brought weight to the magnetic pull of The Weeknd’s honey vocals.

2017: Lady Gaga

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For the Super Bowl LI halftime show, singer-songwriter-actress Lady Gaga gave an electrifying performance complete with her signature dance moves as she sang her iconic singles such as Poker Face, Born This Way, and Telephone. Gaga even proved she’s as much a songstress when she stirred the crowd with her emotional rendition of Million Reasons while playing the piano. But in the whole of her performance, the Rain on Me singer made a mark in Super Bowl history by jumping off the top of the NRG stadium in Houston, Texas to get to the field.

Plot twist, though: It was a prerecorded gimmick! Whether it was taped or live, it’s still safe to say that Gaga is one “talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular” artist.

2016: Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyonce

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The Super Bowl halftime show in 2016 was full of color and life as Coldplay took the stage, turning the event into a music festival of their own.

Performing Viva La Vida, Paradise, and Adventure of a Lifetime, the British band gave a lively show for the audience, but the event took a turn for the better when the surprise performers came on—previous Super Bowl performers Bruno Mars (who performed in 2014) and Beyonce (who gave a quite a show in 2013 with the special addition of Destiny’s Child), an appearance that the audience partly deemed as random and confusing.

After the intervals of the two guests, the 50th season’s stage paid tribute to past performances in a quick roll of their clips, ending with all three artists singing Coldplay’s Up and Up, with the words “believe in love” spelled on the colorful stands of Levi’s Stadium in California.

2015: Katy Perry

In 2015, Katy Perry made one of the biggest halftime show entrances as she made her way to the arena riding a 16-foot high mechanical tiger , all while singing her hit 2013 single Roar.

The singer-songwriter went through a total of four outfit changes throughout her twelve-minute performance, where she remained in her fiery outfit singing I Kissed a Girl with surprise guest Lenny Kravitz and switching into an oversized black studded jacket when her second guest Missy Elliot joined her on stage.

In between the color changing balls that the crowd was carrying to the life-sized cartoon beach characters, Perry ended her performance with both literal fireworks and riding on a tiny platform that zoomed in the air like a firework.

2007: Prince

When the rain pours, one expects a live event to stop for obvious reasons. But such is not the case for the late singer-songwriter Prince’s Super Bowl XLI performance. Even as it rained on Miami Gardens that fateful night in 2007, the flamboyant performer rocked out to Let’s Go Crazy, Baby I’m a Star, and Best of You. He also stood on a stage shaped as his unpronounceable namesake Love Symbol, dressed in a turquoise suit with an orange shirt and a black headscarf. Prince singing Purple Rain in the purple rain certainly takes the cake for one of the most memorable performances in the Super Bowl, even dubbed by many as one of the greatest of all time.

1993: Michael Jackson

The late Michael Jackson has always put on an outstanding show throughout his entire career, and his Super Bowl 27 is one of his top tier performances.

As the King of Pop jumped on stage, he stood still for nearly two minutes and gathered anticipation from the crowd – a stunt he devised himself. It’s a feat difficult to execute naturally, but with Jackson’s charisma on full command, the crowd grew steadily hungry for his performance by the second. Once he took his sunglasses off, the show went into motion, and he sang some of his iconic songs Jam, Billie Jean, Black or White, We are the World, and Heal the World.

Jackson set an excellent precedence in the history of the Super Bowl halftime not only from giving one of the most phenomenal halftime shows, but by also using the stage as his platform to advocate for racial equality and call for a better world for our children.