Super Bowl Performances during The Big Game are one of many aspects that people look forward to seeing during Super Bowl Sunday. The show takes place during halftime.
Since 1991, Super Bowl Performances feature a singer or band who has made a huge impact on pop culture (Super Bowl Performances during halftime prior to 1991 were university marching bands and drill teams performing a routine to a specific theme). Selected Headliners perform a medley of some of their biggest hits. Some of the selected headline acts for Super Bowl Performances invite other artists and/or bands to perform in the halftime show as special guests. For the upcoming Super Bowl (Super Bowl LIV), the halftime show will be co-headlined by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
Over the years, there have been some Super Bowl Performances which have stood out and left viewers in shook either due to how good/bad they were, if any huge surprises happen (for example, a former band reuniting), moments from the halftime show going viral, to name a few.
With that being said, listed below are The Top 10 Super Bowl Performances That Left Everyone SHOOK:
10. Super Bowl LIII – Maroon 5 (2019):
For Super Bowl LIII (the most recent Super Bowl to take place), Maroon 5 was the headline act and the band performed a medley of some of their biggest hits. In addition, their set included special guest performances from Travis Scott and Big Boi.
However, Maroon 5’s Super Bowl Halftime Show received a lot of negative reviews as many viewers and critics considering it to be very boring and underwhelming. Some even argued that the selection of Maroon 5 was a ‘Safe’ and uncontroversial choice in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick Controversy.
9. Super Bowl XXVII – Michael Jackson (1993):
I couldn’t forget to include the King of Pop in the Super Bowl Performances that left everyone shook. The medley of hits he performed at the Super Bowl XXVII Halftime Show consisted of “Jam”, “Billie Jean”, “Black or White”, “We Are the World” (a children’s choir sang this single along with Jackson), and “Heal the World”.
Michael Jackson’s set left everyone in shook as not only was it great, but it also increased the TV Ratings of Super Bowl XVII significantly. Many credit Jackson’s performances with the starting the trend of the NFL getting big names to appear and perform in the Super Bowl Halftime Show to attract more viewers and interest.
8. Super Bowl XXXIX – Paul McCartney (2005):
After Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson’s boob (see #1 below) during the previous halftime show, Super Bowl Performances for the halftime show began featuring classical rock artists for the next six years. The Halftime Show for Super Bowl XXXIX (2005) was the first to do so and the legendary Paul McCartney was given the honor of performing for that Super Bowl.
McCartney’s set left a lot of people shook because it was different from what viewers had seen in the past and even in the present from modern-day singers and bands.
7. Super Bowl XLIX – Katy Perry (2015):
During the Super Bowl Performances for The Halftime Show each year, several moments go viral and have a lot of people talking about (especially in the age of social media today). Katy Perry’s set for Super Bowl XLIX featured her performing a medley of some of her biggest singles and special guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot.
Perry’s Halftime Show for Super Bowl XLIX was excellent and will be remembered for years to come not just because of how good the show was, but also the antics of the “Left Shark”. The breakout star of The Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show, the Left Shark was featured (Along with his counterpart, the Right Shark, and several dancers) during Perry’s medley of “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls”. The clip below shows how the Left Shark became an internet sensation: For dancing offbeat and out of sync to the Right Shark.
6. Super Bowl XLVI – Madonna (2012):
Madonna’s Halftime Show for Super Bowl XLVI was amazing in all aspects from the medley of her various hit singles to the costumes to the performances (including hers and the special guest performances) to the stage and set designs. The special guests performers for Super Bowl XLVI were LMFAO, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., and Cee Lo Green.
However, Madonna’s is one of the Top 10 Super Bowl Performances that left everyone SHOOK because M.I.A. extended her middle finger to the cameras as she was singing the end of her verse to “Give Me All Your Luvin”, a single that Madonna collaborated on with M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. The NFL would end up suing M.I.A. for $16.6 million but ended up settling for an undisclosed amount in August 2014.
5. Super Bowl LI – Lady Gaga (2017):
Although Lady Gaga’s Halftime Show Set during Super Bowl LI almost three years ago, it’s one of the greatest Super Bowl Performances of all time! To this present day, her Halftime Show is the most-watched musical event of all time with 150 million viewers watching it on television. Those numbers also include viewership of video postings on NFL Platforms and social media posts, according to SB Nation. Watch the video below to see Lady Gaga’s spectacular Halftime Show for her Super Bowl Performances.
4. Super Bowl XXXVI – U2 (2002):
U2’s Halftime Show for 2002 Super Bowl left everyone SHOOK not because of how good/bad the show was, but because of how powerful and emotional it was. Super Bowl XXXVI took place months after the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks happened (the nation was still in deep mourning by the time Super Bowl XXXVI took place).
The Irish band paid tribute to the victims and Americans by performing their hit singles “Beautiful Day”, “MLK”, and “Where the Streets Have No Name”. As the band was performing, they had the names of all those who died in the 9/11 scrolling down a backdrop and Bono displayed an American flag inspired jacket lining at the end of the show. U2’s powerful and emotional set ranks highly amongst the greatest Super Bowl Performances ever and watching it back again years later still gives me chills.
3. Super Bowl XXXV – Various Artists (2001):
Super Bowl XXXV was held in 2001 at the Raymond James Stadium (the home stadium of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) in Tampa Bay, Florida. The halftime show that year was produced by MTV and featured performances from Aerosmith, NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly. Each of these bands and solo artists performed some of their biggest hits.
Viewers were treated with a rock, pop, and hip-hop combination perfect for the start of the new millennium. This blend of various music genres made the Super Bowl XXXV Halftime Show one of the greatest and most memorable Super Bowl Performances ever.
2. Super Bowl XLI – Prince (2007):
Of all the Super Bowl Performances to make this list, Prince’s for Super Bowl XLI in 2007 ranks highly among the greatest ones ever. Prince gave an iconic Halftime Show performance during Super Bowl XLI. My favorite part was the end of it when he performed his hit single “Purple Rain” in the pouring rain. Of all the Super Bowl Performances, Prince’s is always ranked as the greatest one of all time.
1. Super Bowl XXXVIII – Janet Jackson (2004):
Readers probably know which one I was going to put as #1. From all of the Super Bowl Performances (past and future), the one that left everyone SHOOK was the one during Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
Jessica Simpson, Nelly, P. Diddy, and Kid Rock were part of the lineup that year, but the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show will forever be remembered by the performance of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. The two were doing a duet of the latter’s single “Rock Your Body” and towards the end, Timberlake (whether intentional or not), ripped off a part of Jackson’s outfit to reveal her bare breast (which was adorned with a nipple shield) for about half a second.
The wardrobe malfunction caused the Super Bowl XXVIII Halftime Show to be the most controversial performance of all time. The incident led to a delay in the live broadcasts, fines, and much more fallout.
From these 10 Super Bowl Halftime Show Performances, which one shocked you the most? Are there any particular moments from any of these Super Bowl Performances that you still remember to this very day? Be sure to let us know your answers to both questions down below in the comments section!
Featured Image Source: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/super-bowl/7678119/lady-gaga-super-bowl-halftime-show-political
I am currently a senior at The University of Miami. I will graduate in December 2021 with a major in Journalism and minor in Sports Administration.