The Super Bowl halftime show stage has seen some of the most memorable performances in music history — and a few we’d like to erase from our brains.
This year, COVID-19 restrictions have presented unique challenges, but The Weeknd is ready to deliver what he hopes will be a “cinematic experience.” The Canadian crooner told Billboard that he spent $7 million of his own money in order to make the Super Bowl 55 halftime show “be what he envisioned.” Hey, if nothing else, you have to respect the fact that he’s going all-out.
Where will The Weeknd’s spectacle land on the spectrum? That remains to be seen. For now, let’s take a look back at the best and worst halftime shows in Super Bowl history.
Best Super Bowl halftime shows
Michael Jackson (1993)
Jackson appeared on stage and stood there for nearly two minutes, driving fans into a frenzy. The King of Pop, indeed.
His set list included “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” “We Are the World,” and “Heal the World,” so there may have been a slight sense of disappointment considering he didn’t feature more of his uptempo hits. Still, Jackson deserves credit for changing how we perceived what a halftime show could truly be.
Leave it to Prince to make it feel like a torrential downpour was part of the plan. He sang and cycled through guitars as only he could and had the crowd hitting the high notes of “Purple Rain” before he allowed that silly football game to follow his concert.
Other performers deserve to be in the conversation for the best Super Bowl halftime show ever, but man, good luck arguing against Prince.
Visuals galore! Sparks are flying out of that guitar! Wait, Destiny’s Child has arrived! She’s doing the “Single Ladies” dance!
Energy beams flowed right out of television sets and into living rooms that night. We were one with the Beyonce.
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira (2020)
Imagine complaining about this show because a couple of attractive women dared to shake their hips. What a bunch of dorks.
J-Lo and Shakira celebrated Latin culture and electrified the audience. Just a dynamic duo dominating like LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Worst Super Bowl halftime shows
New Kids on the Block (1991)
Don’t blame New Kids on the Block for this. The boy band was stuck doing the most Disney-fied production possible. A family-friendly show? Absolutely. Entertaining? Not at all.
Look, if you don’t let NKOTB belt out “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” then you made a serious mistake.
Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias and Toni Braxton (2000)
Again, too much of a Mickey Mouse flavor. Allow talented singers to perform their own songs. This isn’t that hard.
Unless you were a big fan of Kangol hats and random narration, this was a swing and a miss.
The Black Eyed Peas (2011)
Weird futuristic suits, bad autotune, inconsistent audio levels. There’s Usher half-heartedly dancing around. Apparently Slash is doing something.
Let’s get it started in here? No. Stop it. Right now.
Maroon 5 (2019)
Cameos from Big Boi, Travis Scott and SpongeBob SquarePants — yep, that happened — couldn’t save this Super Bowl stinker. You forgot what took place immediately after Adam Levine and Co. left the stage.
Should have just played “Sweet Victory” and called it a day, guys.
Super Bowl halftime shows list all time
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