The Super Bowl is the most-watched television program every year and people are not just turning into the game, but the halftime show is also a major draw to the event. Throughout the history of the Super Bowl, the halftime show has evolved and grown into a spectacle that is one of the most highly anticipated musical performances each year.
Throughout the 57 Super Bowls, there have been bands, pop singers, rappers and surprise guests take the stage in front of a stadium full of fans. Wild stunts, visual effects and props are often used to make the performances stand out. There are many options to choose from when it comes to the most wild, exciting and iconic moments, but we did our best to put together some of the best of the best.
10. Destiny’s Child reunion (2013)
Beyonce is one of the most-talked about and beloved artists of all time and is often put on a pedestal above most others. She has performed at the Super Bowl twice, the first time coming in 2013. That year, she made many ’90s and early ’00s pop fans dreams come true with a Destiny’s Child reunion, bringing out Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.
9. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent share a stage, win an Emmy (2022)
Getting this many hip-hop and R&B legends on one stage, and not just any stage the biggest stage, was iconic in and of itself. This was one of the most exciting Super Bowl halftime shows, with energy that could be felt from the television. The 2022 SoFi Stadium performance was received so well that it went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live), marking the first-ever halftime show to win in the category.
8. Michael Jackson stands still (1993)
Jackson is known as one of the greatest performers of his generation and his presence was so powerful that he would often stand motionless on the stage and still receive the loudest of cheers. The “King of Pop” put his star power to the ultimate test during the 1993 Super Bowl, beginning his set by standing absolutely still for well over a minute. Performers do not get much time on the halftime stage, so most use every minute to its maximum capacity, but M.J. knew he would make an impact even without singing a word.
7. Left Shark (2015)
Even if you do not remember many details about Katy Perry’s halftime show performance, you probably remember Left Shark becoming. The person in the shark costume decided now was their chance to make their mark on the halftime show and earn their fame, and they did just that. The seemingly off-the-cuff dance moves will go down in halftime history.
6. Rihanna’s pregnancy revealed (2023)
Performing the Super Bowl halftime show is a lot of pressure and takes dedication, time, lots of planning and the stamina to keep up with the fast pace while singing. This year,, adding an extra layer of difficulty to an already impressive career highlight. This was the first-ever halftime show pregnancy announcement, and will go down as a memorable moment. Rihanna performed on floating stages She also did the entire halftime performance alone, something that is becoming more rare, and fit 12 songs into the setlist.
5. Lady Gaga jumping from the roof (2017)
Lady Gaga certainly knows how to make an entrance. The jump at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas was prerecorded, but the live impact was still there. It was far from the most graceful dive, but that almost made it even better and so Lady Gaga.
4. U2 honoring 9/11 victims (2002)
This was by far the most emotional halftime performance to date. The game was a few months after Sept. 11 and U2 took the opportunity and the stage to honor those lost in the tragedy. The 2002 show included a screen that showed the names of the victims. While the halftime show is often an upbeat celebration, the band recognized the moment and appropriately delivered a powerful performance.
3. ‘Indiana Jones’ performance (1995)
Patti LaBelle, Tony Bennett and actors portraying an “Indiana Jones” scene brought a performance that was slightly confusing, but epically entertaining. The 1995 performance had the typically “Indiana Jones” imagery and props, while mixing in some football aspects, including setting someone on fire and the actors holding up a replica Lombardi Trophy. It was perfectly chaotic.
2. Diana Ross leaves in a helicopter (1996)
There have been some incredible entrances to the halftime show stage, but Diana Ross owns the title for best exit. When her set was over, she took off in a helicopter. She sat with open arms in the open cabin and it not only was a wild moment, but also looked pretty dangerous.
1. Janet Jackson wardrobe mishap (2004)
The most well known and infamous halftime moment is the one featuring Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. During the performance — which also featured Kid Rock, P. Diddy and Nelly Jackson — Timberlake removed a piece of Janet’s clothing, exposing her breast in a moment that will debated and discussed for years to come. Eighteen years later, Timberlake even penned an apology to Jackson for the scandalous moment.