February 5, 2016
Forget the final score. And how many of the commercials do you even remember? In reality, the Super Bowl is the halftime show (who can forget Left Shark from Katy Perry’s performance last year?!). It’s what we remember and what we talk about throughout the rest of the winter. Teams play, points are scored, but the real action is at halftime. After all, who really remembers which team was the winner in 2004? But who can forget the infamous wardrobe malfunction featuring Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson? (In case you were wondering, the winner was the New England Patriots who beat the Carolina Panthers on a last second field goal. Don’t feel bad – we had to look it up too.)
Popular artists have been the norm for the halftime show since 1991 when New Kids on the Block took the stage. To be chosen as the entertainment for the halftime show over the past 25 years, artists must have demonstrated a successful career and a near universal popularity.
So with that in mind, we wanted to know which of the 59 halftime performers* from the past 25 years came out on top as the most popular artist over their careers. To find out, we looked at the halftime performers and their streams on digital radio – how frequently an artist is played on digital radio is an important measurement of popularity and success over an entire career.
Check out our list, ranked in order, of the top 25 performers, below!
*We counted all halftime performers from the past 25 years regardless of whether or not they were the official “headliner.”