January 25, 2017
The Super Bowl is great, but let’s be honest – the halftime show remains the best 12 minutes of the broadcast.
More than 116.5 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year’s show, and it’s expected that even more will watch on February 5, when Lady Gaga performs at halftime of Super Bowl LI.
The modern halftime show began in 1991 with New Kids on the Block. Before that, the halftime entertainment included marching bands and tributes for everything from Mardi Gras to Hollywood.
So who has given the best halftime performance? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but here are our five favorite halftime shows we’ll always remember.
1993, Michael Jackson
This was the turning point in terms of halftime shows. USA Today called Michael Jackson’s 1993 performance “the gold standard for the Super Bowl halftime show, and the one that everyone has been trying to recreate.”
Billboard said the King of Pop’s performance “helped change the entire culture of Super Bowl halftime shows.”
Less than five months after the 9/11 terror attacks, U2 took the stage for a somber, uplifting Super Bowl halftime performance, according to CBS.
Rolling Stone said, “U2 created one of the truly great live-TV rock & roll moments of all time,” they wrote.
The band opened with “Beautiful Day,” and as Bono and the gang played “Where the Streets Have No Name” a scrolling backdrop showed the names of all the victims who died in the attacks, with Bono opening his jacket to reveal the stars and stripes in its lining as the song ended.
Some people believe Prince’s 2007 halftime performance ranks as the best of all time. Michael Jackson invented the halftime show with his 1993 performance, “but Prince perfected it,” CBS wrote.
Prince played a few covers, including “We Will Rock You” and “Proud Mary.” He closed with “Purple Rain.”
The Boss made it clear from the start that he wanted everyone’s attention.
“I want you step back from the guacamole dip,” he said. “I want you to put the chicken fingers down and turn your television all the way up!”
The show earned good reviews because of The Boss’s trademark energy.
2013, Beyonce and Destiny’s Child
Rolling Stone ranked this as the third-best halftime show ever.
CBS said the performance “marked her transition from R&B front woman to global megastar.” Viewers got a bonus concert when Bey brought Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams onstage.
Lady Gaga has big shoes to fill. Here is a list of all the halftime shows.
Enjoy the game. And really, enjoy the halftime show.