Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows – Ranked

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We all look forward to the Super Bowl all year-long. However, the football action is only a part of what brings millions of viewers across Canada and the world to watch this annual event. The halftime show is a spectacle like few others. Every year memorable moments and celebrity surprises are jam-packed into half an hour. Some of these have gone down in history as the best shows of their kind. Others we will always remember as historic flops.

These events are such an important part of the show that people actually bet on which songs will be played and how long they will last.  Be sure to check out how to bet on the Super Bowl in Canada to make sure you do it right and to see some of the fun things people wager on. For now, let’s go through the best of the best through the Super Bowl halftime show’s half-century history.

Prince 2007

“A Prince projection shows up at the Super Bowl LII Half Time Show” by Lorie is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Sometimes you just get lucky. In order to top this list, you would need more than superstar talent, a unique artistic legacy, and a cult following. You would also need that extra touch of luck to really leave all the other shows behind.

In 2007 Prince delivered a relatively low-tech, but nonetheless exhilarating performance.

The stage was the shape of the symbol of “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” He opened by riffing “We Will Rock You” and quickly switched to “Let’s Go Crazy.”

This show will always be remembered for its final moments. As violet spotlights project his backlight silhouette into the sky, he shreds the guitar solo of his most famous song: “Purple Rain.” And just at this moment, luck strikes and rain begins to fall, made purple by the lighting system, delivering an epic moment that puts Prince comfortably on the top of this list. 

Beyoncé 2013

Beyoncé also benefited from a certain type of serendipity. She made her legendary Super Bowl performance just as she was being unofficially crowned Queen Bee. It was the perfectly timed launch of a new era in pop music. An era over which Beyoncé would reign unchallenged.

And her staging reflected this moment. The stage was made of two of her profiles. The all-black aesthetic, reminding fans of her spectacular “Single Ladies” music video, made clear the bridge she was making between high and low brow culture.

She was already a well-loved musician with plenty of history and hits to wow her fans. She highlighted this by bringing out the other members of Destiny’s Child.

She chose to have only women on stage performing with her. These are the types of statements that have marked Beyoncé’s brand as an artist and an activist. This halftime show was jaw-dropping at the time. No doubt. But it leaves its mark in history by signaling the beginning of an era.

“Beyonce at the Super Bowl XLVII Half Time Show” by Wikimedia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Michael Jackson 1993

This was the year that started it all. Well, there had been other half time shows, but this is what really turned the Super Bowl halftime show into legendary entertainment.

When you watch the clip, you can tell it was a first go at it. The crowd is often louder than the music and the transmission is interrupted by commercials. However, you can tell this superstar knew what he was doing on the stage.

The crowd was going wild for several minutes before any music was sounding through the air. This was his moment. Michael Jackson had several big television moments. Think 1988 Grammy’s or his Oprah interview.

This performance, like that of Beyoncé, becomes more memorable in retrospect. It was not only the first big televised halftime show, but it was also Michael Jackson’s grand finale. He would never have such a tv performance again.