Super Bowl Halftime Hits & Flops

Even if you’re not really an NFL fan, you’ll find yourself at least a little bit interested in the Super Bowl and its halftime extravaganza which requires just as much, if not more production than the game itself.

Last year saw The Weeknd put on a show for the masses from Tampa Bay that left many asking… what was that?

With the big game returning to Los Angeles, the NFL is going out with a hip-hop extravaganza headlined by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige, Dr Dre and Kendrick Lamar.

The most epic, star-studded Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show trailer is OUT Film 🎥🌟

Watch these five music titans get ready for the #PepsiHalftime Show on Feb 13th.

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It’s one we’re all looking forward to but will it crack into our list of Super Bowl halftime hits or fall into our list of misses?

The market is favourite hit.

Super Bowl XLV – Black Eyed Peas

Not to start off on a negative note but this was far and away from the worst Super Bowl halftime show imaginable.

With awkward choreography, a bizarre light show and Fergie butchering Sweet Child of Mine while grinding on Slash, you wished you were in the Steelers locker room getting reamed out by Mike Tomlin.

Super Bowl XXXIV – The Walt Disney “Spectacular”

With the game being broadcast on ABC, owned by the Disney company, it makes sense that the show should feature some sort of tie in.

Instead of an entertaining collaboration between Toni Braxton, Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera and Enrique Iglesias it was this weird “embrace the future show that looked like a rejected scene from the fifth or sixth planned sequel to Fantasia.

Would it have been that hard to hear some of their hits instead of lip-syncing to some album they were trying to push?

Super Bowl XXIX – Indiana Jones Remake

If you were looking for a worse Indiana Jones clip than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, this might be it.

First of all, there was no Harrison Ford and some bizarre creative decisions, like some guy setting himself on fire.

In all honesty that sounded like a better way to get through the intermission than sit through this.

Super Bowl XLIV – The Who

The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard The Who were doing the halftime show was that I couldn’t wait to hear “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

Unfortunately, out of sync audio and a band clearly past their prime ended those hopes for a good halftime show.

It was all set up for them but… it just didn’t work.

Super Bowl XLVII – Beyonce

Full disclosure, I was really excited when Beyonce was announced as the halftime show for Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans.

Unfortunately, she didn’t really follow through on her primary job description, forgetting she was supposed to be a singer and not putting on a dance recital.

Sure, we got the Destiny’s Child reunion to tickle the nostalgia bone, but it wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world if the power went out during the performance instead of the game.

While her solo show fell flat, Beyonce redeemed herself somewhat with an impressive guest spot three years later teaming up with Bruno Mars to salvage Coldplay’s snoozefest of a performance.

Super Bowl LII – Justin Timberlake

14 years after the infamous Nipplegate disaster, JT was all geared up for a triumphant return to the Super Bowl halftime show.

He even had the self-awareness early on during Rock Your Body to reference the “wardrobe malfunction” and have a bit of fun with it.

On the whole, though, the show just fell flat with his weird electro-pop mix never quite taking off, instead of bringing back bad memories of Robbie Williams’ Rudebox era.

Plus, he spent more time running around the stadium trying to keep up with the choreography than actually singing.

Super Bowl LV – The Weeknd

The entire 2020 NFL season was a weird one as it was played out in the midst of the Covid pandemic, leading to empty or limited capacity stadiums, so it was only fitting the Super Bowl halftime show that year was a bit different.

In defence of The Weeknd, he was already behind the eight ball dealing with a stadium that lacked its usual Super Bowl buzz with barely one third of it filled.

He did what he could, but the whole show just felt a bit flat and never was able to reach the heights of some of the other good ones.

The game being pretty much over and done with by that stage didn’t help either.


Super Bowl XXXVI – U2

We have to start off with the best of the best and U2 leads the way with this spectacular, emotion-filled performance.

Beautiful Day, MLK and Where the Streets Have No Name still gives you chills when you watch the September 11 tribute.

It set the bar for every other performer to reach and while some have come close, nothing will match that performance in New Orleans.

Super Bowl XXXV – Aerosmith, N*Sync & A Bunch of Cameos

Nothing screams early 2000’s MTV than these bands but somehow, it actually worked really well.

Aerosmith and N*Sync traded songs before combining to finish off with a spectacular collaboration on Walk This Way.

As if that wasn’t enough 2000’s stuff for you, there were also (very brief) cameos from Britney Spears, Nelly and Mary J Blige just for good measure.

Perhaps the best part of the entire show might have been Britney singing next to Steven Tyler and getting drowned out.

Super Bowl XLI – Prince

In the first-ever Super Bowl played in the rain, Prince put on a show that was made all the more spectacular by the miserable weather.

Despite fears, the diminutive pop star wouldn’t take to the stage given the inclement conditions, he came out and delivered one of the most memorable performances in Super Bowl memory.

Of course, he had to finish with Purple Rain.

Super Bowl XLIII – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

The post-Nipplegate trend of going for the old rockers was getting a bit stale by this stage but you can’t go wrong with the boss.

He and his band carried the show without a whole lot of excessive production and over the top flashiness.

A true rock star performance in every sense of the word, he even managed to overcome a knee slide straight into a camera that momentarily robbed him of his breath.

Super Bowl XLVIII – Bruno Mars

While the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl might have been a forgettable week in the Big Apple (and a forgettable week for the Broncos), Bruno Mars was the standout for his highly entertaining halftime show.

Full of energy and creativity, Mars showed off his range while channelling his inner James Brown.

That being said we probably could have done without the interruption from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers but overall this was one to remember.

Super Bowl LI – Lady Gaga

Gaga might not be everyone’s cup of tea but you can’t deny she went all out for her halftime show when given the chance.

Her first song choice of God Bless America would have ruined quite a few bets who would have taken songs like Edge of Glory but it was a great performance.

If you can work out where she disappeared to at the end though… you’re doing better than me.

Super Bowl LIV – Jennifer Lopez and Shakira

To close out the 2019 season, the NFL took the Super Bowl to Miami and the duo of J-Lo and Shakira put on a high energy, Latin inspired display.

While it might not have been to everyone’s tastes, it produced some of the more memorable Super Bowl Halftime reactions in a very long time.

Not even SBS could have captions as good as these #SuperBowl

— NedsAU (@NedsAus) February 3, 2020

The Chiefs may have won the Bowl but J-Lo and Shakira won the Day!#SuperBowl #SBLIV

— NedsAU (@NedsAus) February 3, 2020

And given what ensured in the months to come, a bit of fun to start off 2020 wasn’t the worst thing in hindsight.

Author: Paula Allen