The Super Bowl is one of the most highly-anticipated events of the year, attracting millions of viewers from across the world. While the game itself is a showcase of athletic prowess and teamwork, it’s the halftime show that often steals the spotlight. Over the years, the halftime show has become a platform for musicians and entertainers to put on an unforgettable performance.
Four years since her last live performance, seven since her last studio album, Rihanna wasted no time to make a statement during her return to the stage at the Super Bowl halftime show this year. Dressed in a fittingly bold red suit, the Barbadian singer commanded a floating stage perched scarily high above the field, launched into a hard kickoff of her discography with ‘B*tch Better Have My Money’, and with one sweep of her hand over her belly, casually announced her second pregnancy just nine months after the birth of her son. Talk about an explosive halftime show!
Rihanna’s internet-breaking performance got us thinking about all the iconic halftime shows over the years. So, whether you’re a fan of Madonna’s dance moves or Prince’s musical mastery, there’s no denying that these Super Bowl moments are forever a part of pop culture history. Here, we take a look at 7 of the most iconic performances of all time.
Madonna - Super Bowl XLVI (2012)
Madonna took the stage during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVI, performing a medley of her biggest hits and thrilling the crowd with her signature dance moves. The pop icon was joined on stage by an army of backup dancers and an impressive light show, delivering a performance that was as visually stunning as it was musically impressive.
Prince - Super Bowl XLI (2007)
The late, great Prince left a lasting impression on audiences with his unforgettable performance at Super Bowl XLI. The legendary musician treated fans to a set that included classic hits like ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Let’s Go Crazy,’ as well as a rousing cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower.’ The performance was widely praised for its energy, passion, and sheer musical prowess.
U2 - Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)
U2’s performance at Super Bowl XXXVI was a poignant moment in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The band took the stage with an American flag draped behind them, performing a heartfelt rendition of ‘Where the Streets Have No Name.’ The performance was a powerful tribute to the victims of the attacks and a symbol of hope and resilience for the country.
Beyoncé - Super Bowl XLVII (2013)
Beyoncé brought the house down at Super Bowl XLVII with a powerhouse performance that showcased her incredible vocal range and electrifying stage presence. The singer was joined on stage by Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for a reunion that sent fans into a frenzy. The performance was a high-energy showcase of some of Beyoncé‘s biggest hits, and, so many years later, we still can’t get over it!
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - Super Bowl XLIII (2009)
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band brought their signature brand of high-energy rock ‘n’ roll to the Super Bowl stage in 2009, delivering a performance that was equal parts musical prowess and crowd-pleasing excitement. The band played a set that included classics like ‘Born to Run’ and ‘Glory Days,’ sending fans into a singalong frenzy. The performance was a testament to the enduring appeal of Bruce Springsteen and his band, and is still remembered as one of the greatest Super Bowl halftime shows of all time.
Shakira & Jennifer Lopez - Super Bowl LIV (2020)
Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s halftime show performance at Super Bowl LIV in 2020 was one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. The two Latina superstars took the stage by storm, bringing together a mix of Latin-infused pop, hip-hop, and R&B music. Shakira, who is known for her hip-shaking belly dances, opened the performance with a medley of her biggest hits, including ‘Whenever, Wherever’ and ‘Hips Don’t Lie.’ Jennifer Lopez followed, delivering a high-energy performance of her own that included tracks like ‘Jenny from the Block’ and ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing.’
The two artists also paid tribute to the late basketball player Kobe Bryant by incorporating his jersey number, 24, into their performance. Shakira and Lopez’s halftime show was praised by audiences and critics alike for its celebration of Latin culture and its empowering message for women.
The Weeknd - Super Bowl LV (55) (2021)
Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd brought a unique and haunting vision to the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show. His captivating performance took viewers on a journey through his own twisted soundscapes, complete with mesmerizing lighting and a haunting atmosphere. From the opening notes of his hit single ‘Starboy’ to the explosive finale of ‘Blinding Lights’, The Weeknd kept the crowd enthralled with his incredible vocals and magnetic stage presence. The NFL and Pepsi, the show’s sponsor, received widespread praise for their choice to bring such a unique and edgy performer to the Super Bowl stage.