The 9 Most OMG Moments in Super Bowl Halftime Show History
The 2017 Superbowl is nearly upon us (watch it Saturday on FOX at 6:30/5:30c) and honestly, we can’t wait: Mother Monster herself, Lady Gaga, is set to perform, and on the heels of the best album she’s dropped in years (just TRY to get through “Million Reasons” without tearing up!), it’s sure to be an event to behold (do you have your decorations yet?).
Though she’s toned things down a bit in recent years, girl definitely has a flair for the theatrical, so there’s no doubt in our minds that we’re about to be privy to one of the most memorable halftime shows in recent history, if, well, ever. In preparation, here’s a recap of the most memorable moments in Super Bowl history: Happy reminiscing!
9. Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting, 2003: Shania Twain’s performance was perfectly fine, but it was No Doubt rocking out to “Just a Girl” that made us fall in love with Gwen Stefani all over again. A throwback to her less polished, more carefree days (when both she and Gavin were free of heartbreak), Gwen looked completely at ease in a sequined bra with a second, red one peeking out from beneath and a pair of skater parachute pants as punk rock, Nirvana-esque cheerleaders surged the stage and flipped around in a moment of pure, joyous chaos. (Photo via Donald Miralle/Getty)
8. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2014: Though Bruno Mars was the headliner of this event, it was his mashup with the Red Hot Chili Peppers of “Give It Away” that stole the show. The number might have made our list for the palpable energy both parties gave off during the performance alone, but it was made all the more memorable when scandal struck. Bassist Flea, in his efforts to give his all, well, away, seemed to overlook a fact that fans were quick to spot: His instrument wasn’t even plugged in. A dead giveaway that he wasn’t actually playing, the band was actually forced to address the issue on its website, explaining that the NFL had asked them to pre-record band sounds and that they chose not to pretend. Yikes! (Photo via Rob Carr/Getty)
7. Katy Perry, Missy Elliot and Lenny Kravitz, 2015: While Katy Perry went all out for her 2015 halftime show (she got a Super Bowl tattoo, for crying out loud!), what with insane pyrotechnics (she doesn’t have a song called “Firework” for nothing!), a mechanical lion and a trippy live-action chess board, it was a rogue dancing shark that had everyone talking at the water cooler the next day. In a super tightly synced set (for which her production team is owed most of the cred, TBH), the now infamous left shark character she brought onstage for “Teenage Dream” and “California Girls” couldn’t quite seem to get on the beat, and folks couldn’t get enough. (Photo via Kevin Mazur/Getty)
6. Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, 2016: While Coldplay got some flack for being slightly less-than-memorable last year (sorry, guys), there wasn’t a sole witness to the show that didn’t remember the moment Beyoncé walked onto the field. After a year of racial division and social movements, Beyoncé caused a MASSIVE stir (no, but really — she cut mobile usage during that time by 1/3) by letting the world know where she stood when it came to the social issues for the first time publicly by not only performing “Formation,” (the video for which had some take offense at imagery involving police force), but dressing in outfits reminiscent of the Black Panther Party. Whether you loved it or hated it, one thing was for sure: You certainly weren’t forgetting it. (Photo via Seam M. Haffey/Getty)
5. Aerosmith, ‘NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly, 2001: The 2001 Superbowl lineup was, essentially, a recap of our childhood. Featuring what seemed like every chart topper on MTV, it was not only a perfect blend of rock (Aerosmith), pop (‘NSYNC and Brit Brit), rap (Nelly) and R&B (Mary J.), making it bound to be a fun performance, but the group’s rendition of “Walk This Way” exceeded all expectations. Watching it instantly takes us back to the blessed time when Justin Timberlake dated B. Spears, which some folks, (perhaps Justin included?) have never fully recovered from, and it’s easy to see why: It was a simpler time. We mean, just TRY not to smile as super fit Britney rocks out in an Aerosmith crop top. JUST TRY. (Photo via Doug Pensinger/Getty)
4. Prince, 2007: The late Prince’s Super Bowl show was so majestic, the skies literally opened up for him, making thunder, lightning and, of course, (purple) rain, a part of his set — all in the middle of his iconic tune “Purple Rain.” On his love symbol-shaped stage, Prince belted his heart out as the elements had their way with him, only serving to add to the monumental magnitude of the moment. Call us cheesy, but rewatching the clip, it kind of feels like witnessing a miracle. (Photo via Jeff Kravitz/Getty)
3. U2, 2002: Coming off the heels of the September 11, 2001 attacks, U2’s opener alone was enough to put them on our list. As the music began to play with Bono’s voice ringing out loud and clear across the stadium, a giant projection screen banner began to rise, with a scrolling list of the victims’ names from the attack. The image of the banner stretching higher and higher against the blackened sky is enough to have us utterly captivated, but combined with the opening chords of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” it’s positively chill-inducing. Bono topped the performance off with a flash of his jacket lining, which, of course, was made from an American flag pattern.
2. Michael Jackson, 1993: As if the moves alone (moonwalk included!) weren’t enough to make this the halftime show to end all halftime shows, Michael truly outdid himself by bringing 3,500 — yes, 3,500 — local kids together for the grand finale to make a spectacle unlike the Super Bowl had ever seen or has seen since. The entire audience somehow became a sea of art, holding up drawings of smiling children and making for a truly stunning aerial vision, as kids of every race and color raised their voices with him during “Heal the World.” Damn. (George Rose/Getty)
1. Janet Jackson, Kid Rock, P. Diddy, Nelly and Justin Timberlake, 2004: You knew it was coming: The nip slip seen ‘round the world. Perhaps only fitting that it should be Michael’s older sister, Janet, to be the one to dethrone the King of Pop, Janet made history in 2004 when she took the stage with Justin Timberlake for a rousing rendition of his hit “Rock Your Body” (though, TBH, the two could’ve been singing nursery rhymes onstage and no one would’ve noticed, given the way the performance played out). In a move that some still say may have been a perfectly planned publicity stunt, JT uttered the closing line of his track — which, incidentally, just so happens to end with the line, “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song” — before tearing away a piece of Janet’s costume, exposing, well, her entire breast. That one single moment is not only the reason for a five second delay on all live broadcasts nowadays, but has been hailed as the reason behind both the invention of the term “wardrobe malfunction” and YouTube’s entire existence, with Janet quickly becoming the most searched term, event and image of internet history to that date (and for the entire year that followed), as well as the most viewed moment on television. Wowza! (Photo via K. Mazur/Getty)
Which Super Bowl moment was your favorite? Cast your vote @BritandCo.
(Photo via Jeff Kravitz/Getty)