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?).
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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!
Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting, 2003Shania 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)
Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2014Though 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)
Katy Perry, Missy Elliot and Lenny Kravitz, 2015While 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)
Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, 2016While 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)
Aerosmith, ‘NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly, 2001The 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)
Prince, 2007The 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.