Lady Gaga is set to take center stage during Super Bowl 51’s halftime show at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. This is arguably the most coveted gig to land and most likely the most nerve wracking as well. Super Bowl watchers are tough critics when it comes to the halftime show and some artists score a touchdown while others get sacked, quick. Let’s take a look back at a few of the the highs of Super Bowl halftime show past.
Beyoncé – 2013
The rumor mill buzzed with talk that husband Jay-Z would join Bey on stage. They sing together on so many hits how could he not? Well, he didn’t. But Sasha Fierce did bring out Destiny’s Child for a reunion and the trio sang “Bootylicoius”, “Independent Woman” and “Single Ladies”. Queen Bey also sang “Love on Top”, “Crazy in Love”, “End of Time”, “Baby Boy” and “Halo”. Beyoncé turned the show into a full on spectacle, she lit her own giant silhouette on fire and was joined on stage by a cheer leading squad. Needless to say, Beyoncé showed the NFL exactly who “Run the World”.
Bruce Springsteen – 2009
“Put the chicken fingers down!” he demanded and then the boy from Jersey made the whole stadium rock with hits “Born to Run”, “Glory Days” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”. For a man who is used to putting on 3+ hour shows, 12 minutes was not much to work with but he made every minute count. With his time up, a referee came on stage to throw a flag for delay of game only prompting Steven Van Zandt to protest and say “It’s Boss time!” If only the Boss could have played on for just a few more; “Rosalita”, “Born in the USA”, “Dancing in the Dark” the list goes on and on.
Prince – 2007
Prince was quite the showman and no stage proved to be too large for him and he proved it once and for all in 2007 while he sang “Purple Rain” in the pouring rain on a stage that was created to look exactly like his infamous symbol. In a post “wardrobe malfunction” halftime world, Prince brought imagination and visual creativity back to the performance that had played it safe for the past two years. Prince was never one to play it safe. He played “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Baby I’m a Star”, “1999” and “Purple Rain” plus covers of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, Creedance Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary”, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and The Foo Fighters’ “Best of You”. Yeah, his set list was jam packed and the halftime show was remade and rejuvenated.
*N SYNC and Aerosmith – 2001
This halftime show was produced by MTV and included a serious prelude video featuring Ben Stiller. You can ask anyone who used to rush home from school to watch TRL between 1998 and 2003 - this is the epitome of their teenybopper-hood. What started as a “battle” between *N SYNC and Aerosmith trading off songs from “Bye, Bye, Bye” to “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” to “It’s Gonna Be Me” to “Jaded”, ended with the most insane boy band, rock band, celebrity guest appearance mashup of “Walk This Way”. As if the guys of *N SYNC and Aerosmith weren't enough, soon Nelly, Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears all hoped on stage. This is what Super Bowl halftime performances are all about folks. It was a coming together of classic rock and pop idols that has yet to be matched.
Michael Jackson – 1993
They didn't call him the The King of Pop for nothing. MJ changed the game in terms of Super Bowl halftime performances when he entered the stage after beaming through what looked like an alien abduction. With fake Michaels popping up from out of the jumbotron and the real Michael popping up from underground on the main stage, this set the tone for theatrics that had yet to be explored. Until 1993 halftime shows were mostly made up of marching bands. After his grand entrance, he stood there. For 90 seconds. Is that not the most Michael Jackson thing, ever? The stadium lost it and he took it all in starring down each side of the stadium not moving a muscle, not saying a word. After the drama ended he opened with “Jam” and then moved into “Billie Jean” with his infamous fedora then cut to “Black or White”, and closed with “Heal the World”. With that, previous performances paled in comparison and anyone who would be asked to perform next would have to bring it just as hard.
Written by Kristen
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