Look Back at All the Best Super Bowl Halftime-Show Performances
The Super Bowl is either the exciting end to the professional football season with the NFL's two best teams going head to head in a championship game or all about anything but the game. Besides the usually amazing Super Bowl commercials and the delicious food you get to eat while you watch them, the biggest draw is the annual halftime show.
The 10-minute performance has seen the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake take the stage in a show full of greatest hits, dancing, special guests, pyrotechnics, and even sometimes the occasional drama or meme-inducing moment we can't shake off for years to come. In 2020, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira took the party to Miami, followed by a mind-bending headlining gig from The Weeknd the next year. The 2022 show teamed up a slew of hip-hop greats like Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Dr. Dre, and 50 Cent.
And now, Rihanna, the 2023 halftime show's solo headliner, has officially joined the ranks of stars who have carried the esteemed mantle. The exciting news was first announced on Sept. 25, 2022, and the "Anti" singer finally hit the stage in Glendale, AZ, on Feb. 12 — where the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles faced off — captivating fans with an iconic greatest hits performance and a surprise baby reveal.
In honor of the momentous occasion and Rihanna's newest milestone, let's take a look back at some of the best Super Bowl halftime shows of the past.
Patti LaBelle and Tony Bennett Perform at the Super Bowl in 1995
The Super Bowl halftime show in 1995 was an Indiana Jones-themed production that included as much theatrics as it did music, complete with A-list performers like Patti LaBelle and Tony Bennett. LaBelle brought the party while performing her hit "New Attitude" dressed like a temple queen, and she and Bennett closed out the show with a moving performance of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from "The Lion King."
Diana Ross Performs at the Super Bowl in 1996
They don't call her "The Boss" for nothing. When Diana Ross took the Super Bowl stage in 1996, it was magic from beginning to end as she performed some of the greatest hits from her time with The Supremes like "Baby Love" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", as well as Gloria Gaynor's disco classic "I Will Survive."
Stevie Wonder and Gloria Estefan Perform at the Super Bowl in 1999
By the end of the 1990s, Gloria Estefan was a superstar who helped herald in the decade's so-called "Latin invasion." She headlined the Super Bowl halftime show in 1992, so her coheadlining performance with Stevie Wonder in 1999 was monumental for bridging generations.
Christina Aguilera and Enrique Iglesias Pay Tribute to Disney at the Super Bowl in 2000
At the turn of the millennium, Disney was in the midst of a millennium celebration that extended weeks longer into the Super Bowl. Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, and Toni Braxton each took turns singing selections from the Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration soundtrack like "Tapestry of Nations" and "We Go On." Plus, Phil Collins delivered a breathtaking rendition of "Two Worlds" from "Tarzan."
Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Mary J. Blige, Nelly and Aerosmith Perform at the Super Bowl in 2001
The 2001 halftime show paid homage to "the kings of rock and pop," bringing out an all-star cast of guests to the Super Bowl stage. *NSYNC, at the height of their fame, excited the audience with their performance of "Bye Bye Bye" and "It's Gonna Be Me"; meanwhile, Aerosmith dominated the show with classics like "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and brought out special guests like Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly for a rocking rendition of "Walk This Way."
U2 Performs at the Super Bowl in 2002
The Super Bowl halftime show in 2002 was dedicated to the lives of those lost on 9/11, and U2 helped pay tribute in a beautiful way.
No Doubt, Shania Twain, & Sting Perform at the Super Bowl in 2003
From the first few notes of "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" it was clear that this Super Bowl performance would be one to remember. Shania Twain eventually handed the stage off to Gwen Stefani and rest of No Doubt, who rocked the stadium with a "Just a Girl" before joining Sting for The Police classic "Message in a Bottle."
Janet Jackson Performs at the Super Bowl in 2004
Janet Jackson's turn on the Super Bowl stage in 2004 received attention for everything except her performance. Her now-infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the hands of Justin Timberlake led to a ban from the Super Bowl, while Timberlake returned to headline the halftime show in 2018. It's a shame, because Jackson's performance of her hits "Rhythm Nation" and "All For You" proved why she's a legend in her own right, able to sing and dance with the attitude that has inspired millions of girls over nearly four decades.
The Rolling Stones Perform at the Super Bowl in 2006
By the time the Rolling Stones made it to the Super Bowl stage in 2006, there was little the British group had to do to blow away everyone watching the show. Their rocking renditions of classics like "Start Me Up" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" proved that their staying power transcended generations. Mick Jagger even joked that they could've performed at Super Bowl I, but that "good things come to he who waits."
Prince Performs at the Super Bowl in 2007
At the Super Bowl in 2007, headlining performer Prince had absolutely nothing to prove: he was already a rock icon, respected by nearly everyone for his empowering attitude both on and off stage. After getting the crowd on their feet with a cover of "We Will Rock You", Prince performed classics like "Let's Go Crazy" and Tina Turner's "Proud Mary." His captivating rendition of "Purple Rain" — performed in a total downpour — stands as one of the most incredible moments of his career to this day.
The Who Perform at the Super Bowl in 2010
The Super Bowl halftime show has always tended to recruit relevant artists that will appeal to both young and old fans who keep track of the music industry. In 2010, the hiring of British rock band The Who was a gift to football fans who were more familiar with them as they performed some of their classics like "Who Are You" and "Baba O'Riley."
Madonna Performs at the Super Bowl in 2012
Considering how long Madonna has been around, it's surprising that it took until 2012 for Madge to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. She was joined by all-star guests like Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green, M.I.A., and LMFAO as she ran through classics like "Vogue," "Express Yourself," and "Like a Prayer" and cemented her status as a pop icon.
Beyoncé Performs With Destiny's Child at the Super Bowl in 2013
Can we have Beyoncé perform at every Super Bowl? She made a guest appearance alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars in 2016, but her solo show in 2013 stands as one of Queen Bey's greatest live performances. As if that wasn't enough, surprise guests Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams gave us the Destiny's Child reunion we'd been desperately wanting for nearly a decade.
Bruno Mars Performs at the Super Bowl in 2014
Bruno Mars is a performer through and through; regardless of the stage he's on, he's sure to deliver a mind-blowing performance complete with powerful vocals and tight choreography. In 2014, his showmanship was on full display as he wowed audiences everywhere with hits like "Locked Out of Heaven" and "Treasure" and was even joined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a rendition of "Give It Away" with a unique Bruno Mars twist.
Katy Perry and Missy Elliott Perform at the Super Bowl in 2015
Before there was Baby Shark, there was Left Shark. After back-to-back showstopping performances from Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, Katy Perry had a tough act to follow in 2015. She knocked it out of the park (no pun intended) with commanding performances of her hits like "Roar" and "Firework" was even joined by Lenny Kravitz for "I Kissed a Girl." Perhaps the biggest moment, though, came when Missy Elliott stormed the stage for a surprise duet of "Get Ur Freak On" and "Work It."
Lady Gaga Performs at the Super Bowl in 2017
By the time Lady Gaga finally made her Super Bowl debut, the triple-threat singer, dancer, and actress had built an impressive career with plenty of hits to choose from for her performance. Because Gaga is never one to do anything subtly, she made her entrance by descending onto the stage from above, and made this halftime memorable with a medley of her greatest hits.
Justin Timberlake Performs at the Super Bowl in 2018
When Justin Timberlake returned to the Super Bowl stage nearly 15 years after his involvement in Janet Jackson's "Nipplegate," the pressure was on to deliver an unforgettable performance. Timberlake ran through his career of hits, from "Cry Me a River" and "SexyBack" to "Can't Stop the Feeling!" and "Suit & Tie." He even joined a video projection of Prince for a duet performance of his 1984 "I Would Die 4 U."
Shakira and Jennifer Lopez Perform at the Super Bowl in 2020
Not one but two epic performers headlined in 2020 just ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira each performed some of their signature hits paired with jaw-dropping dance moves. Lopez even brought out her child Emme to sing with her.
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent Perform at Super Bowl in 2022
The hip-hop icons' epic performance at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA, took us through a medley of coastal hits, from Snoop and Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode" and "California Love" to Lamar's "m.A.A.d City" and "Alright." 50 Cent appeared to perform "In Da Club," while Blige took fans back with her songs "Family Affair" and "No More Drama." Eminem helped close out the show with his hit "Lose Yourself" (assisted by Anderson .Paak on the drums), as Dr. Dre brought it home with his signature song "Still D.R.E."
Rihanna Performs at the Super Bowl in 2023
Rihanna was suspended above thousands of fans as she sang atop of a floating stage during her theatrical 2023 Super Bowl halftime show, which saw her perform some of her greatest hits of all time (in addition to a surprise baby-bump reveal) — including "B*tch Better Have My Money," "Where Have You Been," "Only Girl (In the World)," "We Found Love," "Diamonds," and many more.