Super Bowl 50: 5 Greatest Halftime Shows Ever

Super Bowl is more than just an annual sporting affair. It’s a larger-than-life entertainment extravaganza that lures every American, sporting fan or not, into tuning in. Super Bowl 50 won’t be any different.


Last year’s showpiece was witnessed by an estimated 114.4 million viewers, with almost 50% homes in America tuning in, let alone those sports bars and clubs that showcased the event.

This year, at Super Bowl 50, Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars will deliver the halftime entertainment.

Here, we trace back the five greatest halftime performances in Super Bowl history.

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Janet Jackson (Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2004)

This halftime show is remembered less for Janet Jackson’s musical performance and more for the now infamous “wardrobe malfunction”. Jackson was seven songs into her set when Justin Timberlake joined her on stage for ‘Rock Your Body’. Soon, Janet’s nipple-slip caught the attention of everyone. Global scandal ensued over whether or not it was intentional or accidental.

Michael Jackson (Super Bowl XXVI, 1993)

MJ was at the peak of his popularity. BBC writes: “He completely redefined what was possible in the middle of an American football pitch in just 12 minutes between two halves of a game and it’s now thought to be year zero for truly great performances. Almost single-handedly, Jackson made the halftime show a global event, even for people who don’t understand the rules of American football.”

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Super Bowl XLIII, 2009)

Springsteen’s opening speech is etched in Super Bowl folklore. “Ladies and gentleman, for the next 12 minutes, we are going to bring the righteous and mighty power of the E Street Band into your beautiful home!” Springsteen lived up to the hype with this one, churning out classics such as Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Born to Run, Working on a Dream and Glory Days.

Katy Perry (Super Bowl XLIX, 2015)

Last year, the pop queen challenged the laws of physics by performing 9 songs in just 12 minutes! Missy Elliot was by her side for three of those songs. Perry managed four costume change and several set changes which included a giant lion. There was also the ‘left shark’ which became an instant internet meme and threatened to steal the spotlight from Kerry.

U2 (Super Bowl XXXVI, 2002)

Most of America was still reeling from the 9/11 attacks. U2 did an expert job of keeping the celebrations low key in a dignified performance. BBC recalls the concert with great fondness: “During Where the Streets Have No Name giant banners behind the band rolled out listing the names of victims before Bono flashed open his jacket to reveal a Stars-and-Stripes lining.”

Stay tuned for all the latest Super Bowl 50 news and features.