Ranking Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows of All Time

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Super Bowl halftime shows have always been show-stealer. So many fans just tune in to the Super Bowl for the halftime performance by their favorite singers.

Over the years, the NFL has done an excellent job in promoting Super Bowl. Hence, it has become one of history’s most significant sporting events.

For 15 minutes, the performer shows how big an entertainer they are. Also, they show why they were picked over various other entertainers.

This helps solidify the performer’s legacy as one of the greatest in the business. For many years halftime shows were regular where marching bands used to do their thing.

Superbowl halftime shows
Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows of All Time (Source: justjared.com)

However, since the rating of the NFL started plunging to the ground, they came up with the idea of making a celebrity perform during halftime.

This idea came out to be a million-dollar idea. Therefore, the rating went through the roof when Super Bowl featured Michael Jackson for the halftime show.

As a result, new artists are chosen to perform on the most powerful American platform of all time each year. Hence, let us know about the ten best Super Bowl halftime shows.

Ranking Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows of All Time

The Superbowl halftime shows mentioned below are assembled based on their popularity throughout different media. Most of them are collected from nbcsports.com, Sports.yahoo.com, and BBC.com.

Further, before moving into the details about the top 10 Super Bowl halftime shows of all time, let us quickly view the names in the list.

Super Bowl Performer Playing Teams
10. Super Bowl LV The Weeknd Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
9. Super Bowl XLVIII Bruno Mars Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
8. Super Bowl LIV Jennifer Lopez and Shakira Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers
7. Super Bowl XXXVI U2 St.Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots
6. Super Bowl XLVI Madonna New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
5. Super Bowl XLIX Katy Perry New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
4. Super Bowl XXXVIII Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots
3. Super Bowl XLVII Beyoncé Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
2. Super Bowl XXVII Michael Jackson Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
1. Super Bowl XLI Prince Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears

10. Super Bowl LV

The Super Bowl LV took place at Raymond James Stadium. Therefore, the Buccaneers fans were all hyped up about the match.

By halftime, the Buccaneers were in a commanding lead of 15 over the Chiefs. Therefore, emotions were all over the stadium for fans hoping for a victory.

However, many fans were excited to see The Weekend‘s halftime performance more than their team’s victory.

Once the performance began, they were not disappointed as the Canadian rapper stole the show. He delivered a performance that portrayed his successful career.

Superbowl halftime shows
The Weekend’s poster for the Super Bowl halftime show (Source: Wikimeida.org)

He performed his hits Starboy, The Hills, I Can’t Feel My Face, Earned It, House of Balloons, and Blinding Lights. The entire show was of 12 to 13 minutes long.

Further, the rapper looked stunning with his glittering red blazer, buttoned-down shirt, and matching trousers.

Likewise, the performance featured multiple people over the field alongside The Weekend dressed the same as him with white masks.

The stadium lit like nothing before, with fans screaming and singing along with the rapper. Overall the show was a cinematic experience on stage and on big T.V.s.

Nonetheless, when The Weekend stepped on the field for his final performance, the stadium went crazy. Further, a dance routine made the performance even better.

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9. Super Bowl XLVIII

Bruno Mars has always been on top of his game. His songs, band, The Hooligans, and performance have set the tone.

Therefore, everyone was excited when the singer was declared to head the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime performance.

In addition, to Mars, the American rock band, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, was also set to be the guest performers.

Further, the show started with the MetLife Stadium going pitch dark. Similarly, a cute children’s chorus set up a melody vibe in the stadium.

Following the children’s performance, Mars was at the drums. He instantly grabbed the audience’s attention with a unique sole drumming set.

Superbowl halftime shows
Bruno Mars performing at the Super Bowl halftime show (Source: SBNation.com)

Similarly, he then performed “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Treasure,” and “Runaway Baby.” Not to mention, Mars also showed some of his moves along with his band.

After the electrifying performance, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers jumped on the stage. They performed their hit “Give It Away” in an exuberating fashion.

Finally, Bruno single handly took the spotlight in the middle of the field. He performed his hit “Just the Way You Are,” which oversees U.S. military personnel dedicated to their families.

The galvanizing performance from Mars earned him one of the spots on being one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows of all time.

He set the Super Bowl halftime show record by being one of the youngest performers to sole the show.

8. Super Bowl LIV

Nothing is better than two music industries, Latina goddesses joining together to put up a show. Individually, they are one of the most stunning performers of this generation.

In an alluring red outfit, Shakira opened the show with “She Wolf,” followed by “Empire.” Seductively, she then tied a rope around her writs while singing “Ojos Así.”

Further, she topped off that performance with a glimpse of belly dance. This was followed by “Whenever, Whenever,” which got the loudest cheers.

After that performance, the guest artist Bad Bunny joined her on the stage. The duo performed a cover of Bad Bunny’s song “I Like It.”

Finally, she performed her super hit single “Hips Don’t Lie,” during which she crowd surfed. The Colombian singer also danced in mapalé and wagged her tongue.

Sakira and J. Lo
Sakira and J.Lo during the Super Bowl LIV halftime performance (Source: Forbes.com)

Likewise, to match Shakira’s energy Jennifer Lopez appeared in a black leather bodysuit. She entered the show hanging in a skyscraper-turned-stripper pole.

Furthermore, she performed “Jenny from the Block” and “Ain’t It Funny.” Following that performance, Lopez changed into a much more tempting white bodysuit.

She then poles danced along with singing “Waiting for Tonight.” Following that, J Balvin joined the stage where the duo performed “Que Calor,” “Mi Gente,” and “Booty.”

Moreover, the performance was so breathtaking that the crowd seemed to get louder throughout each song.

Finally, Shakira joined the stage along with Jennifer’s daughter, where she sang “Let’s Get Loud.” Then, Shakira sang her “Waka Waka” with a sexy dance routine.

Without “Waka Waka,” is it even Shakira’s performance? But, overall, this halftime performance was one of the hottest super bowl halftime shows.

7. Super Bowl XXXVI

The Super Bowl XXXVI halftime performance was marked by many as one of the greatest super bowl halftime shows of all time.

The Irish rock band U2 led the show held in Caesars Superdome. Unfortunately, this show was performed just months before the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack.

Therefore, many people were still grieving over the loss of their loved ones. Further, U2 had the perfect idea of dedicating its performance to those who lost their lives.

Hence, they decided to keep their performance as raw as possible. While many singers pre-record their performances to decrease the chances of technical errors, U2 agreed to play live.

They mentioned that they wanted to connect with their audience. Despite many recommending the band not to perform live, they didn’t listen to a soul.

For the opening performance, the lead singer of U2 Bono walked through the crowds towards the stadium while singing “Beautiful Days.”

Superbowl halftime shows
Bono, the lead singer of U2, performing at the Super Bowl XXXVI (Source: GQ.com)

Following the fantastic performance, the band played “MLK.” During this performance, a scrim was raised that showed a list of all the 9/11 victims’ names.

The audience cheered even louder while the band moved to their next song, “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

By the song’s end, the scrim was released to the ground while the name was projected on the Superdome’s interior.

Similarly, Borno opened his leather jacket, revealing an American flag in the lining.

Overall, this was one of the most powerful, moving, and unforgettable performances in the history of the super bowl.

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6. Super Bowl XLVI

There are no words to describe how thrilling the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show was. Madonna’s performance was out of this world.

Further, no one expected the performance to be that good. Nevertheless, this performance helped Madonna assert her legacy of being the most outstanding performer.

Likewise, she was the second sole female headliner in Super Bowl halftime performance history since Diana Ross in 1996.

The appearance of LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and CeeLo Green added icing to the cake.

The performance started with the singer dressed as a Greek goddess. She was sitting on a giant throne pulled by many ancient greek soldiers dressed men.

Super Bowl XLVI
Madonna during her electrifying Super Bowl XLVI halftime performance (Source: IMDb.com)

The black dress with golden embroideries alongside the ancient Egyptian helmet gave her a killer look.

She sang “Vogue” and “Sexy, and I Know It” with LMFAO. Similarly, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A joined her with Egyptian-style clothing.

Nicki, in particular, looked beautiful in the dress. All three females were cheerleading with pom-poms while performing “Give Me All Your Luvin.”

Further, both Nicki and M.I.A performed their respective verser. Finally, CeeLo Green was featured on the stage and his marching band.

The duo then performed “Open Your Heart” and “Express Yourself.” The cheers were on top of the roof; there was nobody who wasn’t enjoying the show.

5. Super Bowl XLIX

Katy Perry brought everything in her arsenal to the Super Bowl performance. There were glamorous clothes, good dancers, and even a gigantic tiger machine.

The show attracted 118.5 million viewers in the states and 120.7 million viewers globally. With this rating, the performance became the most-watched show on NBC.

The halftime show was such a hit that people watched the performance more than the game. As a result, it even won two Emmy Awards in September 2015.

In addition to Perry’s performance, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott came in as special guests. Further, the show started with light globes forming to create a Pepsi Logo.

Katy then entered the stadium riding a gigantic mechanical tiger. After seeing the giant Tiger, people were particular about her song, “Roar.”

Super Bowl XLIX
Katy Perry on her giant golden mechanical Tiger for the Super Bowl halftime show (Source: BusinessInsider.com)

She then sang “Dark” in the field, which had a 3D holographic effect of the chessboard. Following this, Perry joined Kravitz to sing, “I kissed a girl.”

Likewise, the rapper Missy Elliott joined Perry while performing “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It.” Subsequently, Katy changed into a custom Super Bowl 49ers jersey.

She again changed her dress into a “star-encrusted gown” for performing fireworks. During the performance, actual fireworks exploded around Perry and the stadium.

All in all, the performance was very electrifying as it contained everything. Therefore, without a doubt, this is one of the top Super Bowl halftime shows of all time.

4. Super Bowl XXXVIII

The Super Bowl XXXVIII marked one of the most phenomenal and controversial halftime shows.

Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, and Jessica Simpson all were set the headline the show.

However, Janet and Justin were to take the lead in the show. Therefore, Jackson took the stage to sing “All for You” and went backstage.

Following the performance, Diddy took command and sang “Mo Money Mo Problems.” Likewise, Kid Rock made an entry with “Bawitdaba” followed by “Cowboy.”

This performance took place in a secondary stage built somewhere in the field. At the same time, Jackson and Timberlake performed on the main stage.

Moreover, Janet appeared on the main stage performing “Rhythm nation.” She had a beautiful black leather outfit throughout the performance.

Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson
Jackson covered her breast after Justin mistakenly tore her top during the live Super Bowl halftime event (Source: Wikimeida.org)

Following Janet’s bit, Timberlake appeared on the stage and performed “Rock Your Body” with her. The crowd went crazy to see the duo in a sexual dance routine.

Near the end of the performance, Timberlake ripped apart a part of her dress. Eventually, he was supposed to tear the upper part revealing the red bra.

However, Justin put a little force that ripped the entire piece, revealing her breast with a nipple shield.

She instantly covered her breast and went backstage. This incident created colossal news around the world. Further, the FCC received more than 500,000 complaints about the event.

Similarly, CBS was fined $550,000, and the NFL was asked to refund the $10 million they gave to the halftime show sponsor. 

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3. Super Bowl XLVII

The Queen of pop culture proved herself yet again on the biggest stage. Beyoncé turned up the heat of the stadium with fans cheering at the top of their lungs.

This performance followed Madona’s successful halftime show. Hence, she topped her successful run to become the most-watched show in Super Bowl history.

The Super Bowl gained 110.8 million viewers, more than the game itself. Further, the show also became the most tweeted moment in the history of Twitter.

This happened due to the performance, and the stadium blacked out for a particular moment. The blackout occurred due to some technical problem.

Therefore, the audience, in total, tweeted 299,000 tweets per minute. Besides that, Beyoncé took the stage to sing “Love on Top,” followed by “Crazy in Love.”

Superbowl halftime shows
Beyoncé performed during the halftime show (Source: Wikimedia.org)

During this moment, she was glowing, as mentioned by various fans. She then joined former Destiny’s Child members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

All three performed Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” with ferocity, making the performance one of the best performances of that show.

However, Beyoncé always ends any of her shows with a huge bang. This show also received the charge in the form of “Halo.”

Undoubtedly, this is one of the greatest Super Bowl halftime shows. No sole female could have matched the energy she brought on the stage.

2. Super Bowl XXVII

The Super Bowl XXVII is where the trend of singing top acts during halftime began. Michael Jackson led the show and, not much to the surprise, owned the show.

He was one of the most outstanding performers of all time. Adding him to the most powerful American platform was the cherry on top of the cake.

Jackson single handily took a commanding authority of the stage. Due to his performance, the rating of the halftime show drastically increased.

NBC recorded the highest television rating, with 133.4 million views. This record remains as of the most-watched American events in history.

As a result, NFL saw this increased rating as an opportunity to gain more views. So, therefore, they decided this as an annual thing where they call big celebrities.

Michael Jackson with his legendary halftime show performance (Source: IMDb.com)

It has already been over 3 decades since this performance, but none have been able to match the intensity that Jackson delivered.

Further, the show began with Michael standing on the stage silently for two minutes. This created hype around fans as they imitate his standing position to this date.

Likewise, he then went on to perform “Jam,” “Billie Jean,” and “Black or White.” Not to mention, Jackson showed off some of these famous patented moves.

Finally, he closed the performance with “We Are the World” and “Heal the World.” Overall, it would take much more than various celebrities to top up this performance.

Super Bowl XXVII’s halftime show will forever be one of the greatest Super Bowl halftime shows of all time.

1. Super Bowl XLI

The only performance that tops Michale Jackson’s performance is the one that the late Prince headlined.

Everything was perfect in this show. This was probably the first time it was raining in a Super Bowl. Since the stadiums were open, the rain was pouring on the field.

Even during the halftime show, the rain kept pouring. This was a hazardous scenario as Prince and the dancers were dancing in high heels.

Similarly, the entire stage was wet and slippery due to the rain. Also, the band was using electric guitar, which was even more dangerous.

However, Prince and the band were so tuned into their performance that they didn’t care about any injuries and gave it their best.

Prince lighted the halftime show with Fire through his performance (Source: SoundCloud.com)

Besides that, the show started with Prince dressing in a blue turquoise suit. Likewise, he sang the obvious “We Will Rock You” as fans joined while clapping to the beat.

Furthermore, he performed “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby I’m a Star,” “1999”, and “Proud Mary.” Throughout the performance, Prince carried his signature electric guitar.

He sang “All Along the Watchtower” and “Best of You.” Moreover, he performed his hit, “Purple Rain.”

Overall, this was a very exhilarating performance, and the greatest Super Bowl halftime shows in the history of the Super Bowl.

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The Super Bowl halftime shows mentioned above have set the tone for being one of the best shows in entertainment history.

Further, various organizations are done yearly to make the show as glamorous as shown. Also, there is pressure to bring a new concept each time.

Therefore, a lot of effort is made annually, from choreographing to dress designing, to song choosing, and many more.

Hence, let us all appreciate these individuals for making the shows memorable. Similarly, let us also embrace them to carry on the tradition and make it better each year.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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