Top 10 Super Bowl halftime shows of all time

Landing the Super Bowl halftime show is any artist's dream. In just 15 minutes, you'll either leave a lasting legacy or become a notorious flop for the rest of the year.

Just in time for this year's Super Bowl performance featuring the one and only Rihanna, we'll be heading back in time to reminisce the top Super Bowl halftime shows! Here are (in our opinion) the best Super Bowl halftime shows of all time:

In this blog:

10. Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A and CeeLo Green, 2012

It's definitely a wild mix of artists, but somehow it worked. Madonna shared most of the limelight with Nicki Minaj, which is a weird statement in itself. And who would have thought Madonna would collab with LMFAO?

Madonna started us off with Vogue and then merged into Music, where LMFAO joined in with some strange additions of Party Rock Anthem and Sexy and I Know it.

Next, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A were up with a rendition of Give Me All Your Luvin before CeeLo Green appeared armed with several high school drumlines to perform Open Your Heart/Express Yourself.

Madonna finished with a truly breathtaking performance of Like a Prayer featuring CeeLo and a choir of 200 local Indianapolis singers.

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9. Aerosmith, NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly, 2001

This one was a whirlwind, but that's exactly why it makes the list of top Super Bowl halftime shows! NSYNC opened the show with Bye Bye Bye before the theme abruptly changed to Aerosmith singing I Don't Want to Miss a Thing.

If you thought that was odd, wait until you hear about the closing performance! Aerosmith and NSYNC teamed up to perform Walk This Way, joined by Nelly who decided to rap over the entire guitar solo. Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears also joined in on the closing song, although they added more confusion rather than talent.

While the performance itself was a bit all over the place, we've got to give them points for the sheer craziness and for giving us Justin and Britney one more time!

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8. Lady Gaga, 2017

When it comes to Lady Gaga, you immediately think big, crazy and LGBTQIA+. While we admit it wasn't the most outrageous performance of Gaga's career, she managed to radicalise the Pledge of Allegiance just by her phrasing of "justice for all".

Gaga took to the stage to perform a medley of her top hits, including her queer-positive anthem Born This Way, which is possibly the first time the term "transgender" has been uttered at the Super Bowl.

There were no special guests or ridiculous stage props, just Lady Gaga doing her thing and killing it as per usual.

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7. Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, Jessica Simpson and Nelly, 2004

While this Super Bowl halftime show made the list for being a great watch, it will forever go down in history as Janet Jackson's (and almost Justin's) career-ending performance.

The show featured iconic 2000s artists such as Nelly, P. Diddy (now known only as Diddy after several unwarranted name changes) and Kid Rock. Jessica Simpson also made a surprise appearance in which she attempted to sing Choose to Party, which didn't go down too well with those with functioning ears.

But everything changed when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake took to the stage together to perform Rock Your Body. At the end of the song, the infamous incident happened.

While some say it was an accident, others claim it was a failed PR stunt; whatever the case, this unfortunate wardrobe malfunction didn't go down well. Who would have thought a nipple would cause so much drama?

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6. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Eminem and Anderson .Paak, 2022

After what feels like an eternity, NFL finally gave the hip-hop genre the stage for the Super Bowl halftime show in 2022, and boy was it a good one.

Without a doubt, Dr. Dre was the mastermind behind the performance, pulling together a team of hip-hop and rap gods to deliver the show of a lifetime all within a 15-minute time slot.

Dre and Snoop Dogg played hits Who Am I (What's My Name) and California Love before 50 Cent dropped from the ceiling (literally) to perform In Da Club.

And it doesn't end there, Mary J. Blige entered the stage to sing Family Affair and No More Drama with Kendrick Lamar continuing with his track Alright. Eminem then performed Lose Yourself with Anderson .Paak on the drums, before Dre finished off the show (with a little piano playing for added effect) to perform Still Dre.

The entire performance was a whirlwind of nostalgia, leaving everyone to wonder why the NFL never considered the genre till now.

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5. Diana Ross, 1996


What's our list of top 10 Super Bowl halftime shows without an appearance from the one and only diva, Miss Diana Ross? Lowering to the stage in a bedazzled crane, Diana Ross was ready to perform the house down at the 1996 Super Bowl halftime show.

Miss Ross played a Supremes medley featuring songs like Stop in The Name of Love, I Will Survive and Ain't No Mountain High Enough, with an army of red-vested dancers performing by her side.

But it's the ending that really stole the show, with Diana exiting in her very own helicopter – a Ross-chopper if you will. For that, Diana remains the one and only true diva.

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4. Beyonce and Destiny's Child, 2013

Even when she was one third of Destiny's Child, it's clear from her 2013 Super Bowl performance that Beyonce runs the world.

With her superhuman renditions of top hits Crazy in Love, Run the World and Love on Top, Beyonce slayed the house down. And when we thought the show couldn't get any better, the stage floor parts and out pops Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams to give us the Destiny's Child reunion we've always dreamed of.

The trio performed a handful of songs such as Bootylicious, Independent Women and finished up with a Beyonce classic, Single Ladies.

For the finale, Beyonce stole the show with a truly powerful performance of Halo, taking her into our top 10 Super Bowl halftime shows and placing her into our hearts forever.

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3. U2, 2002

Just a few months after 9/11, the 2002 Super Bowl was going to be an emotional performance, but one we can't dream of without good old Bono leading the way.

U2 kicked off with Beautiful Day before switching to MLK, while a giant screen scrolled through the names of all the victims.

The band finished up with Where the Streets Have No Name, and Bono ripped open his jacket to reveal the American flag sewn inside – a final pained tribute to America that still felt profoundly anti-war and anti-violence.

From the sheer emotion this performance manifested, U2's gig will forever be remembered as one of the top Super Bowl halftime shows of all time.

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2. Michael Jackson, 1993

We can't have the best Super Bowl halftime shows of all time without mentioning the man that started it all.

Before Michael's performance in 1993, Super Bowl halftime shows often featured 15 minutes of marching bands and drill teams – not exactly the most riveting of performances, we know.

The king of pop changed everything, standing on stage in silence for 90 seconds before performing some fan favourites like Billie Jean and Black or White, before adding in some newer songs like Heal the World.

While by today's standards, this was just a normal Super Bowl halftime show, in 1993 it was the start of something new.

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1. Prince, 2007

We all had a pretty good idea that Prince would do his very best to turn the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show into something spectacular, but somehow he still left us all amazed.

It was almost as if he asked the clouds to part, as Miami's sky opened up and delivered a relentless downpouring of rain. But rather than dampen his performance, it only enhanced it.

Prince proceeded to play a mixture of rock classics, merging We Will Rock You by Queen into Let's Go Crazy, Foo Fighters Best of You into Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower, before performing the ultimate Prince song, Purple Rain.

This performance was so iconic, that Prince made sure it was almost impossible to find online. Since his death, you can now find the performance online, forever putting Prince in the hall of Super Bowl halftime show fame.

In our hearts (and many others), Prince will always reign over the Super Bowl halftime

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