27 Super Bowl halftime shows ranked from worst to best, including The Weeknd

Two years ago, we ranked 25 Super Bowl halftime shows . Then, as happens every year, there was another one. So we revisited the list . And now, we’re doing it again! The Super Bowl halftime picture hasn ’ thymine constantly been a concert featuring the populace ’ second biggest pop stars. In the early years, the ’ 60s and some of the ’ 70s, the shows were chiefly marching bands and Al Hirt. In the ’ 70s and ’ 80s, the shows were thematic, like “ A toast to the Big Band Era ” and “ Salute to Caribbean. ”

There were groups and individuals who showed up sometimes on the shows — Up With People and Al Hirt feature heavily. But it was the ’ 90s when the Super Bowl halftime show as we know it now actually caught on. These shows feature big names of the sidereal day, or else nostalgic favorites. These short national concerts, in the middle of the climax of a season of men bashing their skulls into each other, are arrant annual snapshots of our culture. And, in a surprise twist for me, a non-football watcher, a set of them are truly fun to watch ! then, hera are 26 of them, ranked from very badly to very, identical good .

27: Justin Timberlake, 2018

Somehow, after decades of extraordinary aspirant dance numbers about world peace, sex equality, American pride and racial one, Justin Timberlake in 2018 decided to go with the theme “ Justin Timberlake ” in 2018. First of all, Justin didn ’ triiodothyronine deserve a second prospect at this. If he had even an ounce of self-awareness, he have featured Janet Jackson as a node and faded into the background. alternatively, he played some identical bad music from his very bad newest album, mix in with his hits, while wearing what can only be described as cheating pants. Justin did not have a single meaningful guest. alternatively, he went with a set of back-up dancers dressed like they were in a middle school production of “ Godspell. ” He besides went with a Prince tribute that made me say, out loudly, “ Take his identify out of your mouth, Justin. ” possibly worst of all, though, this show was boring. Let ’ s come in concert as a country and necessitate no more Justin Timberlake Super Bowl halftime shows, OK ?

26: Maroon 5, 2019

When you compare maroon 5′s outrageously bore performance with Justin Timberlake ’ south, Maroon 5 comes out marginally well — at least Adam Levine doesn ’ triiodothyronine have a history of ruining Janet Jackson ’ s career at a Super Bowl halftime appearance. At least Maroon 5 had Travis Scott, SpongeBob SquarePants and Big Boi alternatively of no real guests. At least Adam Levine took off his stupid clothes and gave us something to talk about. differently, the option to have Levine comic strip and sing songs no one has cared about for 15 years was perplexing. tied I, a person who watched and wrote about this halftime show for exploit, was wholly ineffective to remember a unmarried element of the “ display ” except for Levine ’ s naked torso covered in very modern looking tattoo. therefore : one of the worst of all time surely, but no matchless is a bad as Justin Timberlake .

25: N’Sync, Britney Spears and Aerosmith, 2001

Come with me on a journey into pre-9/11 America. The Super Bowl halftime picture was a chance for all of America to see hot groups like N ’ Sync and Aerosmith share a stage with Britney Spears. In what is probably his peak Super Bowl halftime appearance here and now, Justin Timberlake inject fireworks out of his gloves. Britney Spears was painfully scraggy, and when she sang with Justin Timberlake, I wished I could jump through clock and tell her to drop him immediately before he writes average songs about her. Mary J. Blige was completely under-utilized here and was basically a back-up singer, which was embarrassing. Though the stage is wide, there was army for the liberation of rwanda besides much Timberlake to make this a good halftime indicate .

24: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, 2004

If lone Janet Jackson had said no to sharing a bill with Jessica Simpson, Kid Rock and Justin Timberlake. Because when she came on stage, as usual, she killed it during her 2004 halftime show appearance. She sang ( OK, credibly lip-synch ) the hits and danced like the Jackson she is. There was a drumline. A song about fighting all the populace ’ s problems. And then, iniquity descended … one Justin Timberlake, come to wreck her career. Justin in his baggy pants grind all over his victor Janet, who yes, was obviously the choreographer. Do you know what else was likely choreographed ? When, at the end of the show, he sang, “ Gon na have you naked by the end of this song, ” and ripped off what appeared to be the breakaway act on Janet ’ s bodice. If you go to the slowed down screenshots, you can see that Janet ’ mho nipple is covered with a fancy pastie. This was probably planned. thus why did America freak out ? Why didn ’ metric ton Justin stand up for Janet as her career crumbled over one breast ? It was dumb, and it was Justin ’ mho defect, and I, for one, will never forgive him .

23: The Rolling Stones, 2006

One thing about aging rockers putting on a concert for the halftime show is that there is never the spectacle you get from start stars like Lady Gaga or Beyoncé or Madonna. Their shows have to live or die on the merits of their voice and songs. Mick Jagger ’ mho part international relations and security network ’ t what it used to be, if it always was something you ’ vitamin d want to listen to. The early issue here is, you have to play the hits. every birdcall should have sing-along-ability. The Rolling Stones honestly may not have enough well-known hits to even make this possible .

22: Black Eyed Peas, 2011

The Black Eyed Peas are the kind of dance band that was made for the Super Bowl halftime indicate. Their 2011 picture may have struggled with some heavy but besides, it was 2011, so there were adequate LED lights to at least begin to distract from the problems. Things very got going in this express when Slash started playing and Fergie went into a mediocre but decidedly hot rendition of “ Sweet Child of Mine. ” The Black Eyed Peas did two other bright things : They incorporated a march ring, a classic halftime picture move that can ’ triiodothyronine fail, and they had Usher fly in from the sky. It would have helped if Usher had added something, anything, else to the read. But hey, at least they didn ’ t have Justin Timberlake on as a guest .

21: Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting, 2003

The foreign thing about the 2003 Super Bowl halftime prove is that it featured two anthems about early 2000s womanhood : “ I ’ thousand good a Girl ” and “ Man, I Feel Like a Woman. ” But they appeared in a time when singing about oppression, for No Doubt, came with sexy pamper voice and very few clothes. For Shania, singing about the female know included a line about not being politically correct. Sting wasn ’ thyroxine bad here, until he weirdly leered at Gwen Stefani, but thematically, this testify was all over the position and lacked drama of any kind .

20: New Kids on the Block, 1991

New Kids on the Block were dominating american culture in 1991, so this appearance, a Disney-themed NKOTB extravaganza, with massive blow-up Disney characters, a palace and a bunch together of charming kids that don ’ triiodothyronine spirit to be professionals, must have had its finger on the pulsation. now, 28 years late, the appearance feels about old-time. Imagine singing “ It ’ s a Small World ” with a straight confront in 2019 ? But back then, bucket hats were equitable picking up steam, and anything was possible .

19: Katy Perry, 2015

What Katy Perry lacks in singing endowment, she makes up in drama. here ’ s the express where she came in on a elephantine move tiger and then, somehow, Lenny Kravitz was singing “ I Kissed a Girl. ” Plus, this halftime show brought us Left Shark. I ’ ll admit it, I ’ m a lollipop for a woman in her 30s scorch about being “ your adolescent dream tonight. ” Katie Perry may not have a great voice, but she was chic enough to bring Missy Elliott on stage. She knows when to lean into spectacle, and that the Super Bowl halftime show is not when you try out fresh material. She ran through her hits and flew around on a photograph star, which seemed chintzy and lacked subtlety when compared to other stunts, but was besides pretty entertain .

18: The Who, 2011

sometimes a Super Bowl halftime show is just a vehicle for a concert experience in your living room that you will never have in the real world. Most of us will never get to watch The Who play “ Baba O ’ Reilly ” live, but imagine what it was like in 2010, when a crowd of old guys blew the roof off of a sung about adolescent barren, and everyone ’ second conservative uncle was transported to a time when they were smoking batch at the playground. Yes, their voices weren ’ t what they once were, but like, is yours ?

17: Paul McCartney, 2005

The naughts were another earned run average tinged with nostalgia. Which begs the doubt, has american culture ever lived in the present moment ? Paul McCartney, as usual, ran through his greatest hits and those of the band that brought him fame. While I don ’ metric ton mind McCartney and think he does put on a well indicate, I however think he should always have Ringo on stagecoach with him. besides, Paul, would it kill you to hire a female musician ? silent, I would sing along to all these songs with zero reservations. And there were batch of fireworks, which added back some play missing without dance numbers .

16: The Weeknd, 2021

Unlike many, if not most, Super Bowl halftime shows, The Weeknd ’ mho version of the big performance didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate involve any guest stars or costume changes. It was credibly due to, you know, the solid COVID pandemic thing, but he started in a bubbling red blazer and flannel and black loafers and ended the lapp way. still, the show excelled in the fireworks and face bandaged categories. It wasn ’ t the most agitate show always, even if we grade on a COVID arch. But it was fun, and it didn ’ thymine feature Justin Timberlake, and if you turned it up the music was great .

15: Bruno Mars, 2014

Bruno Mars has energy, he has pizzaz, and he makes you smile, gosh mend it ! here ’ s a guy not afraid to put on a show during which he will sing, he will dance, and he will even do splits. At one point, Bruno brought on the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the show feels like something hatched up at an L.A. party in a fancy house in the hills where you wouldn ’ thyroxine even be let up the driveway. What do these bands have in common ? Who cares ! Anthony Kiedis doesn ’ triiodothyronine have a shirt on ! The Super Bowl halftime usher should in truth have at least one bathetic moment that makes you feel like the populace international relations and security network ’ t burning to the grind in front of your eyes, and Bruno came through with service members dedicating a song to their loved ones. A solid performance .

14: Up With People, 1982

In 1982, America failed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. But that doesn ’ triiodothyronine entail Americans weren ’ t a little bite high gear on sex and racial equality, and probably marijuana. That year ’ second Super Bowl halftime show absolutely encapsulates a culture striving for something like equity through massive dancing numbers, pop music and a stage full of men in vests playing guitar. The gamey point of this show was when the 1980s crowd gets nostalgic about 1960s folk music music .

13: U2, 2002

After 9/11, for a while, you couldn ’ thymine have an event or a appearance or anything without acknowledging that atrocious sidereal day. U2, even though OK, they aren ’ thyroxine american, were a arrant dance band to deal with this during the Super Bowl halftime read. They were already dramatic in a way that draws you into their eye socket of extreme emotion. Looking back, I bet as those names scrolled through on the giant star filmdom, American living rooms were filled with teary people. America needed that catharsis over and over again. possibly we still need it .

12: Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, The Judds, 1994

If you can ’ metric ton find gladden in this extreme country music lineup, with a solid field full of line dancers, then you probably weren ’ thyroxine alive in 1994. so many vests, so much fringe. It was a different clock time. At the end of this show, everyone got on stage and sing “ Love Can Build a Bridge, ” and that everyone included Stevie Wonder and Naomi Judd .

11: Lady Gaga, 2017

lady Gaga literally rappelled into her indicate, after doing a medley of America songs. Love her or hate her, she is decidedly entertain. Her outfits, her voice, her songs about getting besides drunk at the club. It ’ s not hard to watch her with some interest. She ended the read by jumping off the risers, catching a football in midair. This is halftime, America .

10: Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, The Temptations, Queen Latifah, 1998

The late ’ 90s were another american era full of nostalgia, and this “ Tribute to Motown ” show was the perfect mix of retro music and ’ 90s boys in baggy pants and girls in snip tops dancing in unison. The most perfect late ’ 90s here and now in this show came when Queen Latifah sang her cover of “ Heard It Through the Grapevine, ” which is actually called “ Paper. ” What a time to be alive .

9: Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, 2009

What ’ second more american than Bruce Springsteen demanding you put the wimp fingers down so he can sing about New Jersey for 12 minutes ? Bruce Springsteen is always having the best time when he performs and the thing is, we all have the best time listening. He doesn ’ t do the spectacle, but about everyone can sing along to every one of his songs. This halftime show was basically a Springsteen concert for everyone, and that ’ s a good thing .

8: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, 2008

In terms of 12-minute concerts for the state, Tom Petty in his entire beard stage put on a great one. Tom Petty was a national treasure, and he died way besides soon, so, vitamin a much as I think football should be outlawed unless they can deal with their mind injury trouble, I am grateful to Super Bowl for giving us another opportunity to see this capital band have the time of their lives playing the songs that are absolutely separate of the framework of our nation .

7: Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, 1999

sometimes the Super Bowl halftime read actually manages to tap into the zeitgeist, and what was more zeitgeisty in 1999 than ska and swing dancing ? That ’ randomness where this show started but not where it stopped, We besides got a medley of Stevie Wonder hits, and an extreme tap dancing from Savion Glover, which Stevie joined in. As if that wasn ’ thymine adequate, Gloria Estefan came out sing in spanish with a cadre of excellent dancers. This was one of those epic shows that reflected America in 1999, when money was flowing and we weren ’ triiodothyronine in one unmarried war. We didn ’ thymine know 9/11 was coming, or “ weapons of mass destruction ” or a revival of Nazis. You could very have playfulness in 1999. Give it a few years, and the vibration will be a bunch less joyful. But that class … it was a heady clock time .

6: Diana Ross, 1996

This Diana Ross halftime show was a real extravaganza. It had dancers, children holding hands, costume changes, fireworks, a gospel choir and thus many hits. Everyone here was having the time of their lives, including the audience and credibly the at-home audience excessively. When Diana descended from her pedestal wearing a skintight plum-colored jump suit and started singing “ I Will Survive, ” even as the wind instrument whipped her hair in front of her grimace, well, this was the America I, for one, wanted to live in. A helicopter landed on the field. No one cared about flower oil or climate exchange, and Diana was escorted onto the helicopter and flew off, hanging out the side of the helicopter. Take that, Justin Timberlake .

5: Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, 2016

Watch the whole show here . It was a bright go by the Super Bowl halftime indicate producers to bring these three together for the Super Bowl ’ s fiftieth anniversary, even though Beyoncé distinctly should have headlined and not Chris Martin. placid, Mr. Coldplay is infectious, and the graphics on the stage and the umbrella dancers are charming, and Bruno Mars is precisely the kind of cotton sugarcoat singalong music you want in a Super Bowl halftime show. Plus it ’ second very harbor to watch him dancing. But it ’ mho Beyoncé, who marches out and brings the unharmed thing down with “ Formation. ” Somehow, the No. 1 american in America created a melodious count during the most mainstream event possible that was about oppression and racial justice and was beautiful and catchy besides. For the Super Bowl ’ s history of pop singers trying to bring the people messages of hope and equality and world peace, this message about reality was revolutionist. Of course, the show wasn ’ t all a admonisher of our divided, racist nation. When the three stars came together to sing, you could about believe football would unite the world rather of tearing us apart. The express ended with the herd spelling “ Believe in love. ” Those were the days, huh ?

4: Madonna, 2012

A Super Bowl halftime express should be besides much. It should be excess extra supernumerary. so obviously, Madonna ’ second was a good one. A graphic stage, slack production line stunts, a Roman theme, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green ? Check, check, bridle, bridle, check, discipline. At one point, Madonna climbed on one of LMFAO ’ second shoulders. What ’ s not to love ? One of Madonna ’ randomness talents is finding the most amazing accompaniment dancers. The unharmed spectacle here is worth watching over and over again, whenever you are feeling deplorable. And then, it ended with a life-affirming rendition of “ Like a Prayer ” and the words “ World Peace. ” Football ! Super Bowl ! World peace !

3: Beyoncé, 2013

In 2013, Beyoncé was on top of her game, where she remains, honestly, and production values were turned up to 11. At one point, there was a guitar with fireworks shooting out of it. At another point, she was dancing with herself replicated behind her. Oh, and she reunited Destiny ’ s Child. After watching a draw of halftime shows, and since Prince is dead, I think the merely termination a fair person can draw is Beyoncé should do all Super Bowl halftime shows. In fact, cancel the football crippled, and let ’ s have a national Beyoncé Appreciation Day, where she throws a concert and it is aired bouncy on every television station simultaneously all day .

2: J-Lo and Shakira, 2020

There was dancing, light bondage, a pole routine, a horn section that was probably not playing their horns, and Bad Bunny. The 2020 usher was such a fun party, it immediately became a authoritative, flush though some people got upset and called the show “ excessively sexual, ” as if the year before a man hadn ’ thyroxine taken the majority of his clothes off on stage. The testify ended with Shakira and J-Lo shaking their hips triumphantly and gleefully, unaware that a virus was rampaging around the world and would soon change about every detail of life as we know it. Oh, to go back to a meter when our biggest worry was if J-Lo and Shakira were excessively aphrodisiac for national television .

1: Prince, 2007

At this point, everyone has seen Prince sing “ Purple Rain ” in the rain. apparently, in the 40 previous years of the Super Bowl, it never rained. But possibly Prince summoned the water from the flip, who knows ? It doesn ’ t matter if it was divine interposition or barely the whims of the weather, the hale show was iconic : his stage in the shape of a symbol, the two dancers spinning around him, “ All Along the Watchtower, ” his classic Prince smirk. Prince didn ’ thyroxine need to come in on a giant lion or drop in from the sky. prince was the monster lion. He was an angel, dropped from the sky. — Lizzy Acker

503-221-8052 lacker@oregonian.com , @lizzzyacker

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