We all have our reasons for watching the Super Bowl. Either our significant other or family got us hooked on football, it’s the only time we actually want to pay attention to the commercials, or we’re watching for the halftime shows.
The halftime shows have become more creative with each passing year as well as risque after Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction in 2004. Collaborations have been made and props and lighting displays have been made more and more lavish. These are our top five favorites for top halftime performances over the years.
1. Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars – 2016
2016’s show had no shortage of familiar faces. Alongside the University of California Marching Band, Coldplay performed “Viva la Vida” and “Paradise” while a whimsical floor display changed beneath them. Six minutes in, halftime veteran Bruno Mars stepped out and Beyonce joined the set on the field in her hair-flipping glory. In a girls vs. guys battle, Bruno and his boys playfully face off against Bey and her ladies before they’re both joined by Coldplay.
2. Beyonce – 2013
While acrobatics and flashy light displays have become signature halftime show features, Bey simply relied on her vocals and dance routines, and it was more than enough. Beyonce effortlessly danced and sang throughout the entire 13 minutes, making you wonder if it was the football game everyone was there for or her concert. She was later joined by Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams in a perfect Destiny’s Child reunion.
3. Lady Gaga – 2017
Lady Gaga starts off singing of her love for America and quickly leaps off the roof to perform her greatest hits. We see her leaping from platform to platform while doing flips until she finally reaches the stage. Amidst singing among backup dancers and light displays, she transitions to an emotional performance of “Million Reasons.”
At the end of her set, she proves she’s no stranger to heights by catching a football and jumping off a platform, with no harness this time. Though she faced criticism for not addressing political issues, Lady Gaga fully delivered with her performance and stunts, proving that that night was all about America, football, and making people feel good.
4. Bruno Mars – 2014
Bruno’s show left no doubt that he’s not just a singer but a performer. After a chilling intro by a children’s choir, Bruno shows off his drumming chops before diving into “Locked Out of Heaven.” It wasn’t just the stage but the entire stadium that was lit up. The show’s guests were the Red Hot Chili Peppers and while the band later admitted that their instrument sounds were pre-recorded, all vocals were live.
5. Katy Perry – 2015
In the 50th Super Bowl, the halftime show earned two Emmy Awards for lighting and costumes and for good reason. Katy rides in, literally, on an enormous puppet lion. Light globes were set up, images were projected, and Katy’s props and outfits changed multiple times in the 12-minute set as she was joined by Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott. To top it off, Katy concluded the show by being hauled in the air during “Firework” as fireworks went off above the stadium.