Top 10 Biggest Super Bowl Halftime Shows of the 21st Century

Tags: #LadyGaga ,   #NFL ,   #SuperBowl ,   #LadyGaga ,   #Beyonce

Scarlett Goldstein

Scarlett Goldstein

Last updated:  2023-05-16 06:00:07

The Super Bowl isn't about music, you'd say. Nevertheless, you must confess that the Halftime Show, which takes place every year together with the championship game, is an unforgettable event for music. When the artists really care about putting on a real show, of course! Some of them managed to make the Halftime Show one of the best moments of their huge careers, while others were less successful. To see who owned this prominent stage in the 21st century, check out our top ten list of authentic performances!

10. The Weeknd (2021)

The fans felt the excitement – the audience, not really, but their memes stole the show!

With Abel kicking it off with "Starboy," the audience screamed the lyrics religiously… much more hardcore than The Weeknd himself, though. The hit-maker delivered vocals on point, with smashes like "I Feel It Coming" and "The Hills," followed by the prayers in the background. However, there was one thing kind of missing – the show.

What made The Weeknd's show great are his gigantic hits, with his anthem "Blinding Lights," bringing people to their knees. Nonetheless, Abel kind of lacked the energy that night. No special guests, no risky moves to remember. "After Hours" didn't help this show get edgy. Nevertheless, the Internet will remember the hilarious memes of his face forever during "I Can't Feel My Face."

9. Madonna (2012)

"Like a Prayer" is one of the most iconic closing performances
Caption 8: Kings of pop or rock? Choose your fighter!

The first woman on the list is also one of the first ladies to perform on this occasion… Madonna is the synonym for women empowerment since she is the one who paved the way for the ladies in the music industry. Of course, she did the same thing with the Halftime Show!

Moreover, we're not sure if it's only a myth, but if you look a little closer, females perform at the Super Bowl much more frequently after Madonna had one of the most triumphant shows. She also had tons of special guests, spicing up her performances with new versions of the songs. Cee Lo Green, LMFAO, and Nicki Minaj really did their job too!

8. Aerosmith and NSYNC (2001)

Kings of pop or rock? Choose your fighter!

At the beginning of the 00s, Aerosmith, together with the boy band NSYNC, served as the Halftime Show's headliner with the theme "The Kings of Rock and Pop." Aerosmith perfectly showcased their title "the kings of rock," bringing the audience to tears during "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing."

Furthermore, NSYNC as the band paved the way for Justin Timberlake (who used to be in the group) to perform at the Super Bowl not once but three times! Nonetheless, the singer hit his Super Bowl peak in 2001, with his later performances being somewhat controversial rather than praised.

7. Bruno Mars (2014)

Did Bruno perform your favorite hit?

Bruno Mars is one of the privileged artists that had the opportunity to perform at the Halftime Show more than once. However, the highlight is still the way he put on a show as the headliner in 2014. What was the best part? The choir of children singing "Billionaire," the "aw, yeah" part of "Locked out of Heaven?" or all of them?

Another thing that made Bruno's performance memorable is the fact you simply have to know every single song he's chosen for the setlist. He's that musician that makes one hit after another, without any record that didn't hit the charts. It's hard to not like Bruno, anyway, because of his wild charisma!

6. Coldplay (2016)

Coldplay really had the best special guests they could ever invite to their show

Chris Martin is an astonishing songwriter and also an enthusiastic performer, with the fire in his veins. That's the first thing you'll notice as he opens the grand show with "Viva La Vida," which sounded like an anthem that's perfect for a sports occasion. Martin gave the audience an energy boost, while they didn't even know what they were about to witness!

Yes, Bruno Mars has indeed brought "Uptown Funk" to the stage, and the rollercoaster happened after the emotional ride from "Paradise" to "Adventure of the Lifetime." Do you wonder what comes next? "Okay, ladies, let's get in formation" – the way queen Bey says that keeps reminding us how iconic this night was. All three together on stage was a divine moment for the whole industry.

5. Katy Perry (2015)

Even the notorious hit "I Kissed a Girl" sounded better than ever that night

Let's talk about the most memorable Halftime Show entrance ever. Well, Katy Perry got onto the stage riding a tiger, kicking off her smash hit "Roar." Should we even consider anyone else? Katy's performance simply screams "unique and unforgettable!" When the "shark" dancers joined her, the left shark got laughed off because it didn't know the choreography, but let's be honest, that was hella cute!

Perry, just like many other artists did, invited some special guests. However, she indeed managed to shine the brightest when she was on the stage on her own! The grand ending with "Firework" in a sparkly dress and her power vocals made this a whole package for an occasion like the Super Bowl. Good job!

4. Prince (2007)

A musical genius owned the stage, just like he always did

All the best Super Bowl performances had a powerful entrance, so of course, Prince set the Super Bowl on fire. The stage was… Well, literally burning! Prince quickly got its place in the top five since his charisma and energy are undeniable.

An unbelievable highlight of this show is, of course, "Purple Rain," but not only for its popularity. It really rained as heavily as it should. To be honest, if he could make it rain harder, the rain would pour from the sky like a storm. In the color of purple, though!

3. Beyoncé (2013)

Beyoncé should give lessons on how to be a performer without a single error!

Love her or hate her, but Beyoncé is a queen, and the queen proved herself once again in 2013! To be honest, her march at the beginning of "Crazy in Love" looked more potent than the 2019 Maroon 5's whole performance. The way she owns the stage and every choreography leaves you even more in awe because her vocals sound so stable all the time!

Beyoncé keeps raising the bar, and with this show, she confirmed her title of a singer, dancer, actress, and a whole, unmistakable performer. Even her silhouette shining in the dark makes the audience feel the thrill! Did she sing your favorite song that night?

2. Shakira and Jennifer Lopez (2020)

This show is a fan favorite, with a massive number of views – are you re-watching it all the time, too?

Hands down, women brought the best halftime shows ever—no need to argue about that. Shakira and Jennifer are just another proof of how women oozing confidence and beauty can sound and dance flawlessly, giving the audience the best time of their lives. That's exactly how we felt when Shakira brought out the trumpets during "Hips Don't Lie!"

Shakira's irreplaceable energy got the whole audience to raise their hands and dance effortlessly. The way J. Lo joined the stage was also an iconic moment that we can't forget, too! Many dancers for "Waiting for Tonight" made us remember how this song never ages. These ladies don't, either – their power stays forever!

1. Lady Gaga (2017)

Try not to sob during the "Million Reasons" performance!

Holding the title of the best Halftime Show of the century is an immense honor, to say the least. It depends on your taste, but no one can deny that Lady Gaga nailed every single second of her 13-minutes long show! This lady here was bungee jumping, running, dancing like crazy, and playing the piano, as she simultaneously belted out some of the greatest Super Bowl moments when it comes to the vocals.

The songstress oozed courage as she let her adrenaline and wild energy shine, which made the public excited. Bungee jumping or giving a shout-out to her LGBTQ+ fanbase didn't seem like a challenge for her! This show doesn't have a single detail that is forgettable and not absolutely iconic. Lady Gaga proved herself again and confirmed Grammy snubs won't affect her.

In conclusion, the new age made the Super Bowl Halftime Show one of the most memorable music moments every year. Not every year indeed impresses the public… However, these ten performances are the ones we'll talk about for ages. Who would ever fail to recall Katy Perry's silly sharks or Gaga's wild jumps?

What's your favorite Super Bowl Halftime Show of this century? Did we miss any show worth mentioning?

Photo: YouTube Screenshot



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