It has a television audience of 110 million people, so it’s no wonder that the Super Bowl halftime show attracts some of the biggest and best stars in the world. From the King of Pop himself to Queen Bey, the halftime show is a chance for musicians to exhibit their skills and showmanship.
This year, Lady Gaga is at the helm of the show and we can’t wait to see what she brings to the table. She’s normally known for causing controversy (either in a meat dress or in outrageous heels), but she won’t be the first performer to create a scene at the halftime performance. We’ve collected the top six most unforgettable Super Bowl halftime show moments so you can get excited for what is sure to be a spectacular show by Gaga.
Michael Jackson (1993)
The King of Pop started the tradition of dazzling high-energy halftime shows with this performance. He brought the showmanship that the halftime show needed with cinematic touches and dramatic pauses (he stood still for over 90 seconds before starting his show). His performance included a children’s choir singing “We are the World”, followed by his finale performance of “Heal the World”, a pivotal moment in his career.
Diana Ross (1996)
The iconic diva performed an incredible show for the 1996 Super Bowl halftime. She sang all of her biggest hits, including the unforgettable “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and managed an outfit change in between each song. Ross really set the stage for divas to come, especially with her memorable exit. Cementing her place in Super Bowl halftime history, Ross had a helicopter land in the middle of the field to leave as a true diva should. Top that, Lady Gaga.
Janet Jackson (2004)
Everyone remembers or at least has heard of this iconic moment in Super Bowl halftime history, known as ‘Nipplegate’. During a high energy rendition of “Rock Your Body”, Justin Timberlake ripped a piece of Jackson’s costume off and exposed her breast. Her career never fully recovered, but it’s one of the most unforgettable moments of the Superbowl halftime show.
The late music legend gave what is often considered the definitive Super Bowl halftime performance. Prince used the pouring rain to his advantage, turning it purple with stage lights and singing “Purple Rain” to thunderous applause. The controversy came from the phallic imagery throughout the show, from the stage itself to his guitar. The powerful performance tops the list when it comes to unforgettable moments.
Beyoncé (2013 and 2016)
A list of unforgettable Super Bowl halftime moments can’t miss Queen Bey. Her 2013 headlining show was perfectly executed, even including a Destiny’s Child reunion. Beyoncé’s performance actually paid homage to the game, and it thrilled fans. In 2016, she was a guest onstage with Coldplay and she stole the show with a performance of “Formation” that gave tribute to the Black Panthers.
Katy Perry (2015)
This Super Bowl halftime will never be forgotten, mostly thanks to a wayward backward dancer immortalised on the internet as “Left Shark”. That meme-tastic performance unfortunately overwhelmed the other unforgettable elements of the show, including Perry’s arrival on the back of a giant lion. Not to mention the beach scene and the nostalgic performance by Missy Elliott.