Super Bowl LVIII is right around the corner. It’s the Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers, and the predicted winner is anyone’s guess.
However, Super Bowl odds imply that we’re looking at what should be an extremely close game as the 49ers are slight 1.5-point favorites. That doesn’t help us narrow down the field by much, but it does keep players from both teams in play as betting options.
Either way, Super Bowl LVIII is lining up to be a showstopper.
And with Usher set to perform the halftime show, there’s no better time to look back at the most iconic Super Bowl halftime performances of all time!
Super Bowl XLI saw Prince take to the halftime stage to perform “Let’s Go Crazy”, “All Along the Watchtower”, and “Proud Mary”, among others, donning a turquoise suit and a purple guitar, no less.
But it was his most famous number, “Purple Rain”, that made this performance one of the most iconic the Super Bowl has seen. Fans sang along and waved their arms as rain (not purple, unfortunately) poured down over Hard Rock Stadium.
Michael Jackson (1993)
It would be (smooth) criminal to not include Michael Jackson on this list. His 1993 performance at Super Bowl XXVII is iconic because, well, it’s Michael Jackson at the Super Bowl.
And the biggest popstar of all time didn’t disappoint. Fans at the stadium and in front of their TVs went wild as he reeled off a few of his chart-topping hits, before finishing off with “We are the World” and “Heal the World” in front of a massive blow-up globe.
Madonna always brings a show when she gets up on stage. Which is why it still baffles people how she didn’t perform at the Super Bowl sooner. But Super Bowl XLVI was worth the wait and showcased exactly why she’s one of the best performers in the world.
Entering on a golden throne to “Vogue”, before going straight into LMFAO’s number-one hit, the performance had everyone dancing. And the Material Girl knew exactly how to close, as “Like a Prayer” is still remembered by Super Bowl fans 10 years later.
Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, Nelly (2004)
2004’s Super Bowl XXXVIII had Janet Jackson, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, P. Diddy, and Kid Rock on the field. The theatricality was a lot to take in, but it’s what makes this performance iconic.
Kid Rock’s American poncho, Nelly’s big red car, Diddy’s smoky entrance, and whatever it was that happened between Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. It was memorable, to say the least, no matter whether you liked the halftime performance or not.
Katy Perry (2015)
Katy Perry took over Super Bowl XLIX’s halftime show by riding out on a female lion, just like the lioness she is, singing “Roar” to all stadium fans watching in awe. She didn’t leave out any fan favorites out of her catalog either, including “I Kissed a Girl” to “California Girls”.
Towards the end she was joined onstage by the likes of Missy Elliott and Lenny Kravitz, which only brought the energy up to eleven. Plus, who can forget the dancing sharks, palm trees, and surfboards at the halfway mark?
Lady Gaga (2017)
Lady Gaga’s performances are always interesting for one or another reason. She’s eclectic, to put it one way, with some of the craziest outfits and props stages the world has seen.
Super Bowl LI was no different, as she began by singing (another) version of The Star-Spangled Banner.
In usual fashion, she wore no end of outfits throughout the 13-minute show, which was full of her most recognizable songs. “Bad Romance” was the closer, performed with pyro effects, blinding white lights, and around 100 dancers somehow fitting on the stage.
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl XLVII performance is always rated among the best as far as most people are concerned. She’s one of the world’s greatest performers, after all, and her halftime 2013 performance was a dazzling showreel that proved it.
But that’s not the only reason Beyoncé at the Super Bowl was iconic. Fellow Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined her onstage, and it was an overdue reunion that had fans screaming.
The Rolling Stones (2006)
2006’s Super Bowl XL in Detroit saw the rock-defining Rolling Stones take to the stage, which was, of course, a giant tongue. And with Mick Jagger prowling around showcasing his signature moves, there’s no way this performance can’t be called iconic.
The Rolling Stones powered through all their timeless classics with energy that was matched by the audience. Ending big with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, their performance proves you don’t need a million dancers and stage effects to raise the roof at the Super Bowl.
Matching The Rolling Stones to provide one of the best rock ‘n’ roll Super Bowl performances ever, U2’s halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVI turned the Louisiana Superdome into an all-out rock concert for a solid 12 minutes.
Fans went mad when U2 kicked off the performance with “Beautiful Day”. But it was the giant screen paying tribute to people who died during 9/11 that stole the show at the midpoint, right through to the end.
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar (2022)
Does a Super Bowl halftime lineup get better than this?
Super Bowl LVI brought Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and 50 Cent out onto the field. And fans loved it, jigging and rapping the lyrics to old-school hip hop numbers like “California Love”, “In Da Club”, “Still D.R.E.”, and “Lose Yourself” from start to finish. It might have been just last year, but it’s certified iconic.
That wraps up this list of 10 most iconic Super Bowl halftime performances of all time! Needless to say, the bar has been set high for Usher this year, but it’s sure he will ramp up the energy as the Chiefs and 49ers go head-to-head in Super Bowl LVIII.