The Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows (PHOTOS)

Are you ready for some footbaaall?! We break down our favorite Super Bowl halftime shows of recent memory.

On February 5th the Patriots and the Falcons will go head to head at Super Bowl LI in Houston and its halftime entertainer will be none other than Lady Gaga. Just to jog your memory, the last time the big game was in Houston, the halftime show was embroiled in Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake‘s epic accidental (or “accidental”) wardrobe malfunction — arguably the biggest overreaction in live TV history, if you ask us. 

But this year? Gaga reassures us that she won’t have any slippage on her Lady parts, although rumor has it that she may slip in some commentary about the new president (judging from her politics, it will most likely not be nice). Another rumor is that she may raise the roof by… well, performing on top of it! 

Considering the halftime show traditionally has special guests in addition to its star performer, Gaga announced that her 90-year-old crooner-in-crime Tony Bennett, will be joining the party, so we’re thinking a classic will most definitely be in order.

With that said, in anticipation of all the color and fanfare Lady Gaga will bring to her halftime show, we’ve chosen a handful of our favorite performers of Super Bowl pasts. 

Beyoncé – Super Bowl XLVII (2013)

Bey was serioulsy bey-licious for us babe(!) at Super Bowl XLVII. Coming right off the controversy of lip-synching the national anthem at President Obama‘s inauguration, Beyoncé redeemed herself big time at the halftime show — and waxed nostalgic with Destiny’s Child to boot.

The performance was epic, with a full display of female power, black leather, fiery dancing, and digital holograms of the star bumping and grinding.

Bruno Mars & Red Hot Chili Peppers – Super Bowl XLVIII (2014)

If there ever was a fresh-faced showman that brought pop, funk and soul to the stage, it’d be Bruno Mars all the way. The energetic star gave us the highest of highs during Super Bowl XLVIII starting with his slammin’ drum solo and his big band back up… (and if you’re counting it, his bangs). If things couldn’t get any more hyped, the Cali cool rock ‘n’ roll of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, led by the habitually shirtless Anthony Kiedis and the bangin’ guitarist Flea, took the show to a new level of pandemonium.  

U2 – Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)

Perhaps one of the most uplifting yet bittersweet halftime shows in recent memory was U2’s performance of “Where Streets Have No Name,” at Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. With the terrorist attacks of 9/11 painfully fresh on the minds and hearts of Americans, U2 brought some much needed comfort to the soul with their music, set poignantly with a scrolling backdrop of the names of those who died that fateful day. And to top it off, Bono ended his performance by pulling open his jacket to reveal America’s patriotic red, white, and blue.  

Katy Perry – Super Bowl XLIX (2015)

If you asked anyone what they most remember of Katy Perry‘s performance at Super Bowl XLIX, you’d probably hear “the dancing sharks, the dancing sharks!” Indeed, those fuzzy blue percolaters caused a wave of excitement on Twitter. But let’s not forget all of the other amazing sights and sounds of Perry’s act. Between her multitude of wardrobe changes, the 26-foot-long tiger puppet, her tiny starstruck platform that flew her across the field, and the kickass guest artists Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott, there was a lot to applaud — including the fact she didn’t throw shade at Taylor Swift, which many gossip mags had secretly hoped for.

Prince – Super Bowl XLI (2007)

Prince Super Bowl 2007 Photo

Prince performs during the ‘Pepsi Halftime Show’ at Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Our choice for the most soul-stirring, goose pimply Super Bowl halftime performance of all time? Prince, of course. Despite showing off his purple-unpronounceable-symbol-guitar in a phallic way, it was the passionate way Prince played his instrument — as he rocked through classics like “1999” and “Let’s Go Crazy” — that really took the fans by storm. Speaking of storms, when rain poured down during Prince’s performance of “Purple Rain,” it seemed as if the music and Super Bowl gods had planned the whole dang amazing moment. Yeah, we were in tears.