Beyonce best bring her A-game to Super Bowl Sunday, because lip-synced Presidential inaugurations come and go, but once you step out on stage for your Super Bowl half time show, you’ve committed to a performance that will be talked about for years to come. Two words: Wardrobe. Malfunction.
The Half Time show has a mixed history. The Black Eyed Peas‘ 2011 performance was mildly upsetting. And then there was that awkward No Doubt/Sting collab in 2003. However, the ‘Nsync and Britney Spears’ Walk This Way duet with Aerosmith was just about the worst thing ever.
There have also been the highlights. Bruce Springsteen proved he was The Boss of Super Bowl half time shows with his soul-enriching 12 minute set in 2009; Paul McCartney and The Stones transcended time; and love them or hate, is there a band better suited to the excess of the stadium-set half time show than U2?
At the 47th Super Bowl Half Time Show today Beyonce will reunite with her Destiny’s Child sisters in what should be a spectacular singing-dancing extravaganza. And it wouldn’t be surprising to see a guest verse appearance from Mr Beyonce, Jay-Z. There’s not long to go until the show “kicks off” (heh), until then check out our Top 5 Memorable Super Bowl Half Time Shows.
5. Elvis Presto 1989
Universally considered the worst Super Bowl performance ever, it was at least memorable. I know it was the ’80s but how did an Elvis impersonator performing card tricks EVER sound like a good idea? The performance was titled Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D, with half time sponsor Coke distributing millions of 3-D glasses to viewers in the lead up to the game. Unfortunately no amount of so hot right now ’80s gimmickry could disguise the fact that Presto’s tricks sucked ass and his routine was half-baked. A low point in the history of entertainment.
4. Michael Jackson 1993
Booking Michael Jackson at the height of his popularity created such a rating boost that it totally redefined the notion of the half time show. MJ moonwalked through the smoke and blazing pyrotechnics, delivering a medley of hits: Jam, Billie Jean, Black or White, and Heal The World. This is how you do it:
3. In Living Color/Men On Football 1991
In an audacious bid to drag viewers from the official Super Bowl telecast, Fox broadcasted the live In Living Color sketch that enticed between 20-25 million viewers to switch channels. Maybe a little bit homophobic by today’s standards, the sketch has enough ridiculous puns and sexual innuendo to maintain its entertainment value today. “Isn’t he a tight end?“, “He was.” Hmmm…
Diana Ross 1995
The embodiment of ‘diva’ before Sasha Fierce was even in nappies, Diana Ross’s Super Bowl appearance in the second (or even third?) wave of her career was anything but age wearied. Strutting through four costume changes, Ross belted out a medley of hits before making her exit. Does she leave stage left? Stage right? No, she exits the stadium via a helicopter signing the aptly titled Take Me Higher. That is how a diva does it.
1. Prince 2007
If you book Prince, expect to get Prince, outrageous thrusting phallic symbols and all. Prince burst through a frantic medley including Queen’s We Will Rock You, his own hits Let’s Go Crazy and Baby, and I’m a Star; Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary; Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower; and, oddly enough, Foo Fighters’ Best of You. It all crescendoed into a downpour (it rains when Prince says it rains) on his logo-shaped stage and a spirited rendition of Purple Rain. The best!
See also: The Greatest Super Bowl Ads Of All Time.