Have you ever stopped to wonder how many people watch the Super Bowl because of the actual football game, and how many others watch the event because of the commercials and halftime show? Yeah, there are many people that bet on NFL action that see the Super Bowl as their main payday if everything goes to plan. Yet, I’m pretty inclined to say that there are a lot more people watching it to see how the halftime show is going to be rather than anything else.
Now, with all this said, while there have been some amazing Super Bowl halftime shows, there have been others that left everyone thinking “is that it?”. We could mention The Weekend’s performance from this year’s Super Bowl but the wound might still be too fresh, given that the fall the performer took from putting his show so high up in the hype sky and then crashing back down must have left some scars. Here are two of the best Super Bowl halftime shows of recent times and two that were just not good.
Great Show: Beyoncé, Super Bowl XLVII
Of course if we’re going to start a list of great anything music related, we will start with the queen, with the biggest, most important, most electrifying performer of our time, Beyoncé. Seriously, if you would’ve given Beyoncé some pads and a helmet, she probably would’ve beaten the Ravens and 49ers and came out as the Super Bowl champion as well.
Queen Bey brought the SuperDome down as well as everyone around the world watching with her renditions of “Crazy in Love”, “Independent Women” and “Baby Boy”. If that wasn’t enough Beyoncé brought back Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for an impromptu Destiny’s Child reunion that had everyone going insane. But it was her version of “Halo” that up to this day can easily be considered one of the most powerful performances in Super Bowl halftime show history. Go watch it, I don’t care if it’s your first time or if you’ve seen it over and over again, it’s worth it.
Not So Great Show: Maroon 5, Super Bowl LIII
The game between the Rams and Patriots was bad, but in comparison to the Maroon 5 led halftime show, I would call the LA vs New England matchup an instant football classic. The Super Bowl halftime show in 2019 should’ve never happened to begin with, especially with all the signs blaring in the distance of how it was bound to be a disaster. Given that Rihanna and Cardi B both turned it down, in support of Colin Kaepernick’s situation, where he was blacklisted from the NFL for standing up for African American rights and to stop all the social injustices going on, the NFL called Adam Levine and Maroon 5 to try and save the show.
Levine didn’t do any good, nor did his band, nor did bringing Travis Scott, Outkast’s Big Boi or SpongeBob Squarepants. It was a lame show all around and all the previously mentioned guests did not deserve to be a part of such a sad showing. But well, that goes to show that while you think something can’t get any worse, if you bring in Maroon 5 then anything is possible.
Great Show: Prince, Super Bowl XLI
For me, Prince will always be the best, most complete performing artist in the history of music entertainment. There’s no changing my mind there and if there was ever any need of proof, his Super Bowl XLI performance should do plenty. Prince was all over the place during his performance, all while a thunderstorm that was hitting Miami like it was nobody’s business was playing as his backup.
Just listening to his guitar solo on Purple Rain is enough to make you thank the world you were alive at the same time Prince was. What he did in that show, and in the music world in total is something that will probably never be seen again and now we have his Super Bowl performance to remind us always what the meaning of the word “cool” is, it’s Prince.
Not So Great Show: The Black Eyed Peas, Super Bowl XLV
Oh God, if Prince is the epitome of cool, the Black Eyed Peas performance with Usher and Slash is the epitome of cringe. I can’t decide whether it was the robot style light-up suits, their poor renditions of their own songs or the fact that everything was getting worse and worse as time continued to go on.
Now, you might be thinking, was this show really that bad? Yes, it was and if you need any further proof, just watch how a great song like “Sweet Child of Mine” can become a tragedy by adding Fergie. Now that I think about it, when she sang the National Anthem at the NBA All-Star game a few years later and bombed, we shouldn’t have felt so surprised, the signs were already there.