Super Bowl 54’s halftime show featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira reminded us once again that the event is about anything but the football game. The spectacle inspired me to take a look back at some of the best Super Bowl Performances in recent memory. Here’s my top 5:
- Jennifer Lopez and Shakira (2020)
Neither J.Lo nor Shakira have had any big songs in a while, but this year’s halftime show reminded us of the monstrous hits they do have. Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” and J. Lo’s “Jenny From the Block” were highlights. The show was also a great display of the Latin pride the two singers bring with them, including Shakira busting out some traditional Afro-Colombian footwork over “Waka Waka” and Lopez bringing out the Puerto Rican flag. At a divisive moment in race-relations within the United States, this performance was perfect. Also, shout out Lopez’s husband Alex Rodriguez dancing in the crowd.
- U2 (2002)
This performance was something special. Just a few months after 9/11, U2 made the show a tribute to the victims. Bono opened the show in the crowd, crooning “Beautiful Day” behind those famous blue shades. They played a beautiful rendition of “Where the Streets Have No Name” as a banner with the names of the victims scrolled behind them. At the end, Bono ripped open his jacket to reveal the American flag sewn on the inside. This show was a great moment in Rock N’ Roll.
- Aerosmith, Britney Spears, ‘NSync, Nelly, Mary J. Blige (2001)
It’s hard to describe the absurdity of this halftime lineup. People either love it or hate it. Personally, I can’t get enough of it. ‘NSync made us sweat in ill-fitting leather between Aeromsith’s rock ballads. Then Britney, Mary J. Blige and Nelly inexplicably burst on stage to join in a mash-up rendition of “Walk This Way”. I am not making this up, it is the craziest three-minutes in television history. If I could insert the year 2001 via intravenous, I would.
- Beyonce (2013)
Bey was at the height of her powers in 2013, and this halftime performance showed that she truly did run the world. The show opened with Beyonce exploding out of plumes of fire, and no one stopped screaming until the end of the set. The high-heeled choreography of “Crazy in Love” was jaw dropping. And yes, we got the Destiny’s Child reunion, with Kelly and Michelle literally shooting out of the stage. The three snapped on “Single Ladies”, before Bey kissed the crowd goodnight with “Halo”.
- Prince (2007)
The baddest man on the planet didn’t let a Miami thunderstorm stop him from delivering the best halftime show ever. When told that it was raining before the show, Prince famously replied to the production team with “can you make it rain harder?”. Clad in a bright blue suit, Prince pulled off one epic number after the next. His own “Let’s Go Crazy” was excellent, but nobody expected covers of “We Will Rock You” and “All along the Watchtower”. Prince then capped the show off with a guitar-solo filled “Purple Rain” as rain literally fell in sheets. Chills.