Super Bowl Halftime Shows: A History of Iconic Performances and Memorable Moments

The Super Bowl is more than just touchdowns and interceptions—it is an annual event that sports fans worldwide look forward to. A grand combination of entertainment and athletics occurs, with the halftime show exemplifying music awe. 

This interval evolved over time, going from small beginnings with college bands and impersonators to a stage for international megastars. It is a spectacle showcase that often exceeds the actual game, attracting large crowds with its all-star lineup.

The halftime show, which features some of the biggest stars in music, has grown to be as significant and hotly anticipated as the game itself. The 2023 Super Bowl halftime, which starred Rihanna, attracted an audience of over 112 million viewers.

Michael Jackson, 1993

There are no better halftime shows than Michael Jackson’s 1993 show. Considered the greatest of all time, Jackson’s performance began with two jumbotrons before he leaped from the centre of the stage, standing motionless for almost two minutes before taking off his sunglasses and receiving roaring cheers. 

Before finishing with Heal the World, he sang several hits, such as Jam, Billie Jean, and Black or White, in front of a choir of 3,500 neighbourhood kids from Los Angeles. 

Prince – 2007

He sang Purple Rain, and coincidentally, it was raining when Prince was performing. It may seem insignificant but consider this: in the 40 years of the Super Bowl, there has never been a rainy halftime show. 

Prince did not seem to be phased by that; he took everything calmly. It was an unforgettable experience, particularly in the last moments when Prince sang his hit song Purple Rain while the downpour was pouring down rain. 

Beyonce – 2013

Beyoncé showed once more why she is the Queen. The singer danced her heart out in choreographed routines that appeared draining to viewers watching at home, and she performed a nine-song medley before taking the stage. Beyonce even went as far as to reunite Destiny’s Child for her performance, inviting Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland to sing Single Ladies and Independent Women, as if all that was not enough. 

Katy Perry – 2015

Katy Perry, who is well-known for her stage designs and costumes for her tours, highlighted all of that during her halftime show at the Super Bowl. She performed her hit song “Roar” while sitting on a massive golden mechanical lion, and she even had Missy Elliott and Lenny Kravitz as musical guests. 

The highlight of the show, though, had to be Perry singing ‘I Kissed a Girl’ and ‘California Girls’ while surrounded by dancers, one of whom was a shark, wearing brightly coloured costumes. As a result of the left shark’s uniqueness and lack of rhythm with the right shark, memes and videos resulting from the humour quickly went viral on the Internet.

Moreover, continuing the tradition of unique performances in the Super Bowl, Usher – an American singer, songwriter, and dancer – is set to perform in Super Bowl 2024

Lady Gaga – 2017

Lady Gaga displayed extravagant behaviour with her aerial entrance and high-energy setlist, which ended in a finale recalling a football pad that perfectly captured her bold and theatrical style. 

Although the jump at Houston, Texas’s NRG Stadium, was pre-recorded, the live impact remained. Even though it was not the most elegant dive, Lady Gaga made it even better.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez – 2020

While Jennifer Lopez impressed during Shakira’s halftime show, most people could not take their eyes off her tongue. Yes, the tongue-wagging quickly gained popularity as a meme, giving rise to many videos that took over Instagram, Twitter, and other social media feeds. 


Despite that, it was still a phenomenal performance by two of the biggest Latina stars in history. Following performances of popular songs like Jenny from the Block, Is not It Funny, Get Right, and On the Floor, Lopez even displayed her skills on the pole, referring to her role in the movie Hustlers. However, everything reached a breaking point when Shakira performed the hits “Let’s Get Loud” and “Waka Waka” on stage together.

Destiny’s Child reunion (2013)

Beyonce is one of the most talked about and beloved artists of all time and is often put on a pedestal above most others. She has performed at the Super Bowl twice, the first coming in 2013. That year, she made many ’90s and early ’00s pop fans’ dreams come true with a Destiny’s Child reunion, bringing out Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent share a stage win for an Emmy (2022)

It was historic in and of itself to have this many legendary figures from hip-hop and R&B on one stage—and not just any stage, the biggest stage. One of the most exciting Super Bowl halftime performances ever. 

There was an apparent anticipation from the TV. The 2022 SoFi Stadium show was so well-received that it became the first-ever halftime show to win an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live).

Left Shark (2015)

Even though people do not recall much about Katy Perry’s halftime show performance, they recall Left Shark going viral immediately. 

The person wearing the shark costume decided that this was their chance to become famous and leave their mark on the halftime show, and they succeeded. The dance routines, which appeared spontaneous, will be remembered for a long time.

‘Indiana Jones’ performance (1995)

Patti LaBelle, Tony Bennett, and actors portraying an Indiana Jones scene brought a slightly confusing but epically entertaining performance. 

The 1995 performance had the typical Indiana Jones imagery and props while mixing some football aspects, including setting someone on fire and the actors holding up a replica Lombardi Trophy. It was perfectly chaotic.


These performances were more than just entertainment; they became part of the cultural moment and caused debates, memes, and discussions that went well beyond the game’s outcome. 

The Super Bowl halftime show has developed into a stage for performers to display their skill as musicians and their capacity to uplift and produce moments that will live on in the memories of millions of fans.