Every February, iconic artists perform at the Super Bowl, a concert so epic, that the NFL’s two best teams compete for a championship before and after the concert - at least, that’s what hardcore music fans think. All jokes aside, the Super Bowl halftime show has become a huge part of American culture, and has catapulted the careers of many artists to legendary status and sparked social movements and media frenzies.

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Here are the ten best Super Bowl performances, halftime or not, of all time.

7. Katy Perry – Super Bowl XLIX

Left shark, Missy Elliot, bouncing beach balls, Lenny Kravitz and Taylor Swift digs. If I keep going, this’ll turn into an Iggy Azalea verse. Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime is the most child-friendly one in history, but that didn’t keep Perry from getting raunchy on stage with Lenny Kravitz as she popped a squat and Miley Cyrus-ed him on national TV.

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Luckily for Perry, she has nine number one Billboard Hot 100 hits under her belt, which made it fun to sing along to songs like “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Dark Horse,” and “Roar.”

6. Beyoncé – Super Bowl XLVII

Beyoncé performed a medley of her biggest hits and even brought out Destiny’s other children, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, for a Destiny’s Child reunion. This performance marked Beyoncé’s first live television performance since having a child of her own. 

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Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé – Super Bowl 50

The three acts took to the Super Bowl halftime show to perform a pro-LGBT and pro-black show. Coldplay’s set was Bollywood-inspired while Beyoncé and Bruno Mars paid tribute to The Black Panthers, Michael Jackson and MC Hammer. The mix of themes was so well executed that people almost didn’t realize all that was going on and it made the show as enjoyable as it was politically and socially charged.

4. Madonna – Super Bowl XLVI halftime show

Grandmother Queen of Pop, Madonna, performed signature hits ‘Music,’ ‘Like a Prayer,’ ‘Express Yourself’ and ‘Vogue’ with appearances by a new generation of pop stars like Nicki Minaj, MIA, Cee Lo Green, and LMFAO. Thanks to the publicity and attention surrounding the event, Madonna earned her eighth number-one album on the Billboard Top 200 chart. The ancient Roman and Egyptian-inspired set gave her publicity of another kind.

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It sparked rumors of her affiliation with the Illuminati. The EDM bonanza, packed with heavy choreography, glitz and glamour, proved that Madonna had only one agenda – to get everyone to ‘strike a pose.’

3. Whitney Houston – Super Bowl XXV national anthem

Whitney Houston’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” is the only reason that this list isn’t exclusive to Super Bowl halftime shows. Nothing will ever come close to topping Houston’s vocal execution of the national anthem or its cultural impact.

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It was performed just after the start of the Persian Gulf War and was rereleased as a single after the 9/11 attacks. Since then, people have been on their toes, waiting for a singer to coming along and do better. It’s been 25 years since then, and we’re still waiting.

2. U2 – Super Bowl XXXVI

Just a few months after 9/11, people were still scrambled over the possibility of terrorist attacks. The country was divided for sometime, but there’s nothing better than Football and U2 to bring people together. U2’s performance is ranked among the best live-tv performances of all-time, let alone the Super Bowl halftime performances. 

1. Michael Jackson – Super Bowl XXVII

Michael Jackson’s iconic Super Bowl halftime in 1993 inspired future performances by Coldplay, Beyoncé and Katy Perry. Michael Jackson imposters entered the stadium from each of its corners until the real Michael Jackson rose from beneath the stage. Like some godly statue, he stood there for 90 seconds before performing a medley of hits such as “Billie Jean,” “Black and White,” “We Are the World,” and “Heal the World." Unfortunately, today Jackson is gone and his mission is still unrealized, as the world still needs healing.

 

 

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