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Another Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
There are just too many good shows to choose from. For this list, we’ll be looking at ten more Super Bowl halftime shows that wowed audiences with their production, extravagance, and star power. WatchMojo counts down Another Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows.

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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Another Top 10 Super Bowl Halftime Shows

There are just too many good shows to choose from. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for another top 10 Super Bowl halftime shows. For this list, we’ll be looking at ten more Super Bowl halftime shows that wowed audiences with their production, extravagance, and star power. If you don’t see a performance that you think should have been on this list, be sure to check out our original Top 10 Super Bowl halftime Shows.

#10: The Who

What better group to have perform at the Super Bowl halftime show than one of the best classic rock bands of all time? The Who’s performance consisted of a medley of hits, including Pinball Wizard, Baba O’Riley, and Who Are You, and each song was accompanied by a beautiful synchronized light show. The crowd went wild and sang along, complete with a particularly rousing “WE WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN!” It really doesn’t get much better than enjoying a few beers, eating some chicken wings and pizza, and rocking out to these classic tunes.

#9: The Black Eyed Peas, Slash & Usher

Sure, The Black Eyed Peas might have seemed a little overwhelmed at Super Bowl XLV. They were missing their characteristic energy, and they’ve definitely sounded better. But their appearance was something of a historical turning point for the halftime show, with dance-pop and extravagant production taking centrestage. And man, what a lineup of hits. Slash and Usher were also there to add some classic rock and R&B flavors to the proceedings. It was a performance changed the direction of halftime shows from the dad rock of The Who and the Rolling Stones to the more wide-reaching, bombastic productions of the 2010s.

#8: A Tribute to Motown’s 40th Anniversary

The halftime of Super Bowl XXXII was a tribute to classic Motown artists and featured notable R&B performers like Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, and The Temptations. And what you think of it depends largely on your appreciation for R&B. Yes, it contained the usual production shenanigans like synchronized dancers, giant records, and fireworks, but the music itself was relatively subdued. No deafening guitars, no weird autotuned vocals and stadium-rousing choruses – just people on stage singing their hearts out. The show celebrated music history while being entertaining in its own right. Although, yes, Martha Reeves did not sound her best. Just ignore that part.

#7: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Aaand we’re back to the classic rock. The Super Bowl really goes through stages, doesn’t it? Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed at Super Bowl XLII and played through all their big hits, including “American Girl”, “Free Fallin’”, and “Runnin’ Down a Dream”. There’s nothing fancy about the gig – no extravagant light show, and not a single dancer. Can you believe that? Not one dancer! It’s just an iconic American band doing what they do best and giving the audience the time of their lives. It was great in its time, and it’s even better looking back. We miss you, Tom!

#6: Tapestry of Nations

Ladies and gentlemen, for the Super Bowl XXXIV halftime show, we proudly present …a Disney-produced show narrated by Edward James Olmos? Uhhh, what? It sounds like an utter disaster, but it was an experiment that we believe paid off handsomely. The show consisted of a full orchestra, an 80-person choir, and various singers like Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, and Tina Turner. It looked and sounded like a live action Disney movie, a symphony hall, and a modern Super Bowl production all rolled into one, and the results were certainly unique. It was something daring and new, and we have to give the entertainment planners props for trying it out.

#5: Diana Ross

The 90s were a transitional time for halftime shows. Case in point, Super Bowl XXX, which blended the music of Diana Ross with modern spectacle. And you know what? It worked! We got the spectacular image of Ross singing Stop! In the Name of Love atop a sparkling platform, and then the visual wonder of performers fanning out across the field in a stunning, colorful kaleidoscope. Diana Ross, pyrotechnics, and stadium card stunts might have been
an unexpected combo, but she sure put on one heck of a show.

#4: Coldplay, Beyoncé & Bruno Mars

When you think of the modern Super Bowl halftime show, this is probably the one that comes to mind. This 50th halftime was both a celebration of the year’s popular artists and a tribute to the halftime shows of old, and it’s one of the most spectacular things you will ever see on TV. Coldplay performed their hits in a beautiful array of colors, Bruno Mars slayed Uptown Funk, and Beyoncé and her personal army of dancers entered through a haze of fireworks and sparkles. Everything was magnificent, from the production design to the music to the theatricality - which of course included a lot of fantastic dancing from both Bruno and Beyoncé. They don’t get much more sensational than this.

#3: Katy Perry

We say they don’t get MUCH more sensational, but one could certainly argue that Katy Perry put on the more visually spectacular show. She rode in on a twenty-foot tall mechanical lion and left on a floating star for crying out loud! But the whole thing wasn’t just breathtaking theatrics, as Katy Perry proved to be a magnificent and confident performer. She totally commanded both the stage and the audience, and performed through a dazzling production that must have cost a small fortune. Plus, it gave us left shark, which is probably the most memed thing to ever come from a Super Bowl. This halftime show really did have it all.

#2: Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan & Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

The halftime show of Super Bowl XXXIII was titled A Celebration of Soul, Salsa and Swing - a promise that it more than delivered on. It started with a fun swing sequence, complete with suited performers and dozens of synchronized dancers, before transitioning into the soulful sounds of Stevie Wonder. Gloria Estefan closed the show with an energetic and colorful performance that left the audience reeling. The whole thing came across as more of a wild party than a produced show, and it’s clear that both the performers and the audience were having a fantastic time. Few halftime shows were as fun as this one.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye

Rockin’ Country Sunday

A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl

#1: Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney may seem like a safe bet for a halftime show, and that is entirely by design. Just one year earlier was the infamous Janet Jackson fiasco, and wishing to avoid another potential controversy, the producers decided on the always-safe and consistently delightful Paul McCartney. Paul dazzled with fan favorites Get Back and Live and Let Die before launching into the stadium-rousing Hey Jude, which predictably had all 78,000 in attendance singing and humming along. The whole thing was a brilliant blend of old fashioned rock and feel-good music, and there’s nothing quite like hearing that many people come together in song.

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