When it comes to the NFL’s Super Bowl Championship Game, not all spectators are there for the sport of American football. In fact, the big day, known throughout the US as ‘Sunday Funday’, offers two other attractions for viewers outside the realm of sports.
During the thirty-minute halftime break in the action, major brands from around the world showcase their latest ads. With only seconds to spare, top groups from Jeep to Apple elevate the standard commercial experience to comical, uplifting, and entertaining new heights.
And then comes the grandest spectacle of Sunday Funday: the halftime performance. Though the main offering of the Super Bowl is undoubtedly the competitive teams battling it out on the gridiron, the halftime shows bring on the world’s most popular musicians to create an unforgettable concert.
This year’s Super Bowl will be held on February 7th in Tampa Bay, Florida. The halftime show will be performed by the Weeknd. The Canadian singer is fresh off the release of a new album and full of performance pieces, like the facial bandages he wore at the 2020 VMAs, so the Weeknd is a perfect candidate for this year’s Super Bowl.
Not only does he have vocal talent, but he can set a mood that’s perfect for the championship game. In the weeks before the final faceoff, NFL betting odds from top sportsbooks have favored the Packers and the Chiefs to face off. However, now that a battle between local team Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chiefs is to take place, a stellar halftime performance will mean even more for local spectators.
A dynamic and soulful halftime show from a vocalist like the Weeknd will provide a break for viewers without a dip in the excitement. Should he fail, he’ll wind up at the bottom of halftime performance rankings, alongside The Black Eyed Peas (2011) and Justin Timberlake (2004).
First Place: Prince
Super Bowl XLI (2007)
Prince’s halftime performance came at a crucial moment for Super Bowl productions. After a few edgier performances that culminated in 2004’s ‘Janet and Justin’ incident, the NFL steered towards “plain” performances from acts like the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney.
In 2007, the NFL released Prince upon the football world. The artist created an unforgettable 12-minute set that highlighted his dexterity as a musician rather than touting his most famous hits. The result was an unforgettable night, in which an unexpected rainstorm turned Prince’s performance of Purple Rain into a metaphysical experience.
Second Place: Beyonce
Super Bowl XLVII (2013)
Six years after Prince delivered the NFL’s most memorable halftime performance, Beyonce rose to the occasion to create one of the best-produced shows. Only weeks before, the songstress performed at President Obama’s inauguration at the White House.
Beyonce started off solo, then was joined by her Destiny’s Child bandmates. The reunion saw Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland bust out some of the group’s top hits from the early 2000s. Given Beyonce’s ability to share the limelight and allow other artists to plan the event, the show is considered flawless by many—from vocal chops to interactive fan moments to throwback hits.
Third Place: Lenny Kravitz & Katy Perry
Super Bowl XLIX (2015)
Two years after Beyonce and Destiny’s Child stunned fans with a stellar reunion, two unlikely candidates joined forces for the 2015 Super Bowl: rocker Lenny Kravitz and pop-star Katy Perry. Despite suspicion about the pair’s ability to bridge differences in their respective musical genres, the duo brought forth the best of both worlds.
However, rather than the artistic austerity of the 2007 Prince set and the dynamic production of Beyonce’s 2013 performance, Kravitz and Perry relied on a kitschy party vibe. Oddly enough, the bright colors and animatronic tigers and dancing palm trees didn’t distract from the vocal performances—in fact, they added an exciting dimension to the show.
Coupled with a surprise appearance by hip-hop artist Missy Elliot, the 2015 halftime performance was a surprisingly cohesive mash of 90s flashbacks, a crossover of Perry’s I Kissed a Girl by Kravitz, and a stunning aerobatics routine to top it all off. Even the night’s biggest disaster, Left Shark, turned into an overnight sensation.