10. Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Savion Glover (1999)
This “celebration of soul, salsa and swing” proved to be a halftime show that was nothing less than a high-energy party. We start with a classic E.T. reference, which leads to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy getting everyone hyped by just playing the sax. I loved seeing Stevie Wonder, who of course never fails to provide amazing vocals and catchy music, cruise onto the field.
9. Madonna, LMFAO, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green and Andy Lewis, featuring drumlines from Avon High School, Center Grove High School, Fishers High School and Franklin Central High School, as well as Southern University Dancing Dolls and a 200-person choir (2012)
This extensive list of performances provided a crossover that I didn’t know I needed. Madonna alone, of course, puts on a great theatrical performance, starting with her entrance being carried on a throne singing “Vogue” like some golden goddess. Seeing LMFAO on a big stage like that was honestly comical and a great component of this show. I would have liked more time for Nicki Minaj to shine, but there may have just been too much star power to fit into one halftime. Nonetheless, the drumlines and choir did stand out for this show, even though they weren’t part of the celebrity lineup.
8. Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child (2013)
Beyoncé’s performance was hype from the start, with people running onto the field, flames, broadcaster narration, an outline in lights of Bey herself and strobe lights. Her setlist was pretty long, which was great because she has so many hits. In addition to her amazing vocals, she takes on her notorious persona with constant, high-energy dance moves, powerful strides and dramatic expressions. I loved that they brought on Destiny’s Child, who had some awesome entrances. However, there was something weird about the mics here, and a bit of a disconnected feeling among the three of them.
7. Maroon 5, featuring Travis Scott, Big Boi and Georgia State University Marching Band (2019)
Adam Levine is a great person to watch perform, as he has a ton of hits to sing along to, and he is actually a skilled singer. Here, we have the classic Spongebob/Travis Scott crossover, which just makes me wonder — who gave him the right? However, watching Adam Levine and Travis Scott bop together was extremely entertaining. The same dynamic arises when Big Boi comes on, and Adam Levine becomes a backup singer, yet still looks genuinely happy and maybe in love with Big Boi. Overall, Adam Levine had an infectious energy and did a great job engaging with the audience.
6. Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Simpson (2004)
This set starts with a great introduction from the Spirit of Houston and Ocean of Soul marching bands in a true halftime show fashion, making way for what I found to be one of the most comically entertaining performances. First off, there’s the “Diddy” and “Nelly” version of “Mickey,” then Kid Rock shows up and I actually thought there might be a WWE match about to break out. Finally, we have Justin Timberlake GRINDING on Janet Jackson and removing part of her shirt at the end. There was truly something for everyone in this multi-genre show.
5. Katy Perry, featuring Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott and the Arizona State University Marching Band (2015)
First off, Katy Perry’s entrance was iconic, as she rides in on a huge robotic tiger, with over-the-top but tasteful digital production adding to her fire-themed performance. Vocals were top-notch from all three singers. Missy Elliott brought such hype from her talent and classic song lineup, and the original baby shark makes a cameo — what’s not to love? Katy Perry literally turns into a shooting star, and of course, the show ends with fireworks.
4. Aerosmith and *NSYNC, featuring Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly (2001)
This show combined such distinct types of music, but it somehow made it so much more iconic because of that. There is this interesting back and forth between *NSYNC and Aerosmith that takes time getting used to but is undeniably entertaining. To really add to this trip, Britney Spears struts in during “Walk This Way” and sings alongside a rap by Nelly. Mary J. Blige adds some heat to the song, which just makes us all want to go back to 2001.
3. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, featuring Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Emme Muñiz (2020)
From the start of this show, you know it’s going to be high energy and filled with dancing, starting with Shakira — not only do her hips not lie, but they simply do not stop. J. Lo coming in on the pole, singing “Jenny from the Block,” actually gave me chills. Overall, the production was just enough to keep the attention on the songs and dancing, which did a great job of honoring the Latino community.
2. Lady Gaga (2017)
This one-woman show features Lady Gaga loving America and diving into NRG Stadium while becoming one with the star-themed production. The classic hyped-up Gaga hits, fire, colorful lights and dancing truly make this an iconic, high-production show. Not only this, but Lady Gaga is able to go from floating in the air to playing piano and singing to “Million Reasons” — can someone say versatility? She even gives a shoutout to her mom and dad, reminding us how she is human despite defying laws of physics, majestic costume changes and being one of the most talented singers of our generation.
1. Coldplay, featuring Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Gustavo Dudamel, University of California Marching Band and Youth Orchestra L.A. (2016)
This concert, featured in daylight, didn’t have the same extravagant digital effects as others did but was genuine and filled with amazing talent. The lead singer of Coldplay, Chris Martin, had such positive vibes, engaging with the camera and the audience, while beautiful instrumentals flooded the colorful stadium filled with performances. There was a classic Bruno Mars outfit and dance, followed by a powerful Beyoncé/marching band entrance to “Formation.” The references to past halftime artists made the show even more emotional and powerful, which ended perfectly with the words “Believe in Love” written in the crowd.