Skip to main content

5 best halftime shows in Super Bowl history

Check out the five best halftime shows in Super Bowl history, featuring Madonna all the way to Prince in incredible music performances.

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals

The NFL holds the Super Bowl each February and is widely recognized as the biggest sporting event of the year. However, it is also generally known for the halftime show which features one of the biggest concerts as well.

With Super Bowl LVII on the horizon, let’s dive into the five best halftime shows in Super Bowl history.

Related: Super Bowl LVII highlights and analysis

5. Madonna – Super Bowl XLVI (2012)

NFL: Super Bowl XLVI-Halftime Show
Feb 5, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Recording artist Madonna performs during the halftime show for Super Bowl XLVI between the New York Giants and New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Madonna entered the Super Bowl halftime show on a golden throne and from the start, you knew it was about to be a classic. Well, the entire show lived up to the hype as she started with “Vogue,” which is one of her fan favorites.

She was then joined by LMFAO for “Party Rock Anthem” and ”Sexy And I Know It.” This show was full of classic hits and also featured Nikki Minaj, M.I.A., and Cee Lo Green. However, it does hold some controversy after M.I.A.’s obscene gesture.

Outside of that incident, it was still a fun atmosphere that lived up to the expectations going into the event. It is the perfect way to start this list of the best Super Bowl halftime shows in its history.

Related: NFL History – All Super Bowl MVPs

4. Dr. Dre – Super Bowl LVI (2022)

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals
Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Recording artists from left Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg perform during the halftime show for Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Dr. Dre and other notable stars got an opportunity to perform at a Super Bowl together and it did not disappoint. Joined by Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem, it was an electric atmosphere.

50 Cent was even a surprise guest and performed “In Da Club” while upside down. Snoop Dog performed “California Love” with Dr. Dre while Kendrick Lamar sang his classic “Alright.” Who can forget Eminem’s performance of “Slim Shady?”

This was an incredible showing for hip-hop and opens more doors going forward. Plus, it was the first Super Bowl halftime show to ever win an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live).

Related: Why the Kansas City Chiefs will win Super Bowl LVII

3. Beyonce – Super Bowl XLVII (2013)

NFL: Super Bowl XLVII-Halftime Show
Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Recording artist Beyonce performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Beyonce has performed in two Super Bowls on two occasions in 2013 and 2016; however, her first performance is one that’s widely recognized as a solo with special appearances. The 2016 show featured Coldplay and Bruno Mars.

In 2013, Beyonce performed songs such as “Love on Top” and “Crazy in Love” after her silhouette was set on fire before emerging from a cloud of smoke. Then, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, members of Destiny Child took the stage.

The trio of performers sang “Bootylicious,” “Single Ladies,” and “Independent Women.” It still remains one of the best halftime shows as Beyonce is among the greatest of her time.

Related: Super Bowl winners – Most wins, Lombardi Trophy history

2. U2 – Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)

Entertainment: U2
Feb. 27, 2002; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Stevie Wonder presented the Record of the year Grammy to U2, Bono, the edge and Adam Clayton at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY NETWORK

U2 was tasked with the first Super Bowl halftime show since the tragedy of September 11, 2001, only five months prior and they did an incredible job. Performing on the heart-shaped stage, it was an emotional performance for everyone.

The halftime show started off with “Beautiful Day” and it only got better from that point. U2 played “MLK” while the names of those who were lost scrolled on a screen and led to “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

The tribute to 9/11 was a very touching scene as Bono opened his jacket and showed off the American flag. It was a very emotional halftime performance that ranks as one of the best in the event’s history behind one in particular.

1. Prince – Super Bowl XLI (2007)

NFL: Super Bowl XLI: Indianapolis Colts vs Chicago Bears
Feb 4, 2007; Miami, FL, USA; FILE PHOTO: Recording artist Prince performs at halftime during Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears at Dolphin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Network

Prince’s performance during Super Bowl XLI is widely known as the best halftime performance in history. To add to the atmosphere, the iconic performer pushed through a rain and wind storm which featured downpours.

During the halftime show, Prince performed mashup songs such as “All Along the Watchtower,” “We Will Rock You,” and “Best of You” along with his own. However, the best was saved for last that year.

Prince played “Purple Rain” which featured an incredible solo on the guitar while pushing through the rain, as mentioned above. There have been many fantastic halftime shows but Prince holds the title for the best ever.