The Super Bowl is quite easily the biggest show on earth. The culmination of the NFL’s American Football season breaks viewing records on an annual basis and a staggering 111 million viewers tuned in to 2016’s matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.
The sports game has become a lucrative money making opportunity for all parties involved, with the going rate of a 30-second advertising spot currently at an eye-watering $5 million. And, sandwiched between the two halves of football and the barrage of adverts, lies the most-watched gig in the universe.
In the early ’90s, the half-time performance were characterised by lame marching band, but in more recent years have come to feature bonafide pop superstars. Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and Prince are just a few of the gigantic names to have performed at the show. In a continuation of the trend, Lady Gaga will follow in their footsteps this year. Hard to think of a bigger act in 2017 eh?
Beyoncé’s 2013 Super Bowl performance has been hailed as one of the best half-time shows ever, but the gigs haven’t always proved successful. Some are so bizarre, so dreadful, you wonder who gave these ideas the thumbs-up. Here are a few of the most head scratching, WTF performances so far.
1992: Gloria Estefan with Olympic Figure skaters
How would you pay tribute to the Winter Olympic participants of 1992? That’s right, with giant inflatable snowmen, kids non-ironically mimicking the fashion styles of MC Hammer and Gloria Estefan crooning in the background. It will perhaps go down as the embodiment of the ’90s, but the response at the time was so poor that the NFL were forced to start booking big-name acts for the show. Who followed this disaster in 1993? Michael Jackson. So really we’re forever in debt to the cheesiness of this one.
1995: Patti Labelle, Tony Bennett and Indiana Jones
The Super Bowl is essentially one big advert, but the 1995 half-time show was an actual advert. Disney wanted to plug its new theme park ride Indiana Jones and The Temple Of The Forbidden Eye, which had recently opened at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, and so created this baffling combination of dancing, fighting and tackiness with help from Patti LaBelle and Tony Bennett.
2000: Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias and Toni Braxton
Disney managed to blag another shot at the halftime show, this time opting for millennial celebration that featured Phil Collins, Enrique Iglesias, Christina Aguilera and an 80-piece orchestra. None of it really fits coherently, instead feeling like four rubbish shows rolled into one giant shit-show.
2001: Aerosmith, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly
The supergroup no-one wanted! Dubbed The Kings of Rock and Pop, this show had Britney Spears, *NYSNC, Mary J. Blige and Nelly, who pranced along to Aerosmith’s ‘Walk This Way’. It has Britney Spears at her commercial peak though, which is probably the only highlight of this half-baked performance.
2011: Black Eyed Peas & Slash
“Let’s get Will.I.Am to wobble in auto-tune for 15 excruciating minutes, then finish with Fergie murdering ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. Fuck it, let’s get Slash on guitar too.” A cringe-inducer from start to finish, this includes Slash rising from the stage on an illuminated platform and takes the crown for the weirdest moment at the worst half-time show ever.
2015: Katy Perry
This wasn’t bad per se, but it was pretty weird. Katy Perry brought her brand of bubblegum-pop to the Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco for what was actually and admirably ambitious show. Sadly one her backing dancers, dressed as a shark, just couldn’t keep in time and became a laughing stock on social media. And so the hashtag #leftshark was born, and duly went down in meme history.
We’ll never forget you, Left Shark.