Where does The Weeknd rank among these iconic performances?
By Nate Millado
Super Bowl LV is finally here, and we're so excited, we can't feel our face! The Weeknd headlines the Halftime Show and joins a pantheon of performers who've absolutely owned the world's biggest stage. What does the Canadian crooner have up his sleeve? The Weeknd threw in $7 million of his own moneyto "make this halftime show be what he envisioned," so prepare to be entertained! Get hyped for halftime with these 10 iconic performances from Super Bowls past.
Watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs square off—along with The Weeknd's Halftime Show—live this Sunday!
Updated with The Weeknd's Super Bowl Halftime Show!
The Weeknd (Super Bowl LV)
The Weeknd's Super Bowl Halftime Show was both brooding and buoyant, utilizing all of Raymond James Stadium (as he promised). The Artist Known As Abel Tesfaye—outside of his red-sequined jacket—bust out all the stops for his 13-minute hit parade: A lavish Vegas show set, an ominous zombie choir, a string section, velvety (live) vocals. The charismatic R&B and pop star mugged for the cam during a deliberately disorienting rendition of "Can't Feel My Face" inside a brightly lit labyrinth.
The highlight: The Weekend finally taking to the field, amid hundreds of bandage-faced doppelgängers, for the euphoric "Blinding Lights."
Shakira & Jennifer Lopez (Super Bowl LIV)
The Weeknd has some tough shoes to follow—two pairs of 'em, actually. Shakira and Jennifer Lopez (along with special guests J Balvin and Bad Bunny) turned Super Bowl LIV into one giant dance party, with Latin culture on full display.
Shakira's truth-telling hips shimmied to hits "She Wolf," "Whenever, Wherever," and "Hips Don't Lie;" the Colombian superstar showcased her musicality, as well, shredding a guitar and banging on drums. J-Lo brought the Bronx to Miami ("Jenny From the Block"), danced her booty off to "Get Right", and bust out her Hustler moves—and core strength—on "Waiting for Tonight." Daughter Emme sang mom's "Let's Get Loud"—as J Lo showed off her Puerto Rican pride in a red, white, and blue feather coat—which segued into a show-stopping finale.
Madonna (Super Bowl XLVI)
Madonna sure knows how to make an entrance! Clad in glittery, golden garb, the Imperial Girl's winged chariot was dragged to midfield by 50 musclebound gladiators. The Queen of Reinvention didn't disappoint, performing fresh takes on classics "Vogue," "Music," "Open Your Heart," and "Express Yourself," and debuting new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'."
The everything-but-the-kitchen-sink spectacle included dancers, cheerleaders, a marching band, and a gospel choir, with assists from LMFAO, Cee-Lo Green,Nicki Minaj, and M.I.A. Madge capped her high-energy set with a stirring rendition of "Like A Prayer."
Lady Gaga (Super Bowl LI)
In the span of 13 minutes, Lady Gaga gave us a "Million Reasons" why she's one of our most consummate artists. For one, her death-defying entrance: After an impassioned patriotic medley (replete with red, white, and blue drones), Gaga dove headfirst into NRG Stadium! Channeling her inner Ziggy Stardust, the pop powerhouse performed hit after hit ("Poker Face," "Telephone," "Just Dance," the all-inclusive anthem, "Born This Way") with high-energy choreo and serious pipes from behind the piano. Finally, Gaga bust out monster-mash moves for her monster hit, "Bad Romance."
Prince (Super Bowl XLI)
Prince wasn't about to let anything rain on his parade. So when a downpour threatened to derail his performance, he simply told producers: "See if you can make it rain harder." Prince gave us everything you'd expect—epic electric guitar solos, crazy choreo courtesy of the Twinz, a love symbol-shaped stage—and some elements totally unexpected (like covering Foo Fighters' "Best of You").
Accompanied by the booming band, The Marching 100, Prince absolutely slayed his hits from "1999" to "Let's Go Crazy." But it's the stormy sing-a-long of "Purple Rain"—with weather so kismet, it seemed like a special effect—that cemented Prince as the the gold standard in halftime shows.
Bruce Springsteen (Super Bowl XLIII)
Bruce Springsteen is known for his marathon concerts, but The Boss somehow bottled up the palpable energy of his four-hour shows into a 12-minute halftime performance. (The crowd-pleasing setlist included: "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," "Born to Run," "Working on a Dream," and "Glory Days.") Aside from a gospel choir and the usual firework display, there weren't many other accoutrements: just Bruce and the E Street Band. The fans at home stepped away from the guac and dropped their chicken fingers—as Bruce commanded:
The Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show averaged 112 million viewers (17 million more eyeballs than the Big Game itself).
Diana Ross (Super Bowl XXX)
If Madonna knows how to make an entrance, then Diana Rossreally knows how to make an exit. Ms. Ross bust out all the diva stops for the "Super! Super! SUPER! Bowl": pyrotechnics, hundreds of dancers, a fan blowing through her hair. Her Supreme setlist included Motown faves like "Stop In The Name Of Love," "You Keep Me Hangin' On, "Baby Love," and "You Can't Hurry Love." And as she sang "I Will Survive"/"Take Me Higher," Diana announced nonchalantly, "Oh my—here comes my ride!" as a helicopter landed midfield and her flight crew whisked her away like The Boss that she is!
U2 (Super Bowl XXXVI)
Mere months after the horrific Sept. 11 attacks, U2 delivered arguably the most meaningful halftime show. "Beautiful Day" was a cathartic anthem for a mourning nation, and "Where the Streets Have No Name" proved to be a transcendent tribute: The names of 9/11 victims projected behind the Irish rockers, and Bono revealed an American flag-lined suit jacket.
Beyoncé (Super Bowl XLVII)
Beyonce's electric Halftime Show.
Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.
Who run the world? Beyoncé! After an a cappella rendition of "Love On Top," Bey strut into her setlist in earnest, in black leather ensem, and absolutely slayed "Crazy in Love." Destiny's Child fans were treated to a mid-performance reunion with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, as the trio harmonized on a medley of "Bootylicious," "Independent Women," and "Single Ladies. Her performance was so electric that half the lights at the Superdome went out immediately after, causing a 33-minute blackout.
Coldplay feat. Beyoncé & Bruno Mars (Super Bowl 50)
With all due respect to headliners Coldplay—who entertained nonetheless with a hits-filled setlist that included "Viva La Vida," "Fix You," and "Yellow"—but it was special guests Beyoncé and Bruno Mars who stole the show with their "Uptown Funk"/"Formation" dance-off. Chris Martin rejoined Bey and Bruno to pay homage to past halftime show performers.
Katy Perry (Super Bowl XLIX)
Sure, she was nearly upstaged by Missy Elliott and Left Shark, but make no mistake—this was The Katy Perry Show. Whether she was riding a giant tiger (for opener, "Roar") or a shooting star, Katy Perry brought a jolt of FUN to the proceedings, cycling through her greatest hits ("Dark Horse," "California Girls," "Teenage Dream") with confident vocals, candy-colored sets, and four (!) costume changes. And if that wasn't excessive enough, Katy rocked out to "I Kissed A Girl" with Lenny Kravitz and lit up the sky with a "Firework" finale.
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