On Tuesday (October 16), after a day of speculation, [artist id=”1236911″]Beyoncé[/artist]’s reps confirmed that she would, in fact, be performing at halftime of Super Bowl XLVII , adding another impressive accomplishment to her resume and putting her among the ranks of the biggest stars in the world.
Because, make no mistake about it, the Super Bowl halftime show is a very big gig indeed, one usually reserved for the best and brightest (and, uh, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy). Last year’s performance was headlined by Madonna , who certainly gave it her all, but was ultimately upstaged by M.I.A.’s middle finger . We’re willing to bet that B won’t suffer the same fate, but will her performance join the ranks of the all-time greats? We’ll just have to wait and see … and just in case you needed a refresher course, here’s a look at some of the biggest — and best — Super Bowl performances of all-time.
Whitney Houston, Super Bowl XXV: She actually didn’t perform at halftime … rather, she took center stage before kickoff, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and essentially setting the bar against which all other national anthem performances will forever be measured. Powerful, passionate and featuring one epic final vocal run, it’s one of the finest musical moments at any sporting event, taking its rightful place alongside Marvin Gaye’s stirring rendition of the anthem before the 1983 NBA All-Star Game.
Michael Jackson, Super Bowl XXVII: It began with the late, great King of Pop magically leaping from the Rose Bowl scoreboards to his stage on the 50-yard line, featured a staggering 3,000 dancers, some killer choreography (the Moonwalk!) and a career-spanning medley of Jackson’s hits (everything from “Billie Jean” to “Black or White”). And as if MJ’s performance wasn’t testament to his superstardom, how about the 90-second standing ovation he received before ever singing a word? That moment may never be replicated again.
Diana Ross, Super Bowl XXX: The dynamic Diana stole the show in 1996 with a classy, brassy performance that featured nearly as many of her biggest hits as it did costume changes. Her voice was in prime form, powerful enough to outshine a full gospel choir, an army of tuxedo-clad dancers and, of course, end-zone pyrotechnics. But it was her exit — lifted from the stage via helicopter, while blowing kisses as the chorus of “Take Me Higher” blasted through the stadium — that truly put this one over the top.
Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah and the Temptations, Super Bowl XXXII: As a rule, Super Bowl performances featuring multiple artists are usually a clusterfrick, but this one — officially billed as the NFL’s tribute to Motown’s 40th anniversary — delivered the goods. The Temptations kicked things off, then Robinson tore through a medley of his hits. Latifah killed it with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and Boyz II Men did “Motown Philly.” Then the entire cast re-assembled for a finale of “Dancing in the Streets.”
U2, Super Bowl XXXVI: In quite possibly the greatest halftime performance of all time, U2 took the stage at the first Super Bowl since the 9/11 attacks, before an audience of millions still reeling and recovering. And, in typical form, Bono and company didn’t shrink from the spotlight. Though there were more than a few highlights, their solemn, spiritual performance of “Where the Streets Have No Name” — which saw the names of all the victims of 9/11 projected behind them — was not only the most memorable of the night, it’s without a doubt the most memorable (and chill-inducing) in Super Bowl history. And then, to top it all off, Bono pulled back his jacket to reveal an American flag. Game over.
Prince, Super Bowl XLI: Not even a near-constant downpour could dampen this 2007 performance from the Purple One, who stalked across a custom “symbol” stage (while wearing a kerchief tied around his head), wailed on approximately 46 guitar solos, begged the audience to “take my picture,” out-watted the famed FAMU marching band, covered the Foo Fighters and even managed to freak out network censors by casting a lengthy (and quite phallic) shadow from behind a piece of fabric. So, you know, it was just your average Prince show. Oh, and then he did “Purple Rain” in the rain. Meta.
Did we miss an all-time great Super Bowl performance? Let us know in the comments below!