There may be no bigger gig in all of showbiz. With more than 100 million pairs of eyeballs glued to TV sets across the planet, the Super Bowl halftime show is reserved for the biggest of the big.
This year the honors go to Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who, by Super Bowl standards are practically whippersnappers. You see, for the most part, the NFL has tapped big name classic rockers to entertain the masses, with the occasional detour into music from the modern era. And, in 1995, whatever this was.
We have no idea what Bruno and the boys have in store for us on Sunday, so in the meantime we’ll break down the past decade of halftimes show, from craziest to snooziest. (We would have done a top 10, but we figured we should justexcuse ourselves from commenting on the 2004 show.
Here they are, from the biggest fumble to 31-point blow-out:
9. Black Eyed Peas Soup
The energy was there, the costumes were predictably bananas and BEP had cameos from Slash and Usher for their “Tron: Legacy”-themed show at Cowboys Stadium in 2011 . They played the hits (“I Gotta Feeling,” “Boom Boom Pow,” “Let’s Get It Started”), along with a beat-blasted cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” but between will.i. am’s plastic hair, the light-up Swarovski shoulder pads and neon-clad extras the whole thing was just too much. And not in the right way.
8. Paul McCartney Gets Back
Yes, he’s a rock legend and former Beatle. But it was kind of hard to get pumped up in 2005 for Sir Paul’s halftime meander through “Drive My Car,” “Get Back,” “Live and Let Die” and “Hey Jude.” The latter is one of the greatest songs of all time, but not exactly the adrenalin-pumper you want to get psyched for the second half.
7. Rolling Stones Start It Up
With the giant lips-shaped stage, Mick Jagger’s hip-swiveling shimmy through opener “Start Me Up” and the crowd of fans hiding under the tongue tarp in the middle of the set, the Stones delivered just what you’d expect, even if it was a bit predictable.
6. Who Are You?
The classic rock parade continued with Hall of Fame icons the Who in 2011. Playing in the round, they opened with “Pinball Wizard,” crashed through “Baba O’Riley,” “Who Are You” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” on a giant stage that kept the audience at a distance. They made up for it with a dazzling laser and lights show and plenty of pyro.
5.Tom Petty Brings All-American Spirit
What’s more American pie than Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers? Sure, they’re not going to pack the stage with sexy dancers, fancy sets or costumes, but the classic rockers got the crowd in Arizona on their feet with guitar-rocking versions of “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin'” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”
4. The Boss
“Put the chicken fingers down!” commanded Bruce Springsteen before he and the E Street Band served up 12 minutes of righteous rock. Our favorite part was the bit where the Boss slid across the stage on his knees and spiked his crotch on one of the cameras during “10th Avenue Freeze Out.”
3. Prince Makes It Rain
Yeah, it poured during the Purple One’s gig in 2007, but between the highly phallic shadows he cast, the list of amazing covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival (“Proud Mary”), Bob Dylan (“All Along The Watchtower”) and the Foo Fighters (“Best Of You”) and hits like “Let’s Go Crazy,” Minneapolis’ own killed it. Add in a brain-melting performance of “Purple Rain” and you’ll know why he made many critics’ best-ever lists.
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2. Madonna Makes Headlines With M.I.A., Nicki Minaj
Roman soldiers, Cirque du Soleil dancers, marching bands and cheerleaders, oh my! Madonna knows spectacle and her Super Bowl XLVI show started with her entering Lucas Oil Stadium like Cleopatra, included an acrobatic run through “Vogue,” flashing bleachers for “Music,” an LMFAO-assisted remix of “Party Rock Anthem” and a three-song greatest hits set with Cee Lo Green. But it was the provocative take on “Give Me All Your Luvin” with a bird-flipping M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj that made headlines. You know, Madonna stuff.
1. Beyoncé Ruled The World
If you’re going to stand out at halftime, you need to go big. And nobody went bigger than Queen Bey did last year. Hell, she hit it so hard at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans that the lights went out ! Not only did she look fierce and crush hits like “Crazy In Love,” at the Blackout Bowl, but she reunited Destiny’s Child, which basically shut things down harder than the Baltimore Ravens defense.