Photos: What’s the best Super Bowl halftime show?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – FEBRUARY 04: Prince performs during the “Pepsi Halftime Show” at Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s every musician’s dream: Performing front and center at the Super Bowl halftime show.

It’s 12 minutes on the world’s biggest stage at the world’s biggest game. Before Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar take the stage on Super Bowl Sunday, here’s a look back at 10 of the best halftime performances of all time:

10. Madonna feat. Niki Minaj, M.I.A., CeeLo Green and LMFAO (2012)
Super Bowl XLVI, Indianapolis, Indiana

With an entrance fitting for the queen of pop music, Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl performance was one for the books.  Madonna used the occasion to kick off her MDNA tour, and the star managed to rouse the crowd with new songs and old favorites alike, with a spectacular rendition of “Vogue” and “Like a Prayer.” This performance didn’t come without controversy, however, as singer M.I.A. gave the middle finger while on camera. She settled with the NFL, but details of the settlement were never revealed.

9. Bruno Mars feat. Red Hot Chili Peppers (2014)
Super Bowl XLVIII, East Rutherford New Jersey

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – FEBRUARY 02: Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers performB during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Channeling the legendary James Brown, along with some moves that seemed like an homage to Michael Jackson, Mars’ performance was one of the best in recent years. The only sore spot was that the Red Hot Chili Peppers clearly weren’t playing live when it was their turn on stage, but it’s not like they were the first band to deliver a pre-recorded performance at the big game.

8. Coldplay feat. Beyonce and Bruno Mars (2016) 
Super Bowl L, Santa Clara, California

Let’s be honest: Did anyone even remember that Coldplay was the headliner for this show? In all seriousness though, when Mars took the stage with crowd pleaser “Uptown Funk,” the show got interesting. Beyonce emerged from the sideline, leading her dancers through “Formation” before joining Mars onstage for a dance-off set to a mashup of “Uptown Funk” and “Crazy in Love.” The performance also featured a tribute to past halftime shows.

7. Katy Perry feat. Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot (2015)
Super Bowl XLIX, Glendale, Arizona

GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01: Singer Katy Perry performs with dancers during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Sure, Left Shark and Missy Elliot stole the show, but Katy Perry’s 2015 halftime performance was a primer in how to make a performance wonderfully weird. Plus, who can forget the moment Perry closed out her show soaring through the stadium on a shooting star platform?

6. Lady Gaga (2017)
Super Bowl LI, Houston, Texas

A half-time show that started on the roof and ended with a mic drop? Oh yeah, you know it’s gotta be good. The superstar literally went “over the top” when she literally jumped off the roof of NRG Stadium to start the show. She then progressed through all her hits, with the show getting bigger and bigger.  And unlike several of the past Super Bowl shows, she didn’t need a surprise cameo.

Mic drop.

5. Aerosmith, *NSYNC and Britney Spears (2001)
Super Bowl XXXVII, Tampa, Florida

384856 27: ”NSYNC, Aerosmith and Britney Spears all perform during the halftime show for Super Bowl XXXV January 28, 2001 at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo byDoug Pensinger/ALLSPORT)

This halftime show was packed with more star power than any other halftime show in Super Bowl history. The show opened with *NSYNC’s inescapable hit, “Bye, Bye, Bye,” and the boy band traded songs with Steven Tyler and company until they were joined on stage by Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly for a star-studded rendition of “Walk This Way.”

4. Prince (2007)
Super Bowl XLI, Miami Gardens, Florida

Prince playing “Purple Rain” in the middle of a downpour? Enough said.

3. U2 (2002)
Super Bowl XXXVI, New Orleans, Louisiana

400517 11: Music group U2 performs during halftime of Super Bowl XXXVI February 3, 2002 at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA. Super Bowl XXXVI is being played by the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Some bands are perfect for stadium concerts, and U2 is among the. The Irish rockers earned their place in Super Bowl halftime show fame with their performance honoring the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. As they played “Where the Streets Have No Name,” the names of those who died that tragic day scrolled on a screen behind them, making it one of the most powerful moments in Super Bowl halftime history. (Warning: You’ll need some tissues to get through this one.)

2. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (2004) 
Super Bowl XXXVIII Houston, Texas

HOUSTON, UNITED STATES: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake perform at half-time at Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium, 01 February 2004 in Houston, TX. AFP PHOTO Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)

You can’t talk about Super Bowl halftime shows without talking about the one that made the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” part of the national lexicon. While most people only remember that infamous moment, the entire show was entertaining. Jackson was in the middle of a comeback, and Timberlake was at the beginning of his solo career, making the awkward ending all the more unfortunate.

1. Michael Jackson (1993)
Super Bowl XXVII, Pasadena, California

This was the performance that changed Super Bowl halftime shows forever. Jackson’s spectacular entrance used body doubles to create the illusion of teleporting around the stadium on top of the Jumbotrons before the King of Pop himself jumped from the center of the stage. The audience waited with baited breath as Jackson held still for more than a minute and a half before opening the show with “Jam,” and continuing on with crowd favorite “Billie Jean.” Jackson closed out his performance by dedicating “Heal the World” to children around the globe.


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