The Weeknd will play the Super Bowl LV halftime show and he’ll have great performances from the past to live up to.
Sometimes the Super Bowl halftime show is wilder than the actual game. From wardrobe malfunctions and uncoordinated dancers disguised as sharks to rooftop-jumping superstars and surprise celebrity appearances, a lot can fall into the short break between halves. In a remarkable spectacle, even Mother Nature added a fitting ambiance for the performer.
The Weeknd is headlining this year in Tampa Bay for the smallest in-person crowd in gaming history – just 22,000 fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s a look at some of the most memorable halftime shows in Super Bowl history.
Michael Jackson changes halftime forever
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We have to thank the King of Pop for making halftime shows the extravagant productions that we expect today. During his 1993 performance at the Super Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Michael Jackson immediately caught the audience’s attention by standing completely still in silence on stage for almost two minutes. He then performed a mashup of his hits, including “Billie Jean,” and ended the show with “Heal the World” alongside hundreds of kids who rushed onto the stage.
Prince sings “Purple Rain” in a rain storm
As the rain fell on Miami Stadium in 2007, Prince took over the stage, dancing on the smooth surface and playing four different electric guitars. Before the show, he reportedly asked the production team if they could ‘make it rain harder’. Prince not only performed his beloved hits – including “Purple Rain” – but also performed covers of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, a mix of “All Along the Watchtower” of Bob Dylan and Foo “Best of you” fighters.
Janet Jackson’s ‘Wardrobe Dysfunction’
It has become the most infamous halftime show of all time.
We all know the story: 2004. Houston, Texas. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. An exposed breast. 144 million viewers. Lots of controversy. Fourteen years later, Timberlake returned to helm the Super Bowl LII halftime show, but without Jackson.
Fifteen years later, fans wanted to know why Maroon 5’s Adam Levine was allowed to run with his shirt on during the group’s Super Bowl LIII halftime performance.
The shark on the left steals the show from Katy Perry
As Katy Perry performed her hit song “Teenage Dream” on the Super Bowl stage in 2015, she was joined by two dancing sharks.
The shark on the right clearly knew all the dance moves. The shark on the left… not so much. “Left shark,” as it was called in viral memes online, waved its fins and seemed to forget he was dancing next to a pop star and being watched by millions of people around the world. It turns out that the seemingly random moves were all planned. One of Perry’s dancers, Bryan Gaw, eventually confessed to being a left shark.
He told NPR in 2018 that he was playing a character – “I’m wearing a 7ft blue shark costume. There is nothing cool about it. So he decided to be a little awkward, and his movements turned out to be extra-awkward on the huge stage.
Beyoncé and Bruno Mars crush Coldplay performance
For Super Bowl 50, there had to be an epic halftime.
It was supposed to be Coldplay’s show. But then Beyoncé and Bruno Mars arrived. Bruno Mars kicked off his performance at the 2016 Super Bowl in Santa Clara, California with his hit “Uptown Funk”. Then Beyoncé walked into the stadium with an entourage of backup dancers dressed in black and gold, chanting “Formation”. Beyoncé and her team had a dance party with Bruno Mars, and if you watch the video, it’s clear that Queen Bey won.
Lady Gaga jumps from the roof
After performing a medley of “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land” with hundreds of drones creating an American flag behind her, Lady Gaga appeared to jump off the roof of NRG Stadium in Houston at Super Bowl LI. She then floated into the stadium and started singing “Poker Face”. The overall performance was impressive, but it didn’t really jump off the roof. The debut segment with the drones was pre-recorded, and during filming she was lowered from the roof by harnesses.
JLo, Shakira bring the heat
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira brought some serious female power to the Super Bowl halftime show. The women came with the heat performing some of their biggest hit songs.
Shakira kicked off the festivities in a red sequin outfit, singing a mix of her best songs including “She Wolf”, “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie”. She was joined by Bad Bunny for a cover of “I Like It” by Cardi B.
Lopez followed up with a rendition of his classic “Jenny From The Block” before embarking on a mix that included “Ain’t It Funny”, “Waiting for Tonight” and “On the Floor”. J Balvin has joined the 50-year-old for a performance of “Mi Gente”. The singer had two stunning outfits, one in black leather and one in pearl silver. Lopez also showed the pole dance moves she learned for her role in the movie “Hustlers”.
Lopez’s daughter, Emme, made a surprise appearance, girding a rendition of “Let’s Get Loud” with her mother.
The show was a little too caliente for some. The FCC has received over 1,300 complaints, mostly claiming the show was too sexy.