Sure, the Super Bowl is great, but the halftime show is what makes the night — well, makes or breaks it for the fans that aren’t exactly watching for the football. (Unless you’re a Patriots or Rams fan right now… then you have your own priorities.) So, what are the most memorable Super Bowl halftime performances we’ll never forget?
From the scandals to the career-making moments and everything in between, no matter the reason, these 10 halftime show moments will forever be burned into our brains. We don’t know what exactly Super Bowl LIII will bring when Maroon 5 headlines Sunday, but we do know the band is following in some very prestigious footsteps.
Here are the Super Bowl performances that have gone down in history.
1. Beyoncé steals the show
Sure, Coldplay was the main act in 2016, but Beyoncé gave the most memorable performance as she debuted “Formation.”
2. Beyoncé brings along Destiny’s Child
Yes, Beyoncé is on this list twice. In the immortal words of Destiny’s Child: “Can you handle this? I don’t think you can handle this!” The world couldn’t handle it when Beyoncé reunited with fellow Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams when she headlined in 2013.
3. Left Shark
Oh, Left Shark, what would 2015 have become without you? Let me tell you, it would have been a lot emptier without those epic GIFs. If you somehow slept through that year, during Katy Perry’s halftime performance, Left Shark, one of two backup dancers dressed as a shark (the one on the left, in case you were somehow wondering), seemingly went rogue, showing off his own dance moves. And the internet loved every minute of it.
4. Diana Ross’ big exit
As if Diana Ross’ halftime show wasn’t already memorable for her performance, she ended the show by announcing, “Oh, my — here comes my ride!” right in the middle of her song. And then promptly flew away in a helicopter. Yas, queen!
5. “Walk This Way”
Some called it a mess; other called it brilliant. Whatever it was, Aerosmith, Britney Spears, NSYNC, Mary J. Blige and Nelly put on a memorable show in 2001. All of them came onstage to help Aerosmith sing “Walk This Way.” Spears wore an arm sock. JC Chasez had a baby goatee. Justin Timberlake made fire explode from his hands. Oh, and the men of the movie DodgeBall, specifically Ben Stiller, helped them open the act. Mic drop…?
6. A tribute to the 9/11 victims
In 2002, U2 recognized the state of the world following 9/11 and tailored their Super Bowl halftime show accordingly. They honored the victims and brought the nation even closer together. It’s regarded as one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows in history.
7. Prince, obviously
In 2007, it was pouring rain at the Super Bowl. No better setting for “Purple Rain” could have been possible, and Prince didn’t even flinch at performing in the rain. The show must go on, and Prince delivered.
8. Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”
Obviously, this list wouldn’t be complete without the most infamous Super Bowl halftime show in history. In 2004, Janet Jackson was, er, exposed when Timberlake seemingly pulled off the cup of her outfit, causing a scandal so large it still lives on today.
9. Bruce Springsteen brings down the house
Leave it to the sweet sounds of Springsteen to make the audience weep with a nostalgic medley of some of his most unforgettable hits. Man, The Boss knows how to put on a show. Glory days, indeed.
10. Lady Gaga takes a flying leap
Gaga is known for outrageous performances, but she shocked pretty much all of America in 2017 by opening the show with a jump (supported by wires, of course) that landed her on the halftime stage. What a way for a pop icon to kick things off.