The Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows (PHOTOS)

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Are you ready for some footbaaall?! We break down our favorite Super Bowl halftime shows in recent memory.

Super Bowl Halftime Performers: Pop superstar Janet Jackson—and surprise guest Justin Timberlake—stole the show at Super Bowl XXXVIII. The duo created controversy when a piece of Jackson's outfit, which was designed for Timberlake to tear off at the end of the song, revealed a bit more of Jackson's body than was originally planned.

Janet Jackson—and surprise guest Justin Timberlake—stole the show at Super Bowl XXXVIII. The duo created controversy when a piece of Jackson’s outfit, which was designed for Timberlake to tear off at the end of the song, revealed a bit more of Jackson’s body than was originally planned.

On February 4th the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots will go head to head at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis and its halftime entertainer will be none other than Justin Timberlake — yeah, the same JT who, along with his “accomplice,” Miss Janet, Miss Jackson If-You’re-Nasty, made the FCC reel with the latter’s infamous accidental wardrobe malfunction in 2004.

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Asked recently if he had planned on having any controversial slips in his upcoming performance, JT replied: “It’s just one of those things where you go, like, ‘Yeah, what do you want me to say?’ We’re not going to do that again.”

Timberlake is the first artist to have scored a third halftime performance in Super Bowl history, and although he claims there won’t be any untoward body parts exposed, the jury’s out on whether he’ll get political, especially considering his latest music video touched on racism and the #MeToo Movement. What we do know is he’s a smart marketer; his new album, Man of the Woods, drops two days before the big game. 

With that said, in anticipation of all the color and fanfare JT will bring to his halftime show, we’ve chosen a handful of our favorite performers of Super Bowl pasts. 

Beyoncé – Super Bowl XLVII (2013)

Beyonce Super Bowl Halftime Show Photo

Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Bey was serioulsy bey-licious for us babe(!) at Super Bowl XLVII. Coming right off the controversy of lip-synching the national anthem at President Obama’s inauguration, Beyoncé redeemed herself big time at the halftime show — and waxed nostalgic with Destiny’s Child to boot.

The performance was epic, with a full display of female power, black leather, fiery dancing, and digital holograms of the star bumping and grinding.

Bruno Mars & Red Hot Chili Peppers – Super Bowl XLVIII (2014)

Bruno Mars Red Hot Chili Peppers Super Bowl 2014 Photo

Bruno Mars and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

If there ever was a fresh-faced showman that brought pop, funk and soul to the stage, it’d be Bruno Mars all the way. The energetic star gave us the highest of highs during Super Bowl XLVIII starting with his slammin’ drum solo and his big band back up… (and if you’re counting it, his bangs). If things couldn’t get any more hyped, the Cali cool rock ‘n’ roll of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, led by the habitually shirtless Anthony Kiedis and the bangin’ guitarist Flea, took the show to a new level of pandemonium.  

U2 – Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)

U2 Super Bowl Halftime 2002 Photo

Bono, lead singer of U2, shows an American flag lining in his jacket during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVI in the Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 3, 2002.

Perhaps one of the most uplifting yet bittersweet halftime shows in recent memory was U2’s performance of “Where Streets Have No Name,” at Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. With the terrorist attacks of 9/11 painfully fresh on the minds and hearts of Americans, U2 brought some much needed comfort to the soul with their music, set poignantly with a scrolling backdrop of the names of those who died that fateful day. And to top it off, Bono ended his performance by pulling open his jacket to reveal America’s patriotic red, white, and blue.  

Katy Perry – Super Bowl XLIX (2015)

Katy Perry Super Bowl Halftime 2015 Photo

Katy Perry performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.

If you asked anyone what they most remember of Katy Perry’s performance at Super Bowl XLIX, you’d probably hear “the dancing sharks, the dancing sharks!” Indeed, those fuzzy blue percolaters caused a wave of excitement on Twitter. But let’s not forget all of the other amazing sights and sounds of Perry’s act. Between her multitude of wardrobe changes, the 26-foot-long tiger puppet, her tiny starstruck platform that flew her across the field, and the kickass guest artists Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott, there was a lot to applaud — including the fact she didn’t throw shade at Taylor Swift, which many gossip mags had secretly hoped for.

Prince – Super Bowl XLI (2007)

Prince Super Bowl 2007 Photo

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.

Our choice for the most soul-stirring, goose pimply Super Bowl halftime performance of all time? Prince, of course. Despite showing off his purple-unpronounceable-symbol-guitar in a phallic way, it was the passionate way Prince played his instrument — as he rocked through classics like “1999” and “Let’s Go Crazy” — that really took the fans by storm. Speaking of storms, when rain poured down during Prince’s performance of “Purple Rain,” it seemed as if the music and Super Bowl gods had planned the whole dang amazing moment. Yeah, we were in tears. 

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