The 10 Worst Super Bowl Halftime Performances
Where do Madonna, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green and Company fall on the list?
Over the past few decades, the Super Bowl has become synonymous with 2 things: Really cool commercials, and really bad halftime performances.
The marketing whiz kids at the NFL offices have never been able to seem to decide whether to aim for their target audience of 28-45 year old white males, or if they want to think outside the box to try to draw in viewers from other demographics.
The halftime shows have been hit or miss on both sides of that coin since the 1980s, but it seemed like during the first part of the 2000’s the NFL was finally coming to a happy medium in attracting audiences from all different walks of life with artists like Bruce Springsteen, U2, Paul McCartney, and Prince.
Then for some ungodly reason the shows regressed back to the days of the late 1990s in last year’s show, with the eclectic and completely unwatchable combination of Madonna – supported by LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green and M.I.A. (as well as a few high school drumlines and Cirque du Soleil thrown in for good measure).
It was truly a nuclear blast to all five senses. Yes, I could literally smell the stink through my set, and while watching LMFAO the cheese on my pizza actually curdled.
With the announcement recently that Beyonce’ would be the featured performer at this year’s halftime, one thought raced through my head…
Artists who depend on autotune should not perform live in huge arenas. (See: Black Eyed Peas – Super Bowl XLV, 2011)
So, with minimal expectations for this year’s show already, I now give you the list of the 10 worst Super Bowl halftime performances ever.
Super Bowl XXXVII: Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
This one will go down as one of the Super Bowl shows that "could've been", but the performances left everyone inside Qualcomm Stadium wishing they were home watching the commercials. Between Shania's awkward lip-syncing, to the weird mix of Sting and Gwen Stefani sining "Message in a Bottle" the whole thing needed some life, much like the Oakland Raiders that day.
Super Bowl XLII: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Having Tom Petty on this list is certainly not meant to be a slighting. Petty is without a doubt one of the icons of rock music, but the fact is that his songs are not the kind of tunes that cause tens of thousands of fans to froth at the mouth and prepare for second half of football. Stick to the VMAs, Tom.
Super Bowl XXIX: Patti Labelle, Indiana Jones & Marion Ravenwood, Teddy Pendergrass, Tony Bennett, Miami Sound Machine
Derive a Super Bowl halftime theme from a movie? Awkward. Make it an Indiana Jones movie, and use a mixture of R&B, crooning, and salsa rhythms to bring the show to life? Even more awkward. Most fans would rather sit through an extended screening of "Temple of Doom" than watch this halftime flop again.
Super Bowl XXVI: Gloria Estefan with Olympic Figure skaters Brian Boitano & Dorothy Hamill
Growling, grunting, tackling, blood, grass, guts....and, Brian Boitano? One of the worst conceived plans ever for a Super Bowl halftime, combining figure skating and Latin pop stars...in Minnesota. At least Dorothy Hamill didn't try to blow the Viking horn.
Super Bowl XXIII: Elvis Presto, South Florida-area dancers and performers, with 3-D effects
This halftime show, entitled "Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D" could only have been schemed and hatched in Miami. The 3-D effect - dated even for that day - were completely unimpressive. And the show's star, Elvis Presto, looked like something out of a cancelled Six Flags show. Thank god Elvis did leave the building after this stinker.
Super Bowl XLV: Black Eyed Peas, Slash, Usher
Two words...auto-tune. Seriously, when will producers learn that artists who rely on technology to create their sound have two general problems. Their music doesn't translate well in a live setting, and most of the time the "musicians" can't lip-sync to save their lives. The Black Eyed Peas fell into both categories. Not even slash with his Cousin It haircut and top hat could save the show. Usher should have stayed in the closet.
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, Justin Timberlake
This one doesn't make the list because of Janet's infamous "wardrobe malfunction", but more because of how lost "Miss Jackson" looked on stage. If they had just let Kid Rock headline this one and go solo, the audience would have been much happier. But then what would the world have to talk about for a month following the game besides Janet and Justin gettin' jiggy with it.
Super Bowl XLVI: Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green, M.I.A.
The halftime show that now has it's photo in the dictionary next to "Train wreck", it was hideous to behold and hear. As much as Madge's music has evolved over the past few decades, so has her body. Seeing her perform the same slinky moves she did during her heyday in the 1980's was enough to make some folks actually give thanks to see Nicki Minaj on stage. The show was full of publicity stunts by M.I.A. and more (big shock) bad lip-syncing by the entire cast. Please, let's return to some hard hitting music.
Super Bowl XXV: New Kids on the Block, Disney characters, Warren Moon
New Kids on the Block...Disney...in an NFL halftime show. Enough said. What WERE you thinking Warren Moon?
Super Bowl XXXV: Aerosmith, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly
And the winner is....of course, if there was something abhorred happening in pop culture during the early part of the 2000's, then Britney Spears was involved. Comedian Lewis Black once referred to the combination of Spears, 'N Sync and Aerosmith on stage together as "the trifecta from hell", and I can't say that he's far off the mark with that description. Thanks a lot MTV, now we're all "Jaded" when it comes to halftime shows that you produce.