X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

NFL

The 10 Worst Super Bowl Halftime Performances of All Time

1 of 11

Super Bowl Halftime Show

super
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are a handful of Super Bowl halftime shows that are good, many more that are not very good and others that make you want to reach for the remote and flip to Lampapalooza on the Impulse Buying Network. There are a couple of reasons why.

First, there’s the second-banana aspect. The warm-up act always has to be less talented than the headliner, the undercard fight always has to be worse than the main event, the Vice-President always has to have less charisma than the President and the Super Bowl halftime show can, in no way, upstage the game. Then there’s the sheer number and variety of viewers. The Super Bowl draws a bazillion eyeballs every year: young and old, north and south, rich and poor and everything in between. So, there is no target demographic. This combination essentially guarantees that the Super Bowl halftime show will be an extravaganza that almost everybody hates.

Up to and including Super Bowl XXVI in 1992, nearly all the halftime shows were marching bands or acts that looked like they belonged in the Rose Parade (the dance group Up With People had done three halftime shows). That year, the fledgling Fox network ran a halftime counterprogram that drew 22 million viewers. The National Football League got the message and, in an attempt to retain viewers, decided to book rock stars and big name acts from then on.

Bruno Mars is scheduled to headline this year’s halftime show. Time will tell which slideshow he winds up in next year, whether it’s the top 10 good, top 10 bad or top 10 “meh.”

2 of 11

Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show

Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

The looks on their faces tell all: Wynonna looks like she'd rather be anywhere else, and Naomi looks like she was ready to quit three songs ago.

3 of 11

Super Bowl XXIX Halftime Show

Super Bowl XXIX Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

Tony Bennett was a hit with the lounge-act crowd, but that was about it.

4 of 11

Super Bowl XXXV Halftime Show

Super Bowl XXXV Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

Combining Aerosmith, Brittney Spears and 'N Synch into one show was like combining Bran Flakes, Pop Tarts and a can of Schlitz Beer into one breakfast casserole.

5 of 11

Super Bowl XXXVII Halftime Show

Super Bowl XXXVII Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

After Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake practically copulated on stage, the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" set the stage for all the boring acts that followed because the NFL wanted zero risk of another incident.

6 of 11

Super Bowl XLIV Halftime Show

Super Bowl XLIV Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

The Who never was very popular on this side of the Atlantic, even in the band's heyday.

7 of 11

Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show

Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

Tom Petty came out looking like the "before" guy on a before-and-after shampoo commercial.

8 of 11

Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show

Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

Listening to Prince try to perform "All Along the Watchtower" was a truly painful experience.

9 of 11

Super Bowl XL Halftime Show

Super Bowl XL Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

Kids, stay in school because Mick Jagger gives you living proof of what 40 years of rock-and-roll looks like.

10 of 11

Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show

Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

Any show with "polytheism" as its central theme is off to a bad start, and the fact that Madonna hadn't had a hit song in about 30 years made it even worse.

11 of 11

Super Bowl XXXIX Halftime Show

Super Bowl XXXIX Halftime Show
GETTY IMAGES

No offense to Sir Paul McCartney, but if this boring show had a pipe organ and a boys' choir it could have been an Ash Wednesday service at The Church of the Inner Spring or The Cathedral of St. Mattress.