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Some would argue that the real show on Sunday starts when the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles take a break at the midway point of Super Bowl LVII: the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Nothing brings people together quite like music. This year, Rihanna is taking the NFL’s biggest stage.
With her highly anticipated return to live music just days away, let’s take a short trip down memory lane and admire entertaining Super Bowl performances from years past.
Starting with No. 10, here are the most searched halftime performers since 2004, according to Google Trends:
Lady Gaga, Super Bowl LI (2017)
NRG Stadium (Houston)
Songs performed: “God Bless America”https://www.espn.com/”This Land Is Your Land,” “Poker Face,” “Born This Way,” “Telephone,” “Just Dance,” “Million Reasons,” “Bad Romance”
Notable moment: Everything’s bigger in Texas — and Lady Gaga didn’t waste any time exemplifying that sentiment. She started the performance by singing “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land” on the roof of the stadium with red, white and blue drones flying behind her. But here’s the big part: Gaga ended the medley by reciting the last line of the Pledge of Allegiance, then jumped (attached to a harness) off the roof, landing on a pillar placed on the field.
Wow. Wow. Wow.@LadyGaga! #SB51 #PepsiHalftime #Gaga pic.twitter.com/YRMGVWdXov
— NFL (@NFL) February 6, 2017
Bruno Mars, Super Bowl XLVIII (2014) and Super Bowl 50 (2016)
MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, New Jersey) and Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California)
Songs performed: “Billionaire” (sung by a children’s choir), “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Treasure,” “Runaway Baby,” “Give It Away” (with the Red Hot Chili Peppers), “Just the Way You Are” and, in 2016, “Uptown Funk”
At 28 years old, Bruno Mars made history as the youngest artist ever to serve as the sole NFL Super Bowl Halftime headliner. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were his special guests. Theo Wargo/FilmMagic
Notable moment: After the show opened with a children’s choir singing a cover of Bruno Mars’ song “Billionaire,” he kicked off his performance with a drum solo and paid tribute to his late mother by putting her name across a heart on the drum kit.
Mars closed the performance by singing “Just the Way You Are” with the biggest fireworks display in Super Bowl history overhead.
In his second Super Bowl appearance, Mars was a special guest for the headliner, Coldplay, and performed a dance break alongside Beyonce.
Dr. Dre, Super Bowl LVI (2022)
SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, California)
Songs performed: “The Next Episode,” “California Love,” “I Ain’t Mad at Cha,” “Still D.R.E.”
This was the first Super Bowl halftime show to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live). Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Notable moment: Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg ended the show with “Still D.R.E.,” which was released in 1999. They were joined by Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent and Eminem (along with Anderson .Paak on drums) on the stage’s roof with classic lowrider cars and a myriad of dancers on top of an LED-lit map of Compton, California. It was also the first Super Bowl halftime show to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live).
Mary J. Blige, Super Bowl LVI (2022)
SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, California)
Songs performed: “Family Affair,” “No More Drama”
Notable moment: Blige’s reflective leopard print bodysuit and matching signature thigh-high boots set the tone for her section of the show. As the only woman in a performance that featured seven artists, she provided some much-needed feminine energy.
Her show-stopping performance of “No More Drama” concluded with a dramatic collapse that went viral on social media.
MARY. J. BLIGE. 👑 #PepsiHalftime pic.twitter.com/jRKg9F1ELV
— NFL (@NFL) February 14, 2022
Prince, Super Bowl XLI (2007)
Dolphin Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)
Songs performed: “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby I’m a Star,” “Proud Mary,” “1999,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “Best of You,” “Purple Rain”
Notable moment: All of it. Seriously.
But, we’d be remiss not to point out that roughly a quarter of Prince’s 12-minute performance was fittingly reserved for “Purple Rain,” while some timely precipitation fell over South Florida.
One of the greatest halftime shows [email protected]’s #SBXLI performance in Miami was legendary. ☔️🎸
📺: #SBLIV | 6:30pm ET on FOX
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app pic.twitter.com/5mdbbckbL5
— NFL (@NFL) February 2, 2020
Shakira, Super Bowl LIV (2020)
Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)
Songs performed: “She Wolf,” “Empire” “Ojos Asi,” “Whenever, Wherever,” “I Like It,” “Chantaje,” “Hips Don’t Lie,” “Let’s Get Loud”https://www.espn.com/”Born in the U.S.A.” (with Jennifer Lopez and Emme Muñiz)” “Waka Waka” (with Jennifer Lopez)
The show by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, which included Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Lopez’s child Emme Muñiz, was the third time Latin musicians headlined halftime. According to Billboard, the performers were selected to reflect Miami’s Latin culture. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Notable moment: Shakira did a little bit of everything in this performance. As expected, she showcased her vocal and dancing abilities, which included ululation and belly dancing. But her crowd-surfing and drumming were added bonuses. With over 264 million views, it is by far the most watched Super Bowl halftime performance on YouTube.
Kendrick Lamar, Super Bowl LVI (2022)
SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, California)
Songs performed: “M.A.A.D City,” “Alright,” “Forgot About D.R.E.”
With over 103 million viewers, this was the most watched halftime performance since 2018. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation
Notable moment: Throughout his portion of the program, Lamar, clad in an all-black Michael Jackson-inspired outfit, was surrounded by dancers in a tight formation. The dancers frequently marched around Lamar, and the broadcast used aerial shots that emphasized their motion on top of the aforementioned map of Lamar’s hometown, Compton.
Justin Timberlake, Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004) and Super Bowl LII (2018)
Reliant Stadium (Houston) and U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)
Songs performed: “Rock Your Body” (with Janet Jackson in 2004)
“Filthy,” “Rock Your Body,” “Señorita,” “SexyBack,” “My Love,” “Cry Me a River,” “Suit & Tie,” “Until the End of Time,” “I Would Die 4 U,” “Mirrors,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Prince’s estate praised Timberlake’s performance, and wrote in a statement, “Justin Timberlake, the NFL, and the City of Minneapolis used the stadium and the city to give a beautiful hometown tribute to Prince.” Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Notable moment: Justin Timberlake’s first Super Bowl appearance, alongside Janet Jackson, was marred by the controversial wardrobe malfunction that occurred after he ripped off a portion of Jackson’s top.
As a headliner in 2018, he included a tribute to late Minneapolis native Prince. As Timberlake sang “Until the End of Time” while playing a white grand piano, it transitioned into “I Would Die 4 U,” with a video of Prince performing it, being projected onto a large sheet with purple lights tinting Timberlake’s piano.
An aerial shot then showed downtown Minneapolis covered in purple lights patterned after Prince’s trademarked “Love Symbol,” with the stadium in the middle.
Madonna, Super Bowl XLVI (2012)
Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
Songs performed: “Vogue,” “Music” (with LMFAO for mixes of “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It”), “Give Me All Your Luvin” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.), “Open Your Heart” (with CeeLo Green), “Express Yourself,” “Like A Prayer” (with CeeLo Green)
At the time of this performance, it set a Super Bowl halftime show record of 114 million viewers. Madonna was also the most searched term on Google during the game. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Notable moment: The show opened with just an instrumental of the “Vogue” intro playing while tens of male dancers, dressed as gladiators, pulled an enormous object that was covered by large feathered banners. Just over 30 seconds into the performance, the song’s opening line of “What are you looking at?” played just as the banners were raised to reveal Madonna sitting on a gold throne while wearing an ensemble of the same color.
Beyoncé, Super Bowl XLVII (2013) and Super Bowl 50 (2016)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans) and Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California)
Songs performed: “Run the World (Instrumental),” “Love on Top,” “Crazy in Love,” “End of Time,” “Baby Boy,” “Bootylicious,” “Independent Women Part I,” “Single Ladies,” “Halo” and, in 2016, “Formation”
Notable moment: Midway through the performance, Beyoncé was joined by fellow former members of Destiny’s Child, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. The trio took the stage for an ultra-memorable three-song reunion.
Beyoncé’s second appearance was three years later alongside Bruno Mars as a guest during Coldplay’s set. Her outfit paid homage to Michael Jackson, and the dance break with Mars is one of the most memorable displays in modern Super Bowl halftime history.
that time we played football during a @Beyonce concert. #RENAISSANCE pic.twitter.com/kcNWHwRjZN
— NFL (@NFL) July 29, 2022