By: Heather Navarro
The 2022 Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show is a millennial’s dream team, with five heavy hitters taking the stage, including Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, and Kendrick Lamar.
The Super Bowl Haltime Show has always been a main event in its own right, starting from marching bands in its original form to multi-million-dollar productions featuring iconic musical acts, drawing 96 million viewers in 2021.
The very first Super Bowl, and therefore first halftime show, was in 1967.
The halftime show has also had its share of controversies and viral talked-about moments.
The 2022 Super Bowl will take place on Sunday, Feb. 13, and air live on NBC and the streaming service Peacock. The broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. ET, with a kickoff time set for 6:30 p.m.
Eighteen years ago, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s “wardrobe malfunction” seen around the world shocked viewers, and set Jackson up for what was viewed in hindsight as far harsher punishment than her counterpart Timberlake ever received, harming her career while catapulting his.
By 2015, conversations around the Super Bowl were firmly in the social media-scape, launching viral moments like Katy Perry’s “left shark,” who was hilariously out of synch with the rest of the performers.
But none of these moments would be possible without Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking 1993 performance. As he made his Super Bowl debut onstage, he stood for a full two minutes in silence before beginning his act. Some viewed it as cocky — but he had a plan. Let them wait for it. What followed was a halftime show never before seen.
It was the inception of booking mega stars as Super Bowl Halftime show acts.
Take a look back at the last decade and other standout moments of the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
2021: The Weeknd
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first time the halftime artist was forced to perform with health protocols, socially distanced fans, and a lot of cardboard cutouts in the audience. The Weeknd also made a throwback reference in homage to Michael Jackson’s 1993 performance. Another talking point for viewers? His full face of bandages leading up to and cartoonish appearance at the show. His planned appearance was commentary on the state of plastic surgery in Hollywood, and the need to be validated for superficial reasons.
2020: Shakira and Jennifer Lopez
Shakira and Jennifer Lopez headlined, with special guests Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Emme Muñiz. The powerhouse performance was actually met with a lot of complaints from some conservative parents watching the show, who said the dance moves were too explicit, and it was like exposing their children to a “porno show.” Another “viral” moment in the show that quickly began to trend on Twitter was Shakira’s tongue-wagging at the camera. While some were mocking the tongue wag, others clarified that it was actually called a zaghrouta, or ululation in English. “It is a joyful sound Arabic speakers make when cheering & celebrating,” a Twitter user said.
2019: Maroon 5
Featuring Travis Scott, Big Boi, and the Georgia State University Marching Band. No halftime show in the 2010s would be complete without hilarious memes being created in real-time. Maroon 5 was definitely good source material. Lead singer Adam Levine was the main target. From his tank top that some said looked like a grandma’s curtains, to him removing his shirt and Twitter users saying his tattoos made him look like a “human Ouija board,” the memes were fast and furious. Many were also anticipating a more significant appearance from Spongebob (due to Travis Scott also performing) and many were disappointed.
2017: Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga just knows how to do a halftime show right. She kicked it off – pun intended – by diving off the roof of Houston’s NRG stadium, which quickly became a viral moment on social media. She used 300 drones to create a spectacular visual, which had marked the first time drones were used in a halftime show. It was the second-most watched show, and actually gained a higher viewership than the game itself.
2015: Katy Perry
Katy Perry performed with special guests Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott, and the Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band. If the rendition of “I Kissed a Girl” with Lenny Kravitz wailing on his guitar wasn’t enough to whip the audience into a frenzy, the appearance of 2000s legend Missy Elliott was. And who could forget “left shark?” With social media firmly becoming an essential part of Super Bowl and halftime show viewing, left shark started trending on Twitter. The hilariously off-beat dancing shark stole the show during Katy Perry’s performance of “California Girls.” The dancer behind the snappy out-of-sync shark said he will forever be grateful that he made history. Katy Perry’s performance was also solidified as the most-watched halftime show ever.
Queen Bey gave the world what it was waiting for: another performance with Destiny’s Child. At the time, it was the most-tweeted moment in the history of Twitter. It was an acclaimed performance that many said steered the halftime show away from “dad bands” and solidified the emergence of girl power. One of the performances shining moments came when her former bandmates from Destiny’s Child catapulted onto the stage and performed with her. In the age of Twitter, it also launched a series of unflattering screenshots of Bey’s facial expressions.
Featuring LMFAO, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green, Andy Lewis, Avon High School Drumline, Center Grove High School Drumline, Fishers High School Drumline, Franklin Central High School Drumline, Southern University Dancing Dolls, 200-person choir consisting of Indianapolis locals. Madonna was the first sole female headliner to perform since Diana Ross in 1996. She said it was one of the most grueling rehearsal processes she’s ever been through. The only controversy (aside from Madonna’s in-your-face performance)? M.I.A. flipped the bird at the camera.
2009: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
This performance also featured a malfunction of sorts — Springsteen knee-slid crotch-first into a camera. Luckily, his clothes and the camera were still intact at the end of the flub.
All hail the Prince. Prince’s performance was often regarded as one of the best halftime shows of all time. A true professional, Prince continued to give the performance of a lifetime even when it began to rain — during “Purple Rain.” It became a magic moment in Super Bowl halftime history.
2004: Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock
There were four other stars performing at the 2004 halftime show, but no one remembers anything except the biggest scandal in recent halftime history. During a performance of “Rock Your Body” with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, Timberlake ripped away a piece of her clothing, exposing her breast. The criticism and controversy was swift, with Jackson’s career suffering far more than Timberlake’s. After this, rock bands were booked for the halftime show for years.
2001: NSYNC and Aerosmith, Featuring Britney Spears, Nelly, and Mary J. Blige
NSYNC was at its height with the tune “Bye, Bye, Bye.” The show opened with a goofy intro by Ben Stiller as his “Dodgeball” character. As NSYNC danced, Aerosmith joined with their hit “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing.” Britney Spears joined later in the act, singing “Walk This Way,” with Mary J. Blige joining even later and making a very brief appearance to sing along.
California Games and Shows
2016: Levi Stadium, Santa Clara: Carolina Panthers v. Denver Broncos
2003: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego: Oakland Raiders v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1998: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego: Green Bay Packers v. Denver Broncos
1993: Rose Bowl: Buffalo Bills v. Dallas Cowboys
1988: Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego: Washington Redskins v. Denver Broncos
1987: Rose Bowl in Pasadena: Denver Broncos v. New York Giants
1985: Stanford Stadium: Miami Dolphins v. San Francisco 49ers
1983: Rose Bowl: Miami Dolphins v. Washington Redskins
1980: Rose Bowl: Los Angeles Rams v. Pittsburgh Steelers
1977: Rose Bowl: Oakland Raiders v. Minnesota Vikings
1973: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: Miami Dolphins v. Washington Redskins
1967: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: Green Bay Packers v. Kansas City Chiefs
Since 2013, Pepsi has been the official sponsor of the halftime show.
The 1993 halftime show was like no other, featuring Michael Jackson. It’s often regarded as a groundbreaking performance, and one of the best halftime shows of all time.
This year was when the halftime show was transformed into a stage for superstars. None was bigger than Michael Jackson, the king of pop.
Mary J. Blige is set to return to the halftime show in 2022. She also performed in 2001 alongside Aerosmith, NSYNC, Britney Spears, and Nelly.
Beyoncé also played twice, headlining with Destiny’s Child in 2013, and again in 2016 with Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson and Gustavo Dudamel.
Justin Timberlake performed three times over the past 20 years in the halftime show.