Earlier this week we looked at our favourite halftime shows of all time. Today, we’re going to look at some of the worst.
There are many shows pre-Jackson (1993) that deserve top position. And even some soon after. (Like the Disney disaster of 1995 that was basically an ad for the new Indiana Jones ride … without Harrison Ford making an appearance.)
But given many of these happened at a time when Halftime Shows were equated with bathroom breaks, we’re going to cut them some slack. Instead, we’ll be reviewing shows from the last 3 decades.
With that in mind, here are our least favourite halftime shows based on memorability, overall performance, and fan reviews:
5. The Weeknd (2021)
The 2021 Halftime Show starring The Weeknd was the latest in a long line of Super Bowl performances to be met with very mixed reviews.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re fans of The Weeknd. And while we could have gone without the spins, the show had some memorable visuals and, of course, great music. But the requirement for masks, limitations due to social distancing, and an empty stadium (though understandable), really did bring the energy levels and excitement down.
Not to mention most people were looking forward to the Super Bowl giving them a small amount of normalcy in a pandemic world. Instead, the halftime show was a stark reminder of the times we were trying to escape.
4. Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock & Justin Timberlake (2004)
The 2004 Halftime Show featured Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson, P Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, and Justin Timberlake. The performance started off well, with a rousing opener and solos from Janet, Diddy, and Nelly. If it had of stopped at the 11-minute mark, it may have even been a contender for the Top 5 best shows.
Unfortunately, it ended with the infamous wardrobe malfunction between Jackson and Timberlake. The mishap ended up taking over the conversation and overshadowed the rest of the show. Many don’t even remember the other artists who shared the stage.
3. Maroon 5 (2019)
Leading up to Super Bowl LIII, artists like Cardi B and Rihanna turned down the Halftime Show following the outrage over Colin Kaepernick’s ousting. Then came Adam Levine and Maroon 5.
The band caught a lot of slack because of their decision to participate. Add to that the fact that the band’s mellow tracks did nothing to excite the audience. Nor did guest appearances from Travis Scott and Big Boi or Adam Levine going shirtless.
Then, of course, there was the peculiar appearance of Spongebob, which left many confused without the proper context. (Petitioners wanted the NFL to get Levine to sing “Sweet Victory” to pay tribute to the show’s creator, Stephen Hillenburg.)
2. Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, and Toni Braxton (2000)
For the first Halftime Show of the new millennium, Disney returned with another performance that seemed like one big commercial for the brand. While the performance featured names like Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, and Enrique Iglesias, it just didn’t hit the mark. It was an odd mix of performers and an even stranger collection of songs with none of the artists performing any of their hits.
Needless to say, Disney should probably steer clear of the Halftime Shows going forward.
1. Black Eyed Peas (2011)
In 2011, the Black Eyed Peas took to the Super Bowl Halftime stage for one of the most memorable performances in history … too bad it wasn’t memorable in a good way.
And that isn’t just our opinion. The show was widely criticized for its lack of energy, awkward choreography, space-age costumes, and odd list of special guests. Not to mention it makes it to the bottom of most Halftime Show rankings.
Although these performances may not have been the best, they’re a reminder of how seriously we all take the Super Bowl Halftime Show.