10 best halftime shows in Super Bowl history

Kelly Rowland, Beyonce and Michelle Williams perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

Sure, there's a football game, but one of the biggest draws of the Super Bowl is its star-studded halftime show.

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the greatest performance opportunities for musicians -- a chance for them to show off their catalogue of music to 100-plus million viewers and surprise us with special guests.

With Katy Perry tapped to perform at Super Bowl XLIX, let's count down the 10 most spectacular halftime performances ever:

10. Bruno Mars (2014)

With only a few years of fame under his belt, Bruno Mars had everything to prove when he stepped onto the halftime stage in 2014. But between his impressive opening drum solo and his even more impressive dance moves, he pulled it off with gusto. Minus a few points for the Red Hot Chili Peppers' eyebrow-raising guest spot, which Bruno proved he didn't need anyhow.

9. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson (2004)

Where were you for the most famous "wardrobe malfunction" in sports history? Yes, the moment Justin Timberlake accidentally revealed Janet Jackson's breast will forever be remembered -- with the "accidentally" aspect endlessly debated. The performance itself was so-so, but this halftime show is easily one of the most memorable on our list, which puts it at No. 9.

8. The Rolling Stones (2006)

The Rolling Stones did what they do best at the 2006 halftime show, with Mick Jagger strutting around the giant tongue-shaped stage and Keith Richard wailing on guitar. The Stones may have only played three songs, but when two of those are "Start Me Up" and the classic "Satisfaction," it's hard to upset.

7. Aerosmith, *NSYNC and Britney Spears (2001)

The year 2001 brought the best split-bill halftime show to date, easily eclipsing 2003's No Doubt/Sting/Shania Twain experience. Aerosmith and *NSYNC switched off between their hits before they came together -- with the help of Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly -- for an epic rendition of "Walk This Way."

6. Paul McCartney (2005)

A year after "Nipplegate," the NFL wanted a safe bet for its Super Bowl halftime show, and who better than Paul McCartney? McCartney didn't disappoint, weaving together hits from the Beatles to Wings, all with class and an impressive amount of energy. Closing with a "Hey Jude" sing-along was as epic as any football game we can recall.

5. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (2009)

There's a reason Bruce Springsteen's concerts sell out to this day: He's a showman and as energetic as any touring performer. His 2009 halftime performance was no different, as he told the crowd to "Put the chicken fingers down (did he mean wings?) and turn the television up" before breaking into "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out," "Born to Run" and other classics. And The Boss topped it all off with one of his signature onstage super-slides, which turned into a memorable crotch shot for viewers watching at home.

4. Beyonce (2013)

Beyonce's halftime performance marked her transition from R&B frontwoman to global megastar. The singer flawlessly performed singles like "Crazy In Love" and "Single Ladies" before bringing her Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams onstage to perform with her. Beyonce shut it down. Literally. A few minutes after she finished came the puzzling 34-minute blackout.

3. Michael Jackson (1993)

Michael Jackson's 1993 halftime performance marked the turning point from marching bands to high-profile acts.

It began with James Earl Jones introducing the "unprecedented Super Bowl spectacular," already off to an great start, while Jackson stood in place for a full 90 seconds as the crowd roared. He then broke into "Jam," not a great first choice, but quickly saved himself with "Billie Jean" and "Black or White." He closed with an emotional "We Are the World" and then "Heal the World," which he dedicated to the "children of the world," bringing 3,500 youngsters onstage with him. As far as halftime shows go, this was the biggest.

2. U2 (2002)

Less than five months after the events of 9/11, U2 took the stage for a somber, uplifting Super Bowl halftime performance. The band opened with "Beautiful Day," and as Bono and the gang played "Where the Streets Have No Name," a scrolling backdrop showed the names of all the victims who died in the attacks, with Bono opening his jacket to reveal the stars and stripes in its lining as the song ended. The band's shenanigans -- like last year's album "giveaway" with Apple -- are forgiven, given this performance.

1. Prince (2007)

When it comes to putting on a show, no one can top Prince's electric 2007 performance. The iconic musician shredded his way through cover songs like Queen's "We Will Rock You" and Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower," before breaking into "Purple Rain" as it quite literally began raining on the stadium crowd. The result -- the funkiest and most epic halftime performance to date, and our personal favorite. Relive Prince's performance below:


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Tell us: What has been your favorite Super Bowl halftime show performance so far?