The 15 greatest Super Bowl halftime show performances ever, ranked

9 February 2024, 12:12

The greatest Super Bowl halftime show performances
The greatest Super Bowl halftime show performances. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

The Super Bowl continues to be one of the world's biggest events, whether you're into American Football or not.

One of the highlights of each Super Bowl is the extravagant halftime show, featuring some of the world's biggest pop superstars.

In case you need a refresher of who has performed the huge gig in the past - with Rihanna taking to the stage in 2023 - we've ranked the very best halftime shows over the years:

  1. Sting, Shania Twain and No Doubt (2003)


    A mixed bag, as Sting appeared alongside Shania Twain and No Doubt, because why not?

    Here, he belts out 'Message in a Bottle', though we kinda wish it was a reunion with The Police instead.

  2. Madonna (2012)

    Madonna - 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show

    It made total sense that the Queen of Pop performed at the Super Bowl in 2012.

    However, the song choices were a bit rogue (new song 'Give Me All Your Luvvin'), and the team-ups are quite dated now (Cee Lo Green and LMFAO).

  3. The Who (2010)

    The Who - Live at the Super Bowl (full)

    Like McCartney and the Stones before them, The Who showed the kids how it's done with the first set of the 2010s.

    The legendary band performed a medley of their biggest crowd pleasers to get the crowd fired up.

  4. The Rolling Stones (2006)

    Rolling Stones - Superbowl Show Detroit 2006 Completo

    With former Beatle Paul McCartney performing the year before, it was only fair that Mick Jagger and co appeared in 2006.

    The only thing that let this performance down was that it was only three songs!

  5. Tom Petty (2008)

    In Remembrance of Tom Petty: Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    A stellar and strong set from the late, great Tom Petty, as he and his band belted out classics from 'I Won't Back Down' to 'Free Fallin'.

    He did just what everyone wanted - played the hits, put on a great show, and back to the game.

  6. Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé (2016)

    Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show
    Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show. Picture: Getty

    Coldplay proved why they are one of the world's greatest bands by putting on a fantastic show in 2016.

    The surprise of bringing on two other former Super Bowl performers was a massive bonus.

  7. Diana Ross (1996)

    Diana Ross - Half Time Show At Super Bowl XXX 1996

    To celebrate 30 years of the Super Bowl, the Queen of Motown Diana Ross appeared for a huge setlist of classics, ranging from 'Baby Love' to 'Chain Reaction'.

    Sadly no Supremes reunion, though.

  8. Bruce Springsteen (2009)

    Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show
    Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show. Picture: Getty

    Trust The Boss to put on an amazing show.

    "I want you to put the chicken fingers down and turn your television all the way up!," he shouted as he played 'Born to Run' among others. 12 minutes wasn't enough!

  9. Rihanna (2023)

    Rihanna’s FULL Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show

    Rihanna marked her return to live performances look so effortless, as she exuded cool and elegance with her run-through of her biggest hits in 2023.

    Not only that, but she casually announced to the world her pregnancy with an obvious baby bump.

    While some of her most popular hits were left out, it was a perfect showcase of her chart domination over the last couple of decades.

  10. Lady Gaga (2017)

    Lady Gaga - Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show

    2017's performance was a highly professional and entertaining affair from Lady Gaga, kicked off with what looked like to be a very daring leap of the actual stadium roof. Incredible.

  11. Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar

    Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show
    Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show. Picture: Getty

    This was the ultimate tribute to old-school hip-hop and R&B, with some of the genre's greatest ever icons teaming up for a nostalgic and brilliant performance that left you wanting more.

  12. Paul McCartney (2005)

    Super Bowl XXXIX Halftime Show
    Super Bowl XXXIX Halftime Show. Picture: Getty

    After the huge controversy the year before with Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake and 'nipple-gate', they went safe by booking the legendary Beatle.

    And Sir Paul proved he was worth it, playing some absolute classics such as 'Hey Jude' and 'Live and Let Die'.

  13. Beyoncé and Destiny's Child (2013)

    Beyoncé - Super Bowl [4K Quality 2160p]

    Beyoncé showed just why she is arguably the greatest modern popstar with this performance, reuniting her former girl group as she went.

    It was so good that the power ended up going out in the second half of the game.

  14. Michael Jackson (1993)

    Michael Jackson in 1993
    Michael Jackson in 1993. Picture: Getty

    Before Michael Jackson appeared in 1993, the Super Bowl Halftime Show wasn't even 'a thing'.

    Instead, it was rather strange shows including Disney celebrations and New Kids on the Block. After this amazing daytime performance, the Super Bowl was never the same again.

  15. Prince (2007)

    Prince Performs “Purple Rain” During Downpour | Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show | NFL

    Despite tipping it down with rain, Prince put on a stellar performance, and showed just why he was one of the greatest entertainers of all time.

    'Purple Rain' in the actual rain was a sight to behold, that will be hard to beat.