Beyoncé may have come under fire for her antics at the inauguration (including us asking if Beyoncé lip synching has caused her halo to dim a little) but all eyes will be on her once again this weekend with her performing at the Super Bowl half time show.
To get you in the spirit for the biggest sporting occasion on the American calendar, we’ve looked through the annuls of time to put together a short list of the best and (of course) worst shows put on during the brief sports interlude that seems to carry oh so much weight.
Michael Jackson -1993
Now other performer could stand there, still as a stone for minutes at the beginning of their performance and still have the show be utterly engrossing, but that is why Jackson was, and still is, the king of pop.
It may not win too many points for gimmicks until the massive ending, but Jackson himself was such an incredible stage presence that merely see him strut his stuff, belting out Black Or White while pyrotechnics go off all around him was mighty impressive.
The real show came at the end though, as Michael was joined on stage by thousands of brightly clad children (a scene that might be seen in a different light these days) for a chorus of Heal The World while a giant globe inflated behind them.
Prince – 2007
While many artists either peddle their new album or perform their greatest hits, Prince decided to do something unique with his set, singing three unique covers of songs before making the absolute most of the downpour that was taking place with a stunning performance of Purple Rain.
Striding across a giant, luminescent version of the singer’s symbol, Prince’s performance was simple, but visually striking, with the singer accompanied by a pair of identical dancers throughout.
With a neon clad marching band in attendance too to add even more visual panache to the occasion, this rain soaked occasion was that so incredibly good, we doubt the crowd even knew they were wet.
U2 – 2002
With the game taking place only months after the country had suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history, America needed something special from the 2002 Super Bowl to help try and distract a nation still grieving.
U2 had just come back as the biggest band in the world following their re-birth and proved to be the perfect choice for a show that traded cheap tricks for simple emotional punch. The show purely consisted of a short medley of tracks from the Irish rockers (featuring Beautiful day, MLK but mainly Where The Streets Have No Name) backed up with a rolling list of names that had been claimed by the attacks.
Say what you like about Bono (you won’t get any complaints from us), but his energetic enthusiasm and over the top gestures such as holding out a stars and stripes emblazed inner lining to his trademark black jacket were just what was needed for an angry nation waiting to heal.
One of the classiest and well thought out half-time shows in the Super Bowl’s history.
New Kids On The Block and Disney - 1991
New Kids On The Block were never the greatest boy band in the world, so seeing them flail around on stage miming a couple of their chat toppers wasn’t the best way to make the halftime performance at the Super Bowl’s 25th anniversary something to remember for the right reasons
Quick not to anyone planning their half time shows, don’t have them conclude with a group of Disney characters singing ‘It’s A Small World’. That’s song’s terrible enough in the midst of the theme park, let alone randomly sung on a field. Plus those inflatables are just plain terrifying, as was Mickey thanking the countries armed forces.
This was famously the halftime show that wasn’t broadcast live, as channel ABC instead chose to cover the escalation Gulf War as it happened instead of show the football match. By making that journalist call, they saved millions of brain cells from dying of shame.
Elvis Presto - 1989
The hall mark of the Super Bowl halftime show is music right? Well, that wasn’t the case in 1989, when the directors of the show decided for some strange reason to make the half time extravaganza the showcase for a magically gifted Elvis impersonator, some Florida based dancers and a Diet Coke advert.
This was a performance where the biggest billing was given to Coke making the world’s first 3D advert. This, obviously, is something incredible and eye popping in a way that we can scarcely believe. Oh dear, our sarcasm machine broke.
Pants from beginning to end, with about as much energy and ability to enthral as a dead battery, Super Bowl 23’s was a show to forget.
Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Slash - 2011
It’s almost cruel to pick too much on this performance. From the terrible sound engineering, to the botched light display to the atrocious decision to let Fergie sing ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’ with a thoroughly uninterested looking Slash, this was a twelve minute long cringing session.
The longer The Black Eyed Peas kept trying to make their brand of auto tuned dance pop work, the more embarrassing it became. Even that was better than the hatchet job Fergie did to the Guns N Roses classic that got trotted out one more time.
When Usher is literally being air dropped in to save a performance with the utterly dire duet with Will.I.Am ‘OMG’, you know that the show is beyond salvation.
While we hope that Beyoncé will be getting closer to the good than the bad, the only way we’ll find out is by watching it this weekend. Are there any Super Bowl performances you remember, for either good or bad reasons? Let us know in the comments section.