Yeah, yeah, it’s the biggest football game of the year. But for some of us, the main event at the Super Bowl is the killer halftime show.
This year’s extravaganza will be headlined by Justin Timberlake, who—considering the “wardrobe malfunction” scandal that erupted when he last did the gig, with Janet Jackson in 2004—will presumably not be bringing that particular brand of sexy back for Round 2.
But Nipplegate saga aside, which mid-pigskin performances will go down in history as the most memorable? Scroll down for a look at four of the biggest touchdowns.
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Michael Jackson (1993)
Back in the day, halftime used to be a snoozefest—a lull in the action when America would get up from the sofa to replenish the chips and dip. Enter the King of Pop. Clad in black and gold military-inspired regalia, MJ worked the crowd at L.A.’s Rose Bowl—as well as the millions of people at home—into a frenzy with an explosion of lights, smoke and a moonwalking medley of hits…changing the game break forever in the process.
The late iconoclastic singer (top right) never did anything halfway, and his halftime turn at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium was no exception. Oh, and closing out the spectacle with an electric rendition of “Purple Rain” as the skies opened up into an actual downpour? Consider the universe complicit in the pageantry.
Some 114 million people—more viewers than the football face-off itself drew—tuned in to see what Madonna (below) would do at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. From the get-go, she didn’t disappoint: For her entrance, Madonna was pulled in by a team of gladiators before rising up from a throne, resplendent in an ancient Egyptian-style headdress. All hail Her Madgesty!
She’s not called Queen Bey for nothin’. In a reunion with Destiny’s Child bandmates Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, the superstar (above center) positively killed it as she belted out fan favorites like “Single Ladies,” “Bootylicious” and “Independent Women, Part I.” With a performance this high-wattage, is it any wonder that New Orleans’ Superdome was plunged into a temporary blackout?
Super Bowl LII, Sunday, Feb. 4, 6/5c, NBC