Photo courtesy of The New Yorker

Looking back: captivating Super Bowl halftime shows

Throughout 58 Super Bowls, fans of opposing teams have come together to enjoy 56 halftime shows. 

This show has become a spectacular, visually stunning sensation, with all eyes on one performance. It is commonly referred to as the show of the year, featuring thriller choreography, amazing stage design, and starring the artist of the year. 

The Super Bowl halftime show, dating back to 1967, can be the biggest moment of an artist’s career. A year’s worth of planning goes into the one moment of debuting the artist’s best performance on a stage for the world to see. 

These shows can make or break a career. There is breathless anticipation from the viewers, who guess what songs the artist will sing online for months beforehand. 

The show takes you on a timeline of emotions. Many of the artists on the screen you grew up listening to in the car or you saw at your first-ever concert. The excitement of songs the artist sings brings emotions to the audience. You are there for the emotional rollercoaster from excitement to joy and sometimes disappointment. 

The overall best Super Bowl Halftime show was Rhianna in 2023. She sang her top hits with killer dance moves while pregnant with her second kid. 

The elaborate stage design was amazing—a descended staircase of platforms elevated in the sky. With the different variations of perspectives, it was hard not to get captivated by it all. 

I loved this performance because of the remembrance of all my favorite songs played throughout our lives at school dances and parties. It just felt like all the nostalgic feelings were brought back. 

Beyonce’s performance in 2013, where she sang and danced to her favorite songs of hers. Starting off with “Run the World” and ending off the night with “Halo.” 

The stage was beautiful with two faces looking at each other. These faces would light up in unison to the different musical beats. At the end, there were waves of sheets streaming from the stage like hair blowing in the wind. 

What Beyonce did differently than Rhianna is she engaged with the crowd more often, telling them to clap to the rhythm of the songs or to put their hands towards her so she could feel their energy. 

She had emotion and gave a thrilling performance, putting her all in it. That is why I think so many people fell in love with this performance. 

Another favorite of mine was Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl Halftime Show in 1993. 

The show was a peaceful protest through Jackson’s music. The overall message was that every person can co-exist peacefully. No matter your age, race, or status. He started the night off with “We Will Rock You” and ended the night with “Purple Rain.” 

What made this performance powerful was that he brought different ethnicities of children onto the stage where they all sang together. A globe emerged from the stage the audience had posters in the stands to create the image of various children of different ethnicities holding hands. The show successfully imparted the message that the world can peacefully coexist despite differences.

Overall, most halftime shows are meaningful in their own entirely different way. What makes a halftime show generational over the years is the meaning you take from the artist’s music. You have to feel what the artist is trying to tell you and make it your own. 

Whether you dance throughout the living room with your family or at the show yourself enjoy the moment of the Halftime Show. 

What was your favorite Super Bowl Halftime Show? Were any the same as the generational ones? 

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