Entertainment

Super Bowl halftime shows that changed everything

All eyes will be on Lady Gaga as she takes the stage for the Super Bowl LI halftime show on Feb. 5, but these performers left a lasting mark on one of the most highly anticipated events.

From Janet to Beyoncé to 'Left Shark' — here are some Super Bowl moments that left a mark

Coldplay was the headlining act at last year's Super Bowl halftime show, but it was Beyoncé who delivered the sizzle. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

'Left shark' upstages Katy Perry and Missy Elliott.

Even with Katy Perry headlining and Missy Elliott crashing the show, it's hard not to say that the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show belonged to "Left Shark." The dancing fish became an internet meme because of its seemingly improvised dance moves. Nearly 115 million people in the U.S. tuned in to watch the shark flail about to the pop star's 2010 hit Teenage Dream

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake shock the world. 

"Wardrobe malfunction" became a household phrase after the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show where Janet Jackson's right breast was exposed during a performance with Justin Timberlake. "Nipplegate," as it was also known, almost cost broadcaster CBS a hefty fine, but it was overturned. The moment, as brief as it was, has gone on to be remembered as one of the most notorious moments in TV history and was considered the reason why the next few Super Bowl shows went classic rock with the likes of The Beatles' Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones headlining. 

Prince rocks the Super Bowl.

If there ever was a performer built for the Super Bowl halftime show, it would be Prince. The legendary performer didn't disappoint when he hit the stage in 2007 for Super Bowl XLI in Miami. In addition to some of his classics, Prince also played some hits from Bob Dylan and Queen and did an electric cover of Foo Fighters' Best of You.

Madonna & co. court controversy.

Madonna is pop royalty, and if you didn't know, she sure reminded the audience in her 2012 Super Bowl halftime show where she was carried on a throne during her opening song. She also performed some of her hits from her lengthy repertoire of songs, including Vogue and Music. Madonna's no stranger to controversy, and her halftime show wasn't an exception, but it wasn't Madonna herself that caused the show's most controversial moment, it was M.I.A. She gave an obscene gesture to the crowd during Madonna's then-new single Give Me All Your Luvin'.

Beyoncé reunites with Destiny's Child.

The 2013 Super Bowl halftime show at the Super Bowl saw one of the most anticipated reunions of the decade with Beyoncé reuniting with two of her Destiny's Child members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The performance came after the singer said she sang with a prerecorded track at Obama's inauguration that year. 

The king of pop takes the stage.

If you can't remember exactly when the Super Bowl halftime show became a cultural phenomenon, many would point you to Michael Jackson's appearance at the 1993 as what cemented it as one of the most anticipated events of the year. Jackson at the time was fuelled by his Dangerous album and some consider it one of the last great performances of his career. 

The halftime show's 'small' beginnings.

The Super Bowl halftime show as we know it today was birthed out of the "Small World salute to 25 years of the Super Bowl" presented by Walt Disney World and the NFL. It was also billed as "the first-ever all-kids Super Bowl halftime show." It may be looked back as awkward, with Minnie Mouse running around with a football player, and an appearance from George and Barbara Bush, but you could see glimmers of more modern halftime shows near the end when The New Kids on the Block performed Step by Step. While it was one of the first big half-time shows and marketed as an extravaganza, almost no one saw it as it was preempted by a speech by an ABC News update and was pushed until after the game or even later due to the scheduled debut of the oft-forgotten ABC/CBS sitcom Davis Rules.

Gloria Estefan pioneers the modern halftime show.

After the New Kids on the Block, the halftime show slowly started morphing into the halftime show that we know and love today. Gloria Estefan was the headliner for the extravagant winter-themed 1992 show, but this halftime show, much like the last, was mostly remembered for the audience it didn't draw in. Fox, an upstart network at the time, ran a special edition of its sketch comedy series In Living Colour opposite the show, which successfully stole a sizeable audience from the year's Super Bowl broadcaster, CBS. 

Beyoncé causes an uproar. 

While Coldplay was the headlining act for the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, Beyoncé arguably stole the show with her performance of Formation, which she released just a day before the big game. Her appearance, which occurred when race relations were tense in the U.S., drew enormous controversy with critics calling it a "race-baiting stunt." Some said the performance was anti-police and claimed that it included the black power salute and celebrated the Black Panthers.

U2 remembers 9/11.

When the wounds of 9/11 were still fresh, U2 used their halftime show to remember the victims of the terrorist attack in a moving tribute. During a performance of Where the Streets Have No Name, the names of those who died in the attack appeared on screen. It was a highly patriotic performance with Bono even wearing a jacket with the American flag lined inside. 

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