There is no gig in music like the Super Bowl halftime show. You have 15 minutes to justify your legend. You have 150 million people watching, most of whom are distracted by the nachos platter, how much beer is left in the fridge or how much of the rent they bet on the game. Chances are it’s the biggest worldwide audience of your life, and getting it right means rising to the hugeness of the moment.
Here’s a subjective, personal, irresponsible and indefensible breakdown of the winners and losers, updated all the way through 2022’s Dr. Dre-led hip-hop throwdown. The Bonos and Beyoncés and Bruces and Britneys. The Janets and Justins. From Prince and Madonna, from Michael to Macca. Plus the year they trapped poor Gloria Estefan in a Minnesota “Winter Magic” pageant with a bunch of figure skaters and inflatable snowmen. Believe it or not, all these Super Bowl halftime shows really happened. Some were transcendent. Some sucked. Pass those bacon fritters and enjoy the show.