Less than two weeks after her controversial rendition of the National Anthem at President Obama’s inaugural ceremony, Beyoncé returned to the national spotlight on Sunday evening at New Orleans’ Superdome for a mammoth Super Bowl halftime show performance. The pop star unleashed a medley of her best tunes – including older hits like “Crazy in Love” (sans her husband, Jay-Z), “Halo” and “Baby Boy,” and more recent cuts like “Love on Top” and “End of Time” – decked out in an oversized black jacket, lace-and-leather bodysuit and thigh-high stockings.
Seemingly invigorated by recent criticism of her “Star-Spangled Banner” performance, Beyoncé flaunted her supreme vocal and dancing chops throughout the halftime show. Backed by an all-female band, including a guitarist with a fire-spewing guitar, she appeared mid-field as an audio snippet of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi blared overhead. She opened with a tease of “Love on Top” before launching into her first solo single, “Crazy in Love,” as a crew of backing dancers stomped and shimmied in unison. Next came a sultry, horn-inflected “End of Time,” from her most recent album, 4, after which Beyoncé stood before an electronic screen depicting multiple images of herself as she got sassy to “Baby Boy.”
The spotlight may have been on Beyoncé, but her set’s biggest moment came when the singer reunited with her fellow Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams (the trio recently released their first single in nearly a decade, “Nuclear”). Rowland and Williams popped out on the gargantuan stage – constructed to resemble two Beyoncé faces gazing at one another – and launched into a rendition of their backside-glorifying anthem “Bootylicious” before cranking up the energy even higher with a take on “Independent Woman: Part 1,” their smash hit from the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack. The performance ended fittingly with the trio striking a pose in the form of the film’s lead crime-fighting female characters.
“Kelly, Michelle, you want to help me sing this one?” Beyoncé asked her counterparts, moments before the threesome charged into her chart-topping hit “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” Then, as her former groupmates exited the stage, Beyoncé told the crowd, “I wanna feel your energy,” before closing out her set with an emotional rendition of her power ballad “Halo.” She rocked out, hair flailing and on her knees, at the lip of the stage, then collapsed on her back as the stadium lights went dark.
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Watch Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime show below: