Diva Diana Ross made everyone proud at the 1996 Super Bowl halftime show. Ross descended upon the stage in a sparkling crane as she shouted, “Come on, world!”. The soulful singer had dozens of backup dancers in red vests running around the stage.
The grand finale came as Ross announced, “Oh my, here comes my ride!”, and a helicopter landed on the stage. The diva boarded the helicopter and flew away in a grandiose act that had never been seen before. Now that’s an exit!
Best: Stevie Wonder, 1999
The crowds in Miami clamored when they saw Stevie Wonder appear for the Super Bowl halftime show of 1999. As always, Wonder was as good as ever, playing all-time favorites that made the audience dance their feet off. He also played a homage to Duke Ellington’s 100th birthday with the song “Sir Duke”.
To boot, Gloria Estefan recovered from her 1992 halftime show flop and wowed people with a salsa percussion performance. And who can forget the cameo from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy? Or Stevie Wonder driving on the football field?!
Best: Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2014
Performing at the halftime show one year after Beyonce’s stellar act must have been nerve-wracking, but fortunately, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers pulled it off. After dozens of teenage dancers took the stage for the 2014 halftime show, Bruno Mars suddenly filled the spotlight by banging on the drums. Mars sang, played all the instruments, danced around, and was basically a one-man show.
Then the legendary rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers appeared on stage, and everyone went wild. The band took off their shirts and started going crazy on stage and playing their most beloved hits. It was like a rave on stage.
Best: Paul McCartney, 2005
You will never read the name Paul McCartney on any list that’s not “the best of.” Back in 2005, the ex-Beatle dazzled crowds with an opening performance of “Drive My Car” and “Get Back,” setting the stage for what would be a six-year stretch of classic rock halftime shows for the Super Bowl.
Considering this was one year after the Janet Jackson fiasco, Sir Paul McCartney certainly saved the day. He closed the show with “Live and Let Die” and “Hey Jude,” People were cheering as if it were a Beatles concert in the 60s.
Best: Coldplay, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, 2016
In 2016 the beloved British band opened with “Yellow” and followed with “Viva la Vida”, both great songs to get any crowd going. Especially when “Viva la Vida” is performed along a huge kid orchestra led by the musical maestro, Gustavo Dudamel. The segway was even better when Beyonce appeared on stage and delivered a performance like the diva she is.
To top it off, Bruno Marks appeared and sang his hit “Uptown Funk,” to then be immediately joined again by Beyonce and Coldplay for an amazing performance of “Up&Up” and “Fix You.”