At Super Bowl XLVII, Beyoncé proved once again proved why she is one of the greatest entertainers of modern time. She has the total package – voice, dance, looks, and a tireless work ethic on full display in every show. She is simply the complete performer.
Her show was so powerful that some erroneously believed it contributed to the 34-minute power outage that occurred in the beginning of the third quarter. Beyoncé’s legacy grows with every event. What a memorable two-week period in her sterling and continuously rising career. She went from being selected to sing the National Anthem at the second inauguration of President Obama to headlining the Super Bowl halftime show. After the lip synching controversy at the inauguration, she came out and did a cappella version at the press conference leading into Super Bowl weekend.
Beyoncé’s performance will be forever considered a highlight of Super Bowl XLVII and will always be remembered as one of the best performances in Super Bowl halftime history.
When you look at Super Bowl halftime performances, it is starting to look like pop artists like Beyoncé tend to give the most memorable, if not the best, shows. These performers include:
Michael Jackson, 1993, Super Bowl XXVII
The Prince of Pop proved why there were none better at a live performance on the big stage. His set included “Billie Jean,” “Black and White,” and “Heal the World.” Michael ushered in the big production show that has become the hallmark of Super Bowl performances.
Madonna, 2012, Super Bowl XLVI
The Queen of Pop reclaimed her throne with a whirlwind performance. It was the highest rated halftime show in history and proved that Madonna still holds a revered and hallow place in the hall of entertainers. The show highlighted Madonna’s timelessness by pairing her with hip-hop artists Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. Filled with elaborate sets, tons of extras, and costume changes, Madonna gave a show for the ages.
Prince, 2007, Super Bowl XLI
The Artist Formerly Known As was considered a risky selection. Prince is known for his controversial live performances. He toned it down a bit for the Super Bowl and gave a memorable performance. From the sports anthem “We Will Rock You” to his signature song “Purple Rain,” Prince showed what a guitar impresario can do when cut loose. He had soaring guitar solos and awesome covers of “Best of You” and “All Along the Watchtower.” The closing song “Purple Rain” was delivered with the typical Prince vigor and panache climaxing an epic performance. Prince’s halftime performance was nominated for an Emmy.
The problem so far with the pop artists is that they seem to give the most controversial performances. During Madonna’s routine, hip-hop artist M.I.A. flipped the bird to the TV audience and many thought Prince used his guitar as a phallic symbol during "Purple Rain."
The most famous controversy was pop artist Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. During the 2004 Super Bowl, Jackson’s breast was exposed in an act with Justin Timberlake. “Nipplegate” overshadowed what was a great show and caused the Super Bowl to change directions in its halftime shows. Over the next several Super Bowls, they chose to play it safe by going through a series of rock and roll legends. Paul McCartney (2005, Super Bowl XXXIX), The Rolling Stones (2006, Super Bowl XL), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2008, Super Bowell XLII), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (2009, Super Bowl XLIII) and The Who (2010, Super Bowl XLIV) were considered safe acts. They had world wide appeal and were not likely to do anything controversial because they were all considered well past their bad boy years.
The question now becomes who the Super Bowl turns to next. They have done rock and roll, they have done country (1994, Super Bowl XXVIII) and they have done ensemble (2001, Super Bowl XXXV) and tribute (1998, Super Bowl XXXII, Tribute to Motown) shows. One medium they haven’t done is hip-hop. It might be time to let a hip-hop artist – Jay-Z – highlight the show. It would not have universal appeal, but what does? Besides, it would certainly pull in huge ratings. Or maybe they’ll stay with pop artists. Lady Gaga or Katy Perry might fit the bill. Finally, it wouldn’t surprise me if they tried to give contemporary country a chance with artists like Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and/or Lady Antebellum.
Or they could take my advice and invite Beyoncé back again. She gave one of the greatest performances in Super Bowl history and it was the second highest rated performance in halftime history, yet it wasn’t her best performance, if you can imagine that. I know I wouldn’t be the only one who would like to see her do it again.
Just for the record, I didn’t forget U2. They gave one of the best performances in Super Bowl halftime history back in 2002, Super Bowl XXXVI. Their performance after the 9/11 attack on the U.S. was inspiring and memorable.