10 Worst Super Bowl Halftime Shows Ever
Super Bowl halftime shows have to be the hardest thing in the world to put together. How on earth are you supposed to please over 100 million people at the same time?
With that degree of difficulty, you have to really go for it. When it goes right, it's a sight to behold, a huge accomplishment. But when it goes wrong, well, there are few things that go worse.
So set your volume to mute as we count through the 10 worst Super Bowl halftime shows that you undoubtedly have tried to forget.
No. 10: Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004)
Primary offenders: Janet Jackson's breast, Kid Rock
Overall, this was a pretty solid show. People forget that before the wardrobe malfunction, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were doing a great job.
Of course, you still have the awful middle section where Kid Rock was all Kid Rock-y and P Diddy was there only because of the annoying Rock the Vote campaign.
But you can't talk about this halftime show, or any subsequent halftime show from here to eternity, without mentioning the wardrobe malfunction. So for that reason alone, this belongs on the bottom.
No. 9: Super Bowl XXXI (1997)
Primary offenders: Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman
How in the world do you mess up a halftime show that features James Brown and ZZ Top? By kicking it off and featuring a heavy dose of Jim Belushi.
Let's be clear, bad performers singing good songs does not make a good performance. Watching this again gives me nightmarish flashbacks of Blues Brothers 2000 and According to Jim. Not the way you want to go.
Jim Belushi is not John Belushi. If whoever put this show together figured that out ahead of time, this may have been salvaged.
No. 8: Super Bowl XXXIV (2000)
Primary offenders: Disney, Enrique Iglesias and Christina Aguilera
It doesn't feel like this show is 13 years old.
It starts with a bunch of people in weird, cult-like costumes dancing around a giant idol, followed by Enrique and X-Tina singing a corny song that nobody knew which prominently featured the flute.
And as much as I love Edward James Olmos, I don't need a narrator in my halftime show. This isn't a New Year's Day parade. And it certainly isn't the Olympics, which Disney was trying so desperately to be.
No. 7: Super Bowl XXV (1991)
Primary offenders: Disney
I'm giving New Kids on the Block a pass for this. The poor New Kids did the best they could with this atrocity. This one is on Disney.
Yes, NKOTB was the biggest group in the world at this point, but they were awkwardly shoe-horned into a big weird salute to "It's a Small World" and a tribute to our troops.
In fact, it didn't even air until after the game as a result of coverage of Desert Storm. You had to turn to the Disney Channel to catch this act.
If you're going to make a bad halftime show, at least make it hard to watch. I'll give them props for that.
No. 6: Super Bowl XLVI (2012)
Primary offenders: LMFAO, MIA
I will say this about the show: Madonna was better than pretty much everyone expected. She moved well for someone my mom's age. She was not the issue.
My problem with this was that the show subjected the largest TV audience of all time to the plague known as LMFAO. Nothing will ever make that OK.
Throw in the attention-grabbing middle finger of MIA, and this was not a good night for acronyms. Thankfully, BRB and LOL left unscathed.
No. 5: Super Bowl XX (1986)
Primary offenders: Up With People
Really, I could have chosen any of the five times that Up With People were involved in the halftime show. Five times! Who kept hiring these people?
Up With People was a bland group that sang bland music in bland fashion. Thankfully, 1986 was the last time they were ever invited. This was the performance that put it over the edge, I guess.
As Chris Nashawaty said, "If you’re too young to remember Up With People, let’s put it this way — they are the music that gets played in hell’s waiting room."
No. 4: Super Bowl XLV (2011)
Primary offenders: The Black Eyed Peas
Look, The Black Eyed Peas are barely serviceable when they are in the studio and have producers covering up their every flaw. Live, you had everyone watching going "wait, they get paid to do this? Like, a lot of money?"
As if that wasn't bad enough, they had to dig up Slash wherever he was and drag him out so that Fergie could murder "Sweet Child O' Mine" as if Axl Rose hadn't done enough damage to it over the years.
No space age, blinking outfits could save this show.
No. 3: Super Bowl XXVI (1992)
Primary offenders: Minnesota
Look, Minnesota, we let you host the Super Bowl. You don't have to take the entire halftime show trying to convince us that winter is awesome and that it's so great that you guys live in a place that has it essentially all year long.
From the terrible hosts setting up the proceedings like a parade ("Come to Minnesota, where winter is the hottest time of the year") to the song "Winter Magic" that kicked things off, this was awful from start to finish.
No. 2: Super Bowl XXIX (1995)
Primary offenders: Disney
The fact that all video of this show has been scrubbed from existence should be proof enough of its terribleness.
It was essentially Disney trying to drum up interest for their Indiana Jones ride, but thankfully, they couldn't get Harrison Ford to partake in this atrocity. It revolved around another Indiana Jones chasing after the Lombardi trophy.
Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle were dragged into this, both looking very confused and possibly frightened.
Maybe it's best that we never have to see this again.
No. 1: Super Bowl XXIII (1989)
Primary offenders: Elvis Presto, bad special effects
The description of this halftime show sounds like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch: a magician Elvis impersonator named Elvis Presto did an audience-wide card trick while 1989 3D effects brought to you by Diet Coke went on in the background.
Try watching a video of this and making it all the way through. Somebody thought this was a good idea. Multiple somebodies. It's a mystery of epic proportion how this happened.