In the early days, before the Super Bowl became the ratings monster that it is today, the halftime shows featured marching bands and safe, middle-of-the road performers.
It wasn’t until 1991, when New Kids On The Block hit the stage, that any sort of contemporary pop artist was incorporated into the show. Michael Jackson performed two years later but the show for the most part remained relatively vanilla and inoffensive.
Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson had their infamous ‘Nipplegate’ incident in 2004 and after that it was pretty much ageing rockers (Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, The Who) and radio-friendly hit makers (Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga).
This year, the halftime show will feature Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, which should suit the Miami mood perfectly. But let’s not forget some of the shockers from the past…here are five of the worst.
Rockin’ Country Sunday
Super Bowl XXVIII (1994)
It’s hard to believe that in 1994, the year of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun and Warren G’s Regulate, the halftime show was an ‘all country all the time’ affair. Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and the Judds were the main acts, with special appearances in the finale by country icon Charlie Daniels, Stevie Wonder (?) and…wait for it…actor Elijah Wood.
Super Bowl XXIII (1989)
There have been plenty of bizarre halftime shows but the Elvis Presto performance was one of the few in history that didn’t feature a known star. ‘Elvis Presto’ in fact, was an Elvis Presley impersonator who didn’t actually sing any Elvis songs. Played by a dancer named Alex Cole from the Solid Gold TV show, Presto put on a halftime show that included an audience participation card trick as well as a 3-D advertisement (wow, the future!) from Diet Coke. A far cry from Beyonce, Prince or Bruno Mars.
Super Bowl XXVI (1992)
Here’s a list of what this cold weather Super Bowl (played indoors) delivered at halftime:
-a 400-member drill team
-a 60-piece tuxedo-clad Minnesota Youth Symphony
-Olympic skating champions Dorothy Hamill and Brian Boitano putting on an exhibition
-a giant silk Frosty the Snowman
-a Frosty rap song called ‘Do The Frosty’ (yes you read that correctly)
Up With People
Super Bowls X (1976), XVI (1982), XX (1986)
“If more people were for people/all people everywhere/there’d be a lot less people to worry about/and a lot more people to care.”
Those were the lyrics to ‘Up With People’ sung by the group called, er, Up With People, a squeaky-clean group of singers (some would say a cult) who became the first non-marching band Super Bowl halftime act.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye
Super Bowl XXIX (1995)
Essentially a Disney tool to promote their new Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, this one’s usually at the top of most ‘worst halftime show’ lists.