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The Top Five Greatest, Gayest Super Bowl Halftime Shows

by Dan Tracer February 05, 2016


On Sunday, gays across America will participate in the time-honored tradition of running in from the other room at a Super Bowl party yelling “Is it halftime yet?!”

While this year’s show features decidedly yawn-inducing mom-rockers Coldplay, we’re sure Beyonce will bring the energy (and perhaps the bindi).


If you find yourself wondering what, if anything, could possibly top Katy Perry’s “left shark” moment from last year, either your memory isn’t serving you or you need better taste in music.

Luckily, a trip into halftime-shows-gone-by will help with either scenario.

Here are our five favorites:

5. Aerosmith, ‘Nsync & Britney Spears, 2001

At the onset of the aughts, you couldn’t do much better than mix the pinnacle of bubblegum pop with a healthy dose of rock. Aerosmith provided just enough edge to the teeny-boppers to keep things interesting, albeit largely predictable.

4. Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake, 2004

Not many live performances can take credit for coining a still-used phrase, but on this night in ’04, “wardrobe malfunction” entered the popular lexicon. Also: “nipplegate.” But boob finale aside, these two gave everything we want in a halftime show and more. You had us at “Rhythm Nation.”

3. Madonna, 2012

Spectacle and Madonna are practically synonyms, so she must have been a no-brainer when it came to picking a halftime act. This was just before MDNA was released, and the anticipation around the alum mixed with crowd-pleasing guests M.I.A., CeeLo Green and Nicki Minaj made for a stimulating 13-odd minutes. Ending with “Like A Prayer” was a very, very good call.

2. Beyonce, 2013

Bey’s show, like every one of her live appearances, was utterly flawless. It’s almost like she rehearsed or something. Her style is made for massive venues like the Super Bowl, and you better believe she owned that stage performing hits from “Love On Top” to “Single Ladies.” Extra bonus points for reuniting Destiny’s Child when Kelly Rowland and Michelle Willams shot up from underneath the stage to join Bey for “Bootylicious,” “Independent Women” and “Single Ladies.”

1. Prince, 2007

Prince – Superbowl 2007 by tuxboard

We’re actually surprised we were even able to find this video to share. The famously controlling super star of rock, funk and everything in between keeps a tight lid on video recordings. So watch now before it disappears (though nine years have passed so it’s probably safe). The incomparably enigmatic and sensual artist delivered and then some with his own hits and covers like “Proud Mary,” but the audience really explodes at “Purple Rain.”

Dan Tracer
Dan Tracer


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