Around here we only watch the Super Bowl for one reason, to see history being made. These to us are the only performances that matter.
This year we are looking at a completely different Super Bowl scenario due to the pandemic but are excited nonetheless. The performances we listed raised the bar and shook the earth beneath them. It would be an injustice to celebrate this year without looking back at the best of the best because Abel has some greatness to live up to.
2017: Lady Gaga
With a large part of her documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two” leading up to this history-making moment, we know exactly what effort and hard work went into this performance. Once she and her team find out that they got the gig, Gaga knows that this is a chance for her to showcase her discography not only to her dearest fans but also to a demographic who might not be so familiar with her “Born This Way” lyrics. What is amazing is that it ends up becoming the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show in history. We don’t really need to tell you why, although I find that rewatching this performance every couple of months makes tends to keep me going mentally.
During the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami, FL Prince took the stage in what was basically a tropical storm. Producers recall asking Prince if he was okay to perform in the rain and in return he asked them, “can you make it rain harder?” With an incredible list of hits under his belt Price decided that he would rather honor the music itself and cover some iconic songs with his own special twist. That included opening with the sports anthem of Queen's "We Will Rock You," hints of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" and Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and a personal favorite, Foo Fighters' "Best of You." His most iconic moment that will happily be seared into my brain was his performance of Purple Rain while thousands of gallons of Miami’s rainwater dropped all around him.
It is always great to see that Beyoncé is very respectful of the talent and careers that have paved the way for singers like herself to be more successful. It will be interesting when younger artists start paying their respects to Beyoncé in the same way. At this point, Beyoncé is at the height of her career and is giving us mere glimpses of what she would bring in future performances. The first Destiny’s Child reunion would happen here. The “Single Ladies” performance with her fellow bandmates is rocking the nation at that moment thanks to the SNL spoof featuring Justin Timberlake. She feels very grounded with this performance and what is cool is that we only see it improve over the years.
2019: Shakira & JLo
Disregarding the fact that this happened to be the most recent happy memory before the world was overrun by a pandemic, Shakira and JLo did an amazing job at sharing this special spotlight. It is mental for me to look back and second guess their performance for this event because when I first heard that they would be headlining the Super Bowl in Miami I was kinda sad that it wasn’t a spot that was reserved for Pitbull. However, I quickly realized that I was not thinking straight because there was nothing more perfect than these two taking the stage together that night. Not only was it a win for the Hispanic community, but it was also a huge win for female artists. Both walked out there with zero fucks to give and dished out the performance of a lifetime. Shakira opened the show and brought out Bad Bunny, and JLo (with her pole dancing arm muscles) showed us how to be sexy period. My two alternate mothers were a complete hit and to all the people who complained to the FCC about hypersexualization, we are not friends.
2016: Katy Perry & Missy Elliot
The first time I ever saw Katy Perry perform she came out on stage in a banana and unpeeled herself out of it. So to me, this performance was everything. It was the moment Left Shark was born. I honestly could end the wrap up here but I guess I will keep going. Katy Perry served us “Leo Energy” and rode out onto the field atop a giant mechanical cat for her song “Roar.” She also brought to life the chart-topping single “Firework,” and gave Missy Elliot some well-deserved screen time. The only bummer was that the NFL wouldn’t let us live out the full queer vibes of “I Kissed A Girl” on national television. That needed to be shared with Lenny Kravitz singing the lyrics up close rather than Katy. Oh well.
She was literally brought out onto the field on a chariot pulled by hundreds of male servants. Iconic and enough said.