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The best and worst of Super Bowl halftime shows

The NFL reaches its Super Bowl LVII this year and pop-icon Rihanna is soon to take this year's stage during the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. Regardless if one hates the sport, the Super Bowl halftime is a time when everyone comes together to enjoy some of music's brightest and finest. But with such a huge responsibility, not every performer can show up and show out. 

With a new performance just days away, here are some of the best and worst of the Super Bowl halftime shows.

Worst: Maroon 5

When the Spongebob Squarepants dedication was the most notable thing in the whole performance, you know you played poorly. No one wanted to see Adam Levine take his shirt off or see him perform at all. Cameos of Travis Scott and Big Boi did what they had to do to keep the performance afloat, but all in all, this halftime show is the most forgettable in all of Super Bowl history. 

Best: Madonna

Madonna understood the assignment. With decades of experience and iconic music in her back pocket, it was no question that Madonna would show up and show out. The Roman theme gives the performance a memorable theme, even with the "Roman" icon herself, Nicki Minaj. Other astonishing cameos were LMFAO, Cee Lo Green and M.I.A. Plus, her performance has one of the best uses of a stage and its visuals. The ball never truly stops rolling as the show is visually and audibly stunning, including the outstanding work on the transitions from one song to another. 

Worst: N'Sync, Britney Spears and Aerosmith

This was the first of three Timberlake halftime appearances with his previous ensemble, N'Sync. Britney Spears, who stole the whole show with her feature on "Walk This Way," deserves her own headlining halftime and it's a shame she didn't get one thus far. Mary J. Blige made an appearance as well but was way underused. Opening up with "Bye, Bye, Bye" makes sense, but it would have made a better closing. Aerosmith then transitioned in with "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", a horrible choice considering how somber that song is and how many other songs in their discography would have been more suitable. All in all, it doesn't feel like these three artists are compatible at all with each other. It may not be a coincidence that there has not been another halftime show performed by a boy band ever since this one in 2001. 

Best: Michael Jackson

Only the King of Pop could stand in silence for 90 seconds and make it iconic. Performing in 1993, when the concept of the halftime show was changing and becoming more important to the yearly event, Jackson set a precedent for future performances. He opened up with iconic songs like "Billie Jean" and "Black and White" and made a performative difference with "Heal the World." 

Worst: Phil Collins, Enrique Iglesias and Christina Aguilera

A lineup like this should not have disappointed audiences, but sadly it did. Collins didn't get to perform his solo work or his Genesis hits. Instead, he got stuck playing the songs from "Tarzan," making it an overall complete bummer. The duet between Aguilera and Iglesias was subpar but not worth remembering. But between this and the National Anthem Aguilera would go on to obliterate, this was definitely the better of the two. 

Best: Lady Gaga

It would be a Lady Gaga performance if it wasn't "gaga." Opening up with the Pledge of Allegiance was bold, especially emphasizing "for all." The choreography is in her signature style, the dance moves all the monsters know by heart. All of her hit songs meshed incredibly well together, with no dull moment. Each outfit change was better than the last, especially her bedazzled football shoulder pads. The only unsatisfying part was that Beyonce did not join in to sing "Telephone."

Worst: Justin Timberlake

All that came out of this performance was the selfie kid. What might be said to be a redemption arc for this incident at his previous Super Bowl performance, he did not give America the justice we very much deserve. It's also shocking that he has been a part of three different halftime shows, each one worse than the previous. With this one being his headliner, his biggest mistake was opening with a newer song of his, instead of one that is heavily recognizable and guaranteed to get viewers excited for his entire show. Also, it was completely unnecessary for him of all people to do a Prince tribute. Let's hope that this is sincerely the last time the NFL allows Justin Timberlake to perform the halftime show. 

Best: Beyonce

Beyonce's performance was so amazing that not even the stadium could handle her greatness. "Where my ring at?" she shouted during her performance of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," signifying that she deserves a Super Bowl ring of her own. From the stunning Destiny's Child reunion to the vocally powerful "Halo" performance at the end, this was history in the making. It was incredibly hard to keep one's eyes off the amazing choreography and the stunning stage visuals, basically an eyes-widening, phenomenal watch from start to finish. The NFL should just let her perform every year at this point, regardless of whether the stadium can hold all that star power. 

Worst: The Black Eyed Peas

It was devastating for The Black Eyed Peas to underperform with such amazing hit songs. With horrible tech issues and somewhat poor vocals from each member, it was unpleasing the whole way through. The transition from "Boom Boom Pow" to Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" was atrocious, with Fergie attempting to imitate Axl Rose's vocals. Not to say the visuals and outfits weren't cool, Fergie wore a blinged-up set of shoulder pads, matching the light-up robotic get-ups of the fellow members. 

Best: Prince

Prince famously stated, "Can you make it rain harder?" before his 2007 appearance at the Colts vs Bears matchup. He somehow managed to slip and fall while wearing heels which poured down the whole performance. He performed amazing covers, including Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and Foo Fighter's "Best of You." Prince ended the show with one of his best-known songs, "Purple Rain," while wailing away on the guitar as he always does so eloquently. Overall, Prince's halftime show was iconic because it was a celebration of music.


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