Super Bowl 50 took place Sunday night and the players were in rare form. The Carolina Panthers against the Broncos. The Panthers haven’t seen a Super Bowl since 2003, and the Denver Broncos since 1998. Both teams played for their lives, with their Broncos coming out on top as the Super Bowl 50 winner.
Going along with tradition, the Super Bowl performers and performances have become just as iconic as the Super Bowl game itself. Every year, fan anticipation is high for the next round of musicians who look to sing the Super Bowl national anthem and Super Bowl halftime show. Starting with the performance tradition in 1967, the Super Bowl national anthem was performed by University of Arizona, University of Michigan Marching Bands, and UCLA choir, while the Super Bowl halftime show was performed by the Grambling State University Marching Band, Al Hirt, Anaheim High School Drill Team and Flag Girls.
Since then, the Super Bowl has stepped up in spectacle and star power with some of the best singers and performers in the business. Here is a list of the best Super Bowl national anthem, and best halftime show performances.
Best Super Bowl National Anthem Performance Whitney Houston, 1991
In the 90s, Whitney Houston was a singer in absolute top form. She was high off the success of her 1990 album, I’m Your Baby Tonight. According to her official site, her debut self-titled album, Whitney Houston, is considered one of the best selling debut albums by a female artist of all time.
Along with the Florida Orchestra, Houston gave what is considered the best rendition of the national anthem at any Super Bowl. Her performance has yet to be topped by another artist. The version was so moving that you can see fans, and players, in tears. Take a look at the Super Bowl 25 clip of Houston singing her legendary version of the Star-Spangled Banner at the Tampa, Florida, stadium on YouTube.
Best Super Bowl National Anthem Performance: Mariah Carey, 2002
Following in Whitney Houston’s footsteps, soulful songstress Mariah Carey performed at the Superdome in New Orleans at Super Bowl 36 in 2002. Between her album debut and her Super Bowl performance, Mariah Carey had a slew of No. 1 hits. Rolling Stone states that Carey’s first hit single, “Vision Of Love,” set the standard for all soul and R&B singers of the 90s until now. Her hit duet song, “One Sweet Day,” featuring R&B group Boyz II Men is the longest running hit song to top the U.S. music charts, clocking in at 16 weeks.
Her voice is simply angelic, and it’s why her version is one of the best Super Bowl national anthem performances. Watch this YouTube clip and judge for yourself.
Best Super Bowl National Anthem Performance: Lady Gaga, 2016
Lady Gaga has really transformed herself over the past four years. Her look and sound has changed dramatically. She has gone from pop-star, to avant-garde mother monster, to charismatic jazz singer? She really gave it her all on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in California for Super Bowl 50.
Critics and fans seem to agree that her performance was top-notch and among one of the best. If you didn’t watch the Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, watch a clip of Lady Gaga singing the national anthem here on YouTube.
Best Super Bowl Halftime Performance: Michael Jackson, 1993
Before Super Bowl 27, the halftime show performances were not really performances. There were good singers and performers, but nothing too exciting. However, in 1993, Michael Jackson set the standard for how halftime shows should be. According to Wikipedia, his halftime show performance brought in the most new ratings of any halftime show performer ever.
It was from there it was decided that the NFL would put forth more effort to attracting big-name stars to perform at the halftime show. Jackson electrified the audience with his singing, dancing, and concert theatrics. Michael Jackson is the reason why fans to this day look forward to the Super Bowl halftime show. There has yet to be a performance that has topped Michael Jackson. He is the king of pop, after all. Watch on YouTube.
The best Super Bowl national anthem and the halftime shows have made their mark, and have officially become a part of pop-culture. While this year’s Super Bowl is over, next year should have some surprises in store for who will perform next.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]