Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Beyoncé: Why Their Super Bowl Halftime Shows Are Considered The Best

The Super Bowl Halftime Show gig is usually a huge honor for a star. It’s a major promotional vehicle. If the show is well received, it could do wonders for the performer’s career. If the show is poorly received, it can hurt or even kill somebody’s career (see Janet Jackson).

Beyoncé, Madonna, and Michael Jackson’s performances for the Halftime Show are considered the best, and even though the stars weren’t paid for their performances, the promotional blitz helped them make a lot of money.

Michael Jackson’s performance in 1993 was considered groundbreaking in that it turned the Halftime Show into a pop music spectacle. Vogue described the importance of Jackson’s show.

“Jackson established the DNA for pretty much all of modern entertainment, and, no surprise, his then-novel approach to the Super Bowl halftime show is still the standard more than 20 years later.”

As Vogue notes, Jackson did a medley of his greatest hits. He also lip-synced the entire show, which is common now because there are many things that can go wrong with the audio. The performance helped Jackson briefly revive his career after he faced a huge backlash in 1992 for lower than usual album sales.

Madonna had been away from the music scene for almost four years when she performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2012. Some didn’t like the decision to have Madonna perform at the show. However, as Billboard notes, the Queen of Pop definitely delivered.

“Riding a huge buzz for her then-forthcoming album ‘MDNA,’ Madonna charged into her Super Bowl XLVI halftime performance as the quasi-gladiatorial captain of a cheerleading squad that included LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and Cee Lo Green.”

Billboard adds that despite almost slipping with high-heels, Madonna came back with a vengeance with her epic “Like a Prayer” finale. The performance led to excellent ticket sales for Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” later that year.

Finally, there is Beyoncé. Her Super Bowl show was so hot that people joked about it being the cause of the power outage later in the show. Bey didn’t have an album out and wouldn’t until the end of the year, but that hardly mattered. The New York Times described how Beyoncé ruled the night.

“And so for 12 or so minutes at the center of the Superdome field on Sunday night, she balanced explosions and humanity, imperiousness with warmth, an arena-ready sense of scale with a microscopic approach to the details of her vocals.”

The article adds that Beyoncé was one of the few artists whose attitude matched the ferocity of her songs. The Super Bowl helped Beyoncé sell tickets for her upcoming “Ms. Carter Show World Tour.” However, it was most effective in restoring her reputation, which took a huge hit after it was revealed that Ms. Carter lip-synced the National Anthem at President Obama’s inauguration. After Bey’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance, nobody even remembered the backlash from the inauguration.

Coldplay Super Bowl

Coldplay will star in 2016’s Halftime Show, and Bey is scheduled to join the band on stage for the song “Hymn for the Weekend.” Let’s hope she doesn’t wear the same Indian garb she wore in the video for the song, which was widely accused of cultural appropriation. Of course, many people realize that Ms. Carter didn’t mean any harm, but they don’t want controversy to overshadow the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Which Super Bowl Halftime Show did you think was the best? Let us know in the comments section.

[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]