The Past 20 Super Bowl Halftime Shows, Ranked From Best to Worst
The Super Bowl halftime show has been captivating audiences for years now, but it’s come a long way since the jazzercisers and Elvis impersonators of decades past. These days, you can pretty much count on a chart-topping headliner for each show, accompanied by a few equally exciting special guests. That said, some performers put on a better show than others, and UK-based online retailer OnBuy.com conducted a study to find out which ones. After asking 4376 fans to vote on their favorite halftime shows from the last 20 years, researchers combined those findings with two other stats: the number of YouTube video views for each performance, and the ratio of YouTube “likes” to “dislikes.” They then awarded each show a final score out of 60 and listed them from highest to lowest.
Based on their results, Coldplay’s 2016 performance is the best Super Bowl halftime show of the 21st century so far. If it seems surprising that a soft rock band would triumph over bona fide pop stars known for dance-heavy spectacles, let us remind you that Beyoncé and Bruno Mars featured heavily in the concert. Beyoncé’s headlining performance from three years prior—with a surprise appearance from the other two members of Destiny’s Child—tied for fourth place with Madonna’s 2012 halftime show. And Bruno Mars’s 2014 performance with the Red Hot Chili Peppers just made the top 10 (tied with Justin Timberlake’s 2018 show).
It seems that Super Bowl viewers are especially partial to pop divas. In addition to Madonna and Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry all made the top 10. As for the other end of the list, not even a cameo from SpongeBob could save Maroon 5’s widely panned performance from 2019—it came in last place with just 16 points.
- Coldplay, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars (2016) // 48
- Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Emme Muñiz (2020) // 46
- Prince (2007) // 44
- Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams (2013) // 43
- Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green (2012) // 43
- Lady Gaga (2017) // 41
- Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott (2015) // 38
- Paul McCartney (2005) // 33
- U2 (2002) // 33
- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2008) // 32
- Aerosmith, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly (2001) // 29
- Justin Timberlake (2018) // 27
- Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers (2014) // 27
- The Rolling Stones (2006) // 26
- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (2009) // 26
- The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash (2011) // 24
- Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting (2003) // 19
- The Who (2010) // 18
- Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson, Nelly, Kid Rock (2004) // 17
- Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Big Boi (2019) // 16