We’re weeks away from Rihanna taking over the Super Bowl LVII halftime show on Feb. 12. But before the superstar makes her sure-to-be-triumphant return to the stage, let’s look back on the halftime spectacles that have come before her.
The 2023 game marks 30 years since Michael Jackson‘s Super Bowl performance of 1993, which marked the beginning of a new kind of halftime show — one where fans began expecting to see the superstars they love enlisted to put on a career-defining set filled with lights, music and often a special surprise or two.
Throughout the last three decades, everyone from Katy Perry and Madonna to Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones have graced center stage between the goalposts, and we want to know which halftime performance is your all-time favorite.
In Billboard‘s official ranking, staffers put Prince‘s 2007 set at the very top thanks to The Purple One’s mix of his own hits with covers of Queen (“We Will Rock You”), Bob Dylan (“All Along the Watchtower”) and Creedence Clearwater Revival by way of Tina Turner (“Proud Mary”), though the defining act of his halftime show was the extended coda of “Purple Rain” as actual rain poured down in the stadium.
Then there’s U2‘s set just months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, which brought the still-mourning nation together for a special tribute that included “Beautiful Day,” “MLK” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
Of course, the most memorable Super Bowl moment of all time occurred in 2004 when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake headlined and an accidental tear-away (or expertly planned shock to the system, depending on who you ask) in the closing strains of “Rock Your Body” rocketed the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” into the cultural vernacular.
Other modern triumphs at the Super Bowl halftime show have come in recent years courtesy of Beyoncé, whose incredible 2013 set shut down the power in the third quarter of the game; Lady Gaga, who kicked off her 2017 performance by singing “God Bless America” and jumping from the roof of the stadium; and Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, whose combined dance moves and costumes sparked a flood of controversy just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic took over the world.
And last year, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg headlined an epic hip-hop show with help from Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak that electrified the hometown crowd at L.A.’s SoFi Stadium with hits like “California Love,” “No More Drama” and “Still D.R.E.”
Vote for your favorite Super Bowl halftime show below!