January 28, 2009
In the past two decades, the Super Bowl halftime show has become an event in and of itself. There are likely a good number of people across the country who can't name the two teams playing on Sunday but know that Bruce Springsteen will be taking the stage at halftime.
Today, Shutdown Corner looks at the five most memorable halftime performances from the Super Bowl, beginning with the most infamous of all:
1) Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake - Super Bowl XXXVII
It's been five years (!) since Janet and Justin stunned America with their glorified striptease. Watching the replay, you may be surprised to see how quickly the offending body part was shown (less than a second) and how little of it was really seen. (The floral covering left more to the imagination than many outfits worn by NFL cheerleaders.)
Despite all the attention, the incident did little for Jackson's already-floundering career. Her partner in crime, however, is still one of the biggest pop stars in America. (We've never thought Timberlake got enough credit for the "wardrobe malfunction" line, by the way. If that phrase was created at the spur of the moment, bravo.)
2) Michael Jackson -- Super Bowl XXVII
Michael Jackson first performed at the Super Bowl two years earlier (which wasn't aired live because ABC ran updates about the Gulf War), but the 1993 version is his most memorable. At halftime of the Cowboys-Bills game, The King of Pop performed a medley of his most famous hits alongside 3,500 local children. If you thought Janet's performance ended poorly, just think how badly that could have turned out.
3) Up With People -- Super Bowl XVI
MJ's '93 show took Super Bowl halftime shows to another level. For all the excess that has typified the performances since then, it's tough to argue that this hasn't been a development that has benefited all of humanity. To prove this statement, may I introduce Exhibit A:
4) U2 -- Super Bowl XXXV
The 9/11 tribute was touching but was dwarfed by Bono's overwhelming sense of self-importance.
5) The Puppy Bowl -- (2005-present)
OK, it's not really a halftime show, but it's counter programming at its finest. Created by Animal Planet in 2005, the Puppy Bowl features a bunch of dogs running around a fake field and trying to bring chew toys across the goal line. It also features one of the greatest technological innovations of the 21st century: a "bowl cam" which provides an upwards camera shot of puppies drinking from a water bowl (see 1:44 into the clip).
Honorable mention: Prince's halftime show in 2005 was the best in recent memory. Unfortunately, there is no good clip available on YouTube.
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