Top 10 Super Bowl halftime shows since 2010

By Jacob Baker

Since the late 1960s, the Super Bowl halftime show has been a tradition of entertainment. The show often consists of one or several musical artists performing their hits accompanied by interchanging set pieces and colorful visuals. This will be a list ranking of the Super Bowl halftime shows from the 2010 NFL season till 2019.   

10. The Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Slash at Cowboys Stadium in 2011

This Super Bowl halftime show is easily the most forgettable. The performance from The Black Eyed Peas isn’t exciting and most of the members don’t show any energy being there. The combination of The Black Eyed Peas and Slash is still weird, but the duo performance between Slash and Fergie for “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is one of the show’s highlights. The best thing about this show was the futuristic aesthetic and the quick appearance from Usher. And Usher jumping over into the splits never gets old.      

9. Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars at Levi’s Stadium in 2016 

For the most part, this show ended up being a case of style and no substance. Most of the halftime show is dedicated to Coldplay, and that couldn’t have been a worse decision. Their performance is rather lifeless compared to the great additions of Bruno Mars and Beyoncé. The visuals are colorful and complement the sunniness of beautiful Santa Clara. If this show was just Mars and Beyoncé, it would’ve made for one of the best halftime shows in recent memory. 

8. Justin Timberlake and The Tennessee Kids at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2018

This halftime show opened up very promising. Justin Timberlake is seen in what looks like he’s performing in a basement or small bar and then transitions up a set of stairs to a walkway onto the field. That whole sequence immediately intrigues but after that; it turns into a by-the-numbers halftime show. Two sections of the show with songs like “Mirrors” and “Until the End of Time” are easily the best visually but it isn’t enough to save the whole show. 

7. Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2019

Like the Timberlake performance, Maroon 5’s isn’t anything special either. The visuals and the stage setup isn’t creative. It’s the additions of Travis Scott and Big Boi that make this show worth it. Scott performs his hit song “Sicko Mode” that is introduced by an awesome snippet from Spongebob. Scott arving to the stadium in a meteor is an impressive visual and Big Boi’s entrance and time in the show is extremely fun.

6. Lady Gaga at NRG in 2017

Knowing Lady Gaga’s outlandish brand before the show, anyone could’ve easily guessed this was going to be a good one. Gaga opens up at the top of the stadium overlooking the Houston skyline and she dives from wires down onto the stage. The show is filled with amazing set pieces and props but it’s the performance and visuals for her last two songs “Million Reasons” and “Bad Romance” that send the show off in an even grander fashion. 

5. Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012

Madonna’s iconic nature is on full display in this halftime show. The set design is immaculate and the use of Vogue magazine covers and photoshoots as the stage floor during her performance of “Vogue” is a unique trait to this show. LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green all collaborate through different songs and each is unique and excellent. 

4. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at MetLife Stadium in 2014

This halftime show is a perfect case of less is more. There’s cool visuals and lights but that’s not what this show is about. Bruno Mars enters the show on a drum set and what he does on those drums explodes the stadium with energy. Song after song, Mars keeps on impressing with his talent as a musician.

The addition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers doesn’t make much sense and mostly doesn’t work. The last song “Just the Way You Are” opens with messages from people in the service to their loved ones and it’s a very touching ending to the show. 

3. Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2015

Easily one of the most accomplished shows in terms of creativity for the visuals and set pieces. Katy Perry goes from riding a humongous lion to a beach party to a soaring star. It’s just as jaw-dropping as it is a good time. Lenny Kravitz is a great addition alongside Perry but isn’t around after that brief stint. Missy Elliott’s section is a very nice compliment to the show’s theme and makes for one of the best halftime shows of the 2010’s. 

2.  Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2013

Beyoncé is known as one of the greatest stage performers of this generation, and this halftime show spends no time convincing the audience of that. Her opening of “Love on Top” sets the show off in a massive and legendary fashion. There isn’t a ton of over the top visuals but that’s okay, Beyoncé’s stage performance blows away expectations. The stint from Destiny’s Child is just the cherry on top

1. The Who at Sun Life Stadium in 2010 

The first Super Bowl halftime show to start the new decade ends up being one for the ages. The Who gives a fantastic performance of their iconic slate of songs, especially the performance for “Baba O’Riley.” The circular stage setup with the outstanding color scheme for the lights and fireworks makes for arguably one of the greatest halftime shows ever.