Most-Watched Super Bowl Halftime Shows - Top 10 Iconic Moments in Musical History

Explore the electrifying spectacles of music and entertainment in our collection of the Most-Watched Super Bowl Halftime Shows. Discover iconic performances that captivated millions.

by B Kishwar

Updated Feb 12, 2024

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Most-Watched Super Bowl Halftime Shows - Top 10 Iconic Moments in Musical History

Top 10 Most-Watched Super Bowl Halftime Shows

Rank

Performer

Super Bowl

Viewership (millions)

1

Rihanna

LVII

121.017

2

Katy Perry

XLIX

121

3

Lady Gaga

LI

118

4

Coldplay

50

115.5

5

Bruno Mars

XLVIII

115.3

6

Madonna

XLVI

114

7

Beyoncé

XLVII

110.8

8

Black Eyed Peas

XLV

110.2

9

Justin Timberlake

LII

106.6

10

Jennifer Lopez & Shakira

LIV

104.1

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Most-Watched Super Bowl Halftime Shows

The Super Bowl halftime show has become an integral part of the game's spectacle, drawing millions of viewers worldwide every year. With its star-studded performances, elaborate stage productions, and iconic moments, the halftime show consistently captures the attention of audiences, both football fans and non-fans alike. Over the years, certain halftime shows have stood out for their record-breaking viewership numbers, showcasing the immense popularity and cultural impact of these highly anticipated performances. From legendary artists to groundbreaking collaborations, the most-watched Super Bowl halftime shows have left an indelible mark on pop culture, setting new standards for entertainment and captivating audiences with their electrifying performances.

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1. Rihanna - Super Bowl LVII

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Rihanna's performance at Super Bowl LVII marked a monumental moment in the history of halftime shows. Taking place in 2023, Rihanna's appearance was highly anticipated by fans and critics alike, and she did not disappoint. With her powerhouse vocals, magnetic stage presence, and an array of hit songs spanning her illustrious career, Rihanna delivered a performance that captured the attention of over 121 million viewers, making it one of the most-watched halftime shows to date. The Barbadian singer-songwriter kicked off her set with an explosive rendition of her chart-topping hits, seamlessly transitioning between genres and captivating the audience with her dynamic performance style. Rihanna's halftime show was not only a celebration of her musical legacy but also a showcase of her influence as a cultural icon, leaving an enduring impact on Super Bowl history.

Beyond the musical spectacle, Rihanna's halftime performance was also notable for its visual artistry and stage design. Collaborating with renowned creatives and production teams, the performance featured stunning choreography, mesmerizing lighting effects, and larger-than-life set pieces that transformed the stadium into a mesmerizing spectacle. From elaborate costume changes to captivating dance routines, every aspect of Rihanna's performance was meticulously crafted to create a multisensory experience that resonated with audiences worldwide. With her electrifying Super Bowl LVII halftime show, Rihanna solidified her status as one of the greatest entertainers of her generation and left an indelible mark on the pantheon of iconic halftime performances.

2. Katy Perry - Super Bowl XLIX

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Katy Perry's halftime show at Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 was a dazzling display of pop spectacle that captivated audiences around the world. Known for her flamboyant style and infectious energy, Perry delivered a performance that was both visually stunning and musically exhilarating. From the moment she descended onto the stage on a massive mechanical lion, Perry commanded the audience's attention with a high-octane medley of her greatest hits, including "Roar," "Teenage Dream," and "Firework." Joined by special guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott, Perry's halftime show was a star-studded affair that showcased her versatility as a performer and cemented her status as one of pop music's biggest stars.

Perry's halftime performance was renowned for its elaborate set design and eye-popping visuals. The stage was transformed into a whimsical wonderland, complete with vibrant colors, larger-than-life props, and a dazzling array of pyrotechnics. Perry's theatrical flair was on full display as she seamlessly transitioned between costume changes and elaborate dance routines, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats throughout the show. With its infectious energy and undeniable charm, Katy Perry's Super Bowl XLIX halftime show remains one of the most memorable and iconic performances in Super Bowl history, solidifying her legacy as a pop culture icon.

3. Lady Gaga - Super Bowl LI

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Lady Gaga's halftime show at Super Bowl LI in 2017 was a tour de force of theatricality, artistry, and musical prowess. Known for her boundary-pushing creativity and fearless stage presence, Gaga delivered a performance that captivated the world with its electrifying energy and jaw-dropping theatrics. From the moment she descended from the roof of the stadium on wires, Gaga commanded the stage with a mesmerizing medley of her biggest hits, including "Poker Face," "Born This Way," and "Bad Romance." Backed by a troupe of dancers and a stunning light show, Gaga's halftime show was a masterclass in pop spectacle that left viewers in awe of her immense talent and showmanship.

Gaga's halftime performance was notable for its emphasis on inclusivity and empowerment. In a poignant moment, she performed her anthem "Born This Way," sending a powerful message of acceptance and self-love to millions of viewers around the world. The performance also featured a breathtaking rendition of "Million Reasons," during which Gaga showcased her raw vocal talent and emotional depth. With its high-energy choreography, dazzling costumes, and infectious pop hooks, Lady Gaga's Super Bowl LI halftime show was a triumphant celebration of music, art, and the unifying power of performance, solidifying her status as one of the greatest entertainers of her generation.

4. Coldplay - Super Bowl 50

Coldplay's performance at Super Bowl 50 in 2016 showcased the band's signature blend of anthemic rock and infectious pop melodies on one of the world's biggest stages. The British rock band, led by frontman Chris Martin, delivered a colorful and energetic performance that resonated with audiences worldwide. Coldplay's set featured hits like "Viva La Vida," "Paradise," and "Adventure of a Lifetime," creating a jubilant atmosphere in Levi's Stadium. One of the highlights of the performance was the collaboration with Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, adding extra star power and excitement to the show. The stage design was visually stunning, incorporating vibrant visuals, kaleidoscopic lighting effects, and an illuminated crowd participation that created a captivating spectacle for viewers both in the stadium and at home.

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Beyond the music, Coldplay's halftime show at Super Bowl 50 conveyed messages of unity, hope, and positivity, reflecting the band's ethos of spreading love and optimism through their music. The performance concluded with a touching tribute to past Super Bowl halftime performers, highlighting the rich history and cultural significance of the event. Coldplay's halftime show left a lasting impression not only for its musical prowess but also for its ability to bring people together through the power of music and shared experience.

5. Bruno Mars - Super Bowl XLVIII

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Bruno Mars's electrifying performance at Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 solidified his status as one of the most dynamic entertainers of his generation. Taking the stage at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Mars delivered a high-energy show filled with his signature retro-inspired funk and soul-infused hits. Backed by his band, The Hooligans, Mars dazzled the audience with his smooth vocals, impeccable dance moves, and infectious charisma. Highlights of the performance included crowd favorites such as "Locked Out of Heaven," "Treasure," and "Just the Way You Are," showcasing Mars's versatility as a performer and his ability to command the stage with confidence and charm.

One of the most memorable moments of Bruno Mars's halftime show was his surprise collaboration with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, bringing an unexpected rock edge to the performance. The seamless blend of different musical styles and genres added depth and excitement to the show, captivating audiences of all ages. Mars's Super Bowl halftime performance was not only a celebration of his own musical talent but also a testament to the power of live performance to unite and uplift people from diverse backgrounds. With its infectious energy, impeccable musicianship, and undeniable star quality, Bruno Mars's halftime show remains one of the most iconic and unforgettable moments in Super Bowl history.

6. Madonna - Super Bowl XLVI

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Madonna's performance during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 marked a monumental moment in halftime show history. As one of the most influential pop icons of all time, Madonna brought her signature style and flair to the stage, delivering a performance that was both nostalgic and contemporary. The show featured a star-studded lineup of guest performers, including Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO, and CeeLo Green, adding to the spectacle and excitement. Madonna's setlist included some of her greatest hits, such as "Vogue," "Music," and "Like a Prayer," which she seamlessly blended with newer tracks to create a dynamic and engaging performance. With elaborate choreography, stunning visuals, and elaborate stage design, Madonna's halftime show was a masterclass in pop spectacle, captivating audiences around the world and solidifying her status as the Queen of Pop.

Beyond the entertainment value, Madonna's halftime show also broke records, drawing in an estimated 114 million viewers, making it one of the most-watched halftime shows in Super Bowl history at that time. The performance received widespread acclaim from critics and fans alike, praising Madonna's energy, stage presence, and ability to command the audience's attention throughout the show. Additionally, Madonna's halftime show set a new standard for halftime performances, raising the bar for future performers and solidifying the halftime show as a must-watch event during the Super Bowl. Overall, Madonna's performance during Super Bowl XLVI not only showcased her enduring talent and influence but also cemented her legacy as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.

7. Beyoncé - Super Bowl XLVII

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Beyoncé's electrifying performance during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 is widely regarded as one of the most iconic halftime shows in Super Bowl history. Taking center stage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Beyoncé delivered a powerhouse performance that showcased her immense talent, unmatched stage presence, and fierce energy. From the moment she emerged on stage, Beyoncé captivated the audience with a high-energy medley of her greatest hits, including "Crazy in Love," "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," and "Halo," accompanied by a troupe of backup dancers and a live band. Beyoncé's performance was marked by flawless choreography, impressive vocal prowess, and a visually stunning stage production that included intricate lighting effects and pyrotechnics.

However, what made Beyoncé's halftime show truly unforgettable was her surprise reunion with her former Destiny's Child bandmates, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, who joined her on stage to perform a medley of the group's biggest hits. The reunion sent shockwaves through the stadium and elicited a euphoric response from fans worldwide, solidifying Beyoncé's status as one of the most influential and beloved artists of her generation. Beyoncé's halftime show also made headlines for its politically charged moments, including her rendition of "Run the World (Girls)," which celebrated female empowerment, and her tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement during her performance of "Halo." Overall, Beyoncé's halftime show during Super Bowl XLVII was a tour de force performance that showcased her immense talent, cultural impact, and undeniable star power, leaving an indelible mark on Super Bowl history.

8. Black Eyed Peas - Super Bowl XLV

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The Black Eyed Peas' performance during Super Bowl XLV marked a significant shift in the halftime show's dynamic, as it was one of the first to prominently feature contemporary pop and hip-hop music. Taking the stage at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the group delivered a high-energy performance that electrified the audience with their infectious beats and dynamic stage presence. With hits like "I Gotta Feeling" and "Boom Boom Pow," the Black Eyed Peas captivated viewers with their catchy tunes and mesmerizing choreography, creating an unforgettable spectacle that appealed to fans of all ages.

One of the most memorable aspects of the Black Eyed Peas' halftime show was their innovative use of technology and stage design. The performance incorporated cutting-edge visual effects, including LED lights, holograms, and larger-than-life video projections, which transformed the stadium into a dazzling display of light and sound. This fusion of music and technology created a futuristic atmosphere that perfectly complemented the group's modern sound and style, setting a new standard for Super Bowl halftime performances and solidifying the Black Eyed Peas' place in pop culture history.

9. Justin Timberlake - Super Bowl LII

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Justin Timberlake's halftime performance during Super Bowl LII was a triumphant return to the Super Bowl stage, 14 years after his controversial appearance with Janet Jackson. Held at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Timberlake delivered a masterful performance that showcased his immense talent as a singer, dancer, and entertainer. Opening with his hit song "Filthy," Timberlake mesmerized the audience with his smooth vocals and signature dance moves, captivating viewers from the very first note.

One of the highlights of Timberlake's halftime show was his tribute to the late Prince, a Minnesota native and music icon. As a giant projection of Prince appeared on a billowing sheet behind him, Timberlake performed a heartfelt rendition of "I Would Die 4 U," accompanied by a video of Prince singing along. The poignant tribute paid homage to Prince's legacy while celebrating his influence on Timberlake and the world of music. Timberlake's Super Bowl halftime performance was praised for its seamless blend of nostalgia and contemporary flair, reaffirming his status as one of pop music's biggest stars.

10. Jennifer Lopez & Shakira - Super Bowl LIV

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's halftime show during Super Bowl LIV made history as the first time two Latina artists headlined the prestigious event. Held at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, the dynamic duo delivered an electrifying performance that celebrated Latin music, culture, and female empowerment. From the moment they took the stage, Lopez and Shakira commanded the audience's attention with their powerful vocals, mesmerizing dance routines, and undeniable charisma.

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One of the most memorable moments of the halftime show was when Shakira played the drums and performed her signature belly dance, showcasing her incredible musical talent and stage presence. Lopez, meanwhile, dazzled viewers with her high-energy choreography and hit songs like "Jenny From the Block" and "Let's Get Loud." Together, they delivered a show-stopping performance that transcended language and cultural barriers, uniting audiences around the world in celebration. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's halftime show was hailed as a groundbreaking moment for representation in the entertainment industry, showcasing the diversity and talent of Latin artists on one of the world's biggest stages.

What Were the Most Memorable Moments?

Here's an elaboration on the most memorable moments from some of the best Super Bowl halftime shows:

Rihanna - Super Bowl LVII:

  • One of the most memorable moments from Rihanna's halftime show was her performance of "Umbrella," which became an instant classic and showcased her captivating stage presence.
  • Another standout moment was when Rihanna brought out surprise guest Drake to perform their hit collaboration "What's My Name?" This unexpected duet thrilled fans and added an extra layer of excitement to the show.
  • Additionally, Rihanna's powerful rendition of "Diamonds" resonated with viewers, leaving a lasting impression with its emotional intensity and uplifting message.
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Katy Perry - Super Bowl XLIX:

  • A standout moment from Katy Perry's halftime show was her grand entrance atop a giant mechanical lion, which instantly captured the audience's attention and set the tone for the performance.
  • Perry's duet with special guest Lenny Kravitz on "I Kissed a Girl" added a rock-infused edge to the show, creating a memorable contrast to Perry's pop sensibilities.
  • The performance of "Firework" was another unforgettable moment, as Perry soared above the stadium on a shooting star platform, creating a visually stunning spectacle that perfectly encapsulated the song's empowering message.

Lady Gaga - Super Bowl LI:

  • One of the most memorable moments from Lady Gaga's halftime show was her breathtaking aerial entrance, as she descended from the stadium roof on suspension wires, thrilling the audience with her daring stunt.
  • Gaga's high-energy performance of "Bad Romance" electrified the crowd, with its infectious beat and iconic choreography becoming an instant highlight of the show.
  • The emotional rendition of "Million Reasons," performed at the piano surrounded by a sea of fans, showcased Gaga's raw vocal talent and brought a heartfelt moment of connection with the audience.

Beyoncé - Super Bowl XLVII:

  • Beyoncé's halftime show featured a show-stopping moment when she reunited with her Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams to perform a medley of the group's biggest hits, including "Bootylicious" and "Independent Women Part I."
  • Another memorable moment was Beyoncé's solo performance of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," which became an instant viral sensation thanks to its iconic choreography and fierce energy.
  • The visually stunning finale, featuring Beyoncé performing "Halo" surrounded by a choir of fans holding lighted torches, provided a breathtaking conclusion to the halftime show and left a lasting impression on viewers worldwide.

These memorable moments from some of the best Super Bowl halftime shows exemplify the spectacle, excitement, and sheer talent that have made these performances iconic in the annals of pop culture history.

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Most-Watched Super Bowl Halftime Shows - FAQs

1. Who holds the record for the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show?  

The halftime show featuring Rihanna during Super Bowl LVII holds the record with 121.017 million viewers.

2. Which Super Bowl halftime show featured a surprise reunion of former bandmates?

Beyoncé's halftime show during Super Bowl XLVII featured a surprise reunion with her former Destiny's Child bandmates, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

3. Which Super Bowl halftime show was praised for its tribute to the late Prince?

Justin Timberlake's halftime performance during Super Bowl LII included a heartfelt tribute to Prince, featuring a giant projection of the iconic musician and a rendition of "I Would Die 4 U."

4. Which Super Bowl halftime show was the first to feature two Latina artists as headliners?

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's halftime show during Super Bowl LIV was the first to feature two Latina artists as headliners.

5. Which Super Bowl halftime show featured a fusion of pop and hip-hop music with innovative technology?  

The Black Eyed Peas' halftime show during Super Bowl XLV featured a fusion of pop and hip-hop music along with innovative technology, including LED lights, holograms, and video projections.

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