Author: Robert Bell

Watching the Super Bowl on television is one of the highlights of the year for millions of people.  For example, the 2019 event between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots was watched by close to 100 million viewers, according to data from Neilsen.

This means that the artists who perform the traditional halftime show have a huge audience watching their every move. Some of the best-received performances in recent years have come from Katy Perry, Beyoncé, and Missy Elliot. Yet, there have also been some complete disasters along the way.

1. The Blues Brother, 1997

This idea here was to market the Blues Brothers 2000 movie that was in the pipeline. The problem? The likes of Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, and John Goodman simply weren’t musically good enough for a performance of this magnitude.  Even the arrival of ZZ Top and James Brown couldn’t save the day.

As for the game itself, the Green Bay Packers fought off the New England Patriots 35-21 thanks to an outstanding second quarter and an incredible 81-yard touchdown pass by Brett Favre. This memorable game was also the end of a run of 13 victories in the Super Bowl by NFC teams over rivals from the AFC.

2. The Black Eyes Peas, 2011

In theory, this sounded like a promising show from one of the biggest acts around at the time. However, it soon became clear that their live presentation was nowhere near good enough for such a prestigious event, as Fergie and the rest of the group floundered badly on the stage.

Meanwhile, in the field many of the Super Bowl predictions in the run-up had been based on the Steeler’s strong defense but it wasn’t good enough to drive them to victory. For the record, the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 on the field. 111 million TV viewers meant that this became the most watched show in American history at the time.

3. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, 2004

The problem in this case wasn’t a lack of musical quality. Instead, this has gone down in history as one of the most disastrous shows because of the infamous moment when Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson’s clothing. The exposure of the singer’s breast lead to widespread condemnation and shaming of Jackson, and even saw her music being banned from appearing on numerous television and radio networks.

As for the game, it was even more memorable than the halftime show for fans of the New England Patriots, as they defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-29. This thrilling game was described as one of the greatest ever Super Bowls.

4. A Tapestry of Nations, 2000

Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, and Enrique Iglesias were a few of the stars of this overblown Disney production. It was meant to send out an inspiring message about global unity, but it just turned in a bit of a mess. Matters weren’t helped by the fact that they sang new, original songs that no-one in the stadium or at home had ever heard before.

This was another case of the game being far better than the halftime show, as the St. Louis Rams beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 after being 16-0 down. It is also fondly remembered for Mike Jones’ last-gasp tackle in the “one yard short” play right at the end.

5. Indiana Jones and Temple of the Forbidden Eye, 1995

This confusing disaster was meant to promote the Temple of the Forbidden Eye attraction that had recently been opened by Disney. Instead, it was a muddled, awkward show that dragged established stars such as Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle way out of their comfort zones. All the dancers in huge hats and parachuting stuntmen in the stadium just added to the chaos.

On the field, the San Francisco 49ers became the first team to win 5 Super Bowls, as they defeated the San Diego Chargers by 49-26. The game was most noteworthy for the record number of points and the fact that both teams scored in every quarter.


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