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Super Bowl Half Time Shows

by Nicki Hymowitz

Photography by Ellen Clouse

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most anticipated performances of the year. While millions of football fans get ready to cheer on their favorite team, an artist prepares for months to put on an over the top 12-minute performance that could make or break their career. This year we didn’t know what to expect from halftime performer Lady Gaga, who is known for her bold artistic choices, but it was a one-of-a-kind Gaga original.

Over the years, there have been some amazing halftime performances, but it’s hard to forget about the scandalous ones that people still talk about to this day. The 2004 performance, which featured Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, gained infamy for Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ that caught America by surprise. Critics have said that the performance ruined Jackson’s career and even took a toll on Timberlake’s.

Imagine 150 million people glued to their televisions witnessing a moment like that. It was a topic of conversation for months and was blasted through all different types of media platforms. Other notable performances that lacked energy and appeal throughout the years include The Black Eyed Peas, Gloria Estefan, New Kids On The Block and Coldplay.

All these lackluster performers have been put in the category of the worst Super Bowl halftime shows.

“The shows get so over the top with a crazy amount of extras that it takes away from the artist and their talent,” said 26-year-old Abby Jacobs of Connecticut.

The common factor for a great performance is that artists have the materials and resources to get really creative with lights, drones and staging. Elise Felber (COM ’19) tuned in to the game for just halftime show to see the spectacle.

“The production is always over the top and gets crazier every year which is why people love it so much,” she said.

Before 1990, halftime shows consisted of a bathroom break as the shows featured only college marching bands and maybe even an Elvis impersonator. It all changed in 1993 when Michael Jackson turned the show into a must-see television event, performing hits like “Billie Jean” and “Black or White.”

His performance changed the halftime show forever, because now millions of non-football fans tune into the game to see an elaborate half time from their favorite artists. Some of the greatest performances over the years known for their bold, original and entertaining performances include Beyoncé, Prince, Aerosmith, NSYNC and U2.

These performers brought the best hits of their careers in just 12 minutes, creating a performance worthy enough for that halftime moment.

Lady Gaga’s performance was one for the books. As an artist who has taken the meaning of risk to another level through her fashion statements and elaborate performances, her music is purely focused on self-empowerment and being yourself. The way Gaga carries herself as an artist while always sticking true to her personality is what inspires millions following her successful career.

Her performance started out on top of the stadium singing “God Bless America” with booming vocals and hundreds of drones in the sky producing an image of the American flag. She then jumped and flipped onto the stage and began to go through some of her greatest hits including “Born This Way,” “Bad Romance” and “Poker Face.”

Each song was filled with heavy choreography, an overabundance of glitter and live vocals. She had several outfit changes and personally interacting with fans on the field. The show impressed football and music fans alike.

“It was extra special getting to see one of my favorite artists perform while watching the big game,” said long-time football and Gaga fan Steven Katz.

A special quality that makes Gaga so genuine is the fact that she always wants to sing live, unlike many artists who like to lip synch during these types of performances. Every time she gets up on stage, she can produce a one-of-a-kind performance due to her endless passion for her art and love for her “little monsters.” There are a million reasons why Lady Gaga is a musical legend, and her halftime show performance is just one example.

Super Bowl halftime shows have manifested into a special event with years of controversial and over-the-top performances. It isn’t too long before we see who is brave enough to follow Gaga.

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