The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, with millions of viewers tuning in to watch the biggest names in music take the stage. Over the years, we’ve seen some truly memorable performances, from Michael Jackson’s iconic moonwalk to Lady Gaga’s acrobatic stunts. But not all Super Bowl halftime shows are created equal. In this article, we’ll take a look back at some of the best and worst halftime shows in Super Bowl history and explore what made them stand out (or not).
35. Dre, Eminem, Snoop: Superbowl LVI 2022
Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre performed alongside Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige. This was the first time that hip-hop artists performed at the halftime show. It’s always amusing to make history.
The stunning appearance of 50 Cent hanging upside down surprised everyone. Eminem sat down on the ground in protest, which was the most controversial part. We can only expect more from Eminem, a rapper who lives and breathes controversy.
34. The Black Eyed Peas: XLV 2021
The group didn’t have the best moment, to be honest. The Cowboy’s Stadium hosted the performance on February 6, 2011. People seemed to be slightly shocked when they saw their robot costumes. One magazine called them “pathetic or maximum mediocre,” and some called them dangerous. At least Usher was there briefly to help take the boredom away.
Opening number: Christina Aguilera’s unique interpretation of the national anthem, in which she forgot the melody and the words, is worth mentioning. People noticed that the famous burlesque singer, with substantial vocal cords, had an off night. Although the Black Eyed Peas had a chance at turning things around, it was not their night to redeem themselves. The Associated Press said they brought some…”Youth but not much else.”
33. All the Shows From 1967 to 1989
In the ’90s, the Superbowl halftime shows began to take things seriously. It was just a group of college marching bands before that. Most people did not consider it a show, as it was time to get rid of all the beer and hot dogs they had consumed during the game.
Consider the 1977 halftime show. Disney produced it and featured the theme “It’s a Small World.” Rockettes, George Burns, and random Elvis impersonators were the highlights of this era. It wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t have the same hype as today.
32. New Kids on the Block: XXV 1991
It was the first time the entertainment industry understood they could use the halftime break to perform. The timing of the performance was not perfect, but that’s not to blame New Kids on Block. They sang “This One’s for the Children,” which was a bit mushy and not the best to watch.
The show was designed to be relevant during the difficult period of the Gulf War. However, the broadcasting networks seemed to have realized they could bring some truly unique voices to the stage after the war.
31. Enrique Iglesias, Phil Collins, Tony Braxton, and Christina Aguilera: XXXIV 2000
At the Georgia Dome, it was 2000, and the big names were finally on the stage. We were disappointed that they didn’t perform the songs that we requested.
People expected Phil Collins to sing “Sussudio” while Christina did a revival of “Genie in a Bottle.” Instead, Phil sang “Two Worlds” in a Kangol Hat. Although we would have loved the opportunity to see Enrique, the star of Latin music, live, we were treated to a bizarre rendition by Xtina of “Celebrate The Future Hand in Hand.”
30. Olympic Figure Skaters: XXVI 1992
It was a winter wonderland on the stage. The location was perfect; it was in Minnesota, which is known for its cold winters. The show was not all bad, though. It was a significant turning point in the way performances were organized.
Highlights included dancing to “The Frosty” with Olympic skaters and Brian Boitano. Although it was a significant improvement over previous shows, there was still much to do.
29. Tanya Tucker, Clint Black, The Judds, and Travis Tritt: XXVIII 1994
While country music is undoubtedly a hit, not everyone tunes in to the Superbowl. Although the genre was well-respected, it was inappropriate for audiences with different backgrounds.
This show was classic America, with many people wearing cowboy hats. These were the greatest country music stars of that time, with the exception of the Judds, who were on one of their last farewell tours. Although it wasn’t extraordinary, it was a decent performance.
28. Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Miami Sound Machine, and Teddy Pendergrass: XXIX 1995
This performance is best described as an “utter mess!” There were shirtless dancers, Indiana Jones flew in from nowhere, Pattie LaBelle was dressed like a bedazzled goddess, and there were spikes everywhere. Harrison Ford wouldn’t want to be part of this franchise performance.
Tony Bennet did sing, and audiences were left gasping for air after the final song, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.” It was definitely one to remember.
27. Irma Thomas, Pete Fountain, Snoopy, and Doug Kershaw: XII 1978
Although the combination of the New Orleans theme with the comic strip “Peanuts” was unusual, we did get to see Snoopy sing “When the Saints Come Marching In.” The marching bands were complemented by the Mardi Gras costumes, overall theme, and music.
Fun Fact: The steamboat Delta Queen was a historic landmark that celebrated 100 years of Mississippi river cruising. It also marked Charlie Brown’s 40th birthday. The audience enjoyed the music and sang Happy Birthday at the show’s end.
26. James Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, ZZ Top, John Goodman, and James Brown: XXXI 1997
The Blues Brothers made an admirable effort to bring the soul back to the stage. This performance started with a T.V. show special report that stated that the trio was on a mission from God and that they would perform at the halftime show. John Belushi was dead, so they let James Belushi perform a Karaoke version of “Soul Man” with a mix of “Gimme Some Lovin.” Although the dancing seemed a bit sloppy, we still got to hear some real hits from artists.
Blues Brothers bash: It was a great show highlighting the Blues Brothers. They should have given James Brown more stage time. He probably would have done an even better job than James Belushi. He added rhythm, energy, and backup dancers to wrap up the show. His red and shining outfit is not to be forgotten. It’s better late than never, they say. However, the show lacked just a bit of “oomph” to be worthy.
25. Maroon Five and Travis Scott: LIII 2019
In 2019, the NFL was flooded with political opinions and responses. Colin Kaepernick was also blacklisted. Cardi B, Rihanna, and many other artists turned the Showdown on its head. Maroon is a well-known band, but their music doesn’t fit the Superbowl atmosphere. We did have Adam Levine to admire. It was mostly girls who were screaming, so it seemed that the crowd nearest the stage loved it. Adam shouted, “Can you play some guitar right now?”
Travis Scott added to the mix: SpongeBob SquarePants’ introduction was funny, as Travis Scott emerged from a flame ball. Travis was great, but Adam’s guitar next to him seemed unrelated. Maroon Five didn’t meet high expectations for their performance, so it’s not surprising that they delivered what we all expected. Big Boi showed up in a nice car to add glamour to the show. The concert was cute overall but could have been better.
24. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Gloria Estefan, and Stevie Wonder: XXXIII 1999
The show combined two extraordinary artists and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, which was criticized. E.T. was both creepy and charming at the exact moment as he passed by all the eagerly awaited performers. The show opened with Swing Dancing, highlighting Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Superbowl Debut. Stevie Wonder performed “Sir Duke” and “You Can Feel It All Over” brilliantly on his way to the podium. As he played the keyboard, he kept the energy and funk going. A tap dancer appeared out of nowhere.
Latin vibe: Gloria was a rock star at the center field performance. You wanted to dance and get up with the dancing band. Gloria had the amazing opportunity to perform at the halftime show three times. One in 1992, one in 1995, and the most recent in 1999. The performances were admirable, as two of the most famous superstars in the world were there.
23. The Who: XLIV 2010
They are a well-known band, but they did not address all of their audience. The show was a bit too old for many people to enjoy. They covered songs ranging from “Won’t Get Fooled Again” to “Baba O’Riley.”
The crowd in the stadium didn’t hear the sing-along. Although the band did a great job singing their songs, the overall performance was somewhat boring. Superbowl is supposed to be one of the most important performances of the year.
22. The Rolling Stones: XL 2006
The show began with a back-and-forth sequence of football scenes and the band performing over time. As the band danced on a stage with tongue-shaped staging, there was no denying that energy. The crowd held a long, red banner that looked almost like a tongue.
They only performed three songs during the entire show: “Start Me Up,” “Satisfaction,” and “Rough Justice.” This was a classic performance from the legendary rock and roll band.
21. Sting, Shania Twain, and No Doubt: XXXVII 2003
It started with Shania’s less well-known performance of “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and “Up!” but it wasn’t the outstanding performance that people now know. She was perhaps warming up for the next group of performers. Twain moved down the steps to join the crowd dancing at Qualcomm Stadium and was greeted by fireworks as she was raised to greet the awaited performers: No Doubt with Gwen Stefani.
“I’m just a girl at the Superbowl:” Gwen was lifted into an arena and did push-ups, causing a lot of excitement. Gwen joined her as she sang No Doubt’s hit “I’m Just a Girl.” Sting followed with “Message in a Bottle.” Many commented that Shania was not the show’s shining star, but Doubt or Sting was. It was also the last time a country music superstar performed at the Superbowl Halftime Show. T.V. news noticed the female empowerment and called it a “girl power” moment.
20. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: XLII 2008
Glendale, Arizona, was where Tom and his band performed some of their finest music. His performance was criticized by some. Yes, many performers performed in the stadium and choreographed terrific numbers.
But Petty did what artists do best: he played his music perfectly. He performed “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” No dancers were needed; it was just great as it was.
19. Justin Timberlake: LII 2018
Justin Timberlake is one of the most beloved stars. He was not only in NSYNC but also dated Britney Spears and married Jessica Biel. Timberlake took on movie roles and won an Emmy Award for his SNL skit. He kept it simple – no Janet Jackson scandalous or surprise appearance by other boy band members.
Clean choreography: Jimmy Fallon introduced him to the audience while he was sipping a Pepsi. His choreography was flawless, with crowd-favorite songs like “Rock Your Body” or “Sexy Back.” He sang, among others, “Senorita” and “Cry Me a River.” The crowd was captivated by him and joined him in clapping when he walked onto the field. He is also a phenomenal solo performer. The tribute he paid to Prince was one of his greatest highlights.
18. Boys II Men: XXXII 1998
Boyz II Men performed in this 1998 feel-good show with Queen Latifah and Smokey Robinson hosting. It looked at first like an old-style look, but then it became hip-hop. As the year celebrated forty years of Motown, Whoopie Goldberg and others did a quick revival to present the show. Smokey Robinson, the legend, and then The Temptations, were the ones who made it big with their 1960s style of performing.
Moving to a new era: After Smokey and The Temptations had performed “My Girl,” Martha Reeves was on the podium. For lack of a better description, her singing was slightly off-pitch. Queen Latifah, a female rapper star, appeared with all her coolness. The crowd was then captivated by Boys II Men’s catchy songs and smooth performance. The group sang “Motownphilly,” and then they brought down the energy with “A Song for Mama.” This show is remembered for mixing the old with the new.
17. The Weeknd: LV 2021
During the pandemic, the stadium crowd was cut by approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people. The Weeknd was seen stepping out of his car as a mask-wearing chorus with glowing red eyes stood in front of a neon backdrop. The lights were bright, and the sound was great as The Weekend sang “Starboy” & “The Hills.” He was joined by dancers wearing the same red jackets & black neckties that he was wearing.
Good, but not great: Unlike other modern shows, the show didn’t feature any guest performers. Although it had all the “pazzaz,” the production, and the special effects, it couldn’t capture the halftime excitement that other artists could bring. I was also dizzy at the song he sang in the labyrinth. One T.V. show reporter called the performance “charismatic.” Technically, the performance was excellent but lacked the passion and enthusiasm of other performers. He was not in the same league.
16. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: XLIII 2009
The performance was musically engaging and funny, as a medley featuring football players opened it. Springsteen shouted, “I want to take you back from the guacamole dip!” You need to put down those chicken fingers. He asked “if anybody was alive out there,” which they were. He could cover the entire list of songs, which would normally have taken up a whole concert time. But, he was able to sing “Tenth Avenue Freezout,” “Born to Run,” and “Glory Days.” The crowd loved it.
Bruce put on a show: We must remember the knee slide he took into the cameras as the audience lifted him up. He didn’t seem to mind it, even though it hurt. It was as if people didn’t even touch their drinks or snacks until his performance ended. His energy lifted the music, mainly the guitar, and the crowd felt it. The performance was extraordinary, even for younger generations. Bruce could not stop smiling.
15. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira: LIV 2020
This show was unique because two Latina stars were the headliners for the first time. With her fiery choreography and red sparking costumes, Shakira got the crowd moving, singing “She Wolf.” Then, she moved to pick up a guitar from the air and sang “Empire” with her trademark Shakira singing voice. We saw her flexing those abs to the song everyone was waiting for, “Whenever, Wherever.” The fantastic Latin theme continued as Shakira was joined at the end by Bad Bunny, a Columbian rapper.
Still Jenny from the block: As Jennifer Lopez Hustler danced on a pole, we could see her singing “Jenny from the Block” entrance. She mastered it with her amazing vocals and impeccable choreography. JLo also had the opportunity to perform alongside her daughter Emme. Lopez represented Puerto Rico, where she was born. She wore a huge feathered cape in the U.S. Shakira joined Lopez for the finale to sing “Waka Waka,” one of the most loved sports songs in the world. It was an unforgettable show.
14. Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyonc: L 2016
Everyone awaited the appearance of Coldplay, the iconic British band, at the 2016 halftime. It was a rainbow of colors as Coldplay opened with “Yellow,” then moved on to “Viva la Vida,” a fan favorite. Chris Martin was on his game as he ran along the walkway, kicking his legs in the air, and then followed up with their great song “Adventure of a Lifetime.” The Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and the University of California Marching Band complemented that song.
Dancing duo: Things started to take off when Bruno Mars and Beyonce took the stage. Mark Ronson kicked Bruno off as he smashed it on the D.J. set. Bruno did what he does best: he brought the funk. After the show switched to an all-female group, the queen appeared with her black panther backup dancing. Beyonce did a great job showcasing her new song, “Formation.” She performed a fantastic performance in a Michael Jackson costume, which was a tribute to the legend.
13. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers: XLVIII 2014
The intro was impressive, featuring short videos of hands moving around the city like instruments. The kid choir sang “Millionaire,” the first song. Bruno Mars and his band put on a show, bringing back old-style funk with their R&B hits, sparkling James Brown suits, and an incredible band. Bruno Mars’s uniqueness as a performer comes down to his singing ability and ability to draw the crowd in with his groove while his entire band plays instruments.
The shirtless addition: magazines reviewed the performance and stated that “there’s no doubt the child is talented.” You can’t just sit and watch Bruno and the Hooligans perform. The energy was high when the Red Hot Chilli Peppers came out. They are known for taking off their shirts when they perform. The round was also well completed by Bruno Mars duets. The 2014 halftime was filled with joy and entertainment.
12. Rihanna: LVII 2023
Rihanna’s performance at Super Bowl 57 was highly anticipated, especially considering the fact that she is pregnant with her second child. The show was met with some praise, showcasing anti-gravity performances and a playlist of her greatest hits. However, the lack of a clear theme and flat production made the performance feel underwhelming.
The 15-minute performance was a mega-mix of Rihanna’s biggest hits, surrounded by white hooded dancers on undulating stages. Although the choreography was tight and professional, it lacked a dynamic and visually appealing production. The performance felt more suited for an awards show rather than the Super Bowl, one of America’s biggest TV events of the year.
11. Katy Perry and Missy Elliot: XLIX 2015
Because of its technical aspects, this was one of the most unforgettable halftime shows. On a giant electronic lion puppet, Katy Perry sang “Roar.” Her glowing flame costume was spectacular. Katy was absolutely on fire. Perry then performed on a chessboard stage, singing “Dark Horse.” Lenny Kravitz joined Perry for “I Kissed a Girl,” which was a great performance.
Critically acclaimed: The atmosphere was transformed into a beach scene with dancers as sharks and palm trees. Perry entered the stage in a new costume, singing “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls.” Katy was joined later by Missy Eliot, a legendary female rapper who sang “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It.” Perry transformed into her hype girl after she had done another costume change to resemble a Super Bowl 49 jersey. It was Katy Perry’s career highlight and was referred to as one of her best performances.
10. Diana Ross: XXX 1996
It was one of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime performances. As her name was illuminated on the field, she appeared on a shining platform and sang “Stop In the Name of Love.” The extended medley featured songs like “You Keep Me Hangin’ on,” “Baby Love,” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” – some of her most beloved songs.
Set the bar high: We saw thousands of balloons in the air before her costume change. While wearing purple and orange dresses, she sang “Chain Reaction.” A round of dancers also performed a chain reaction. A yellow-robed choir joined Ross in “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and led to Ross’s finale of “Take Me Higher.” But the biggest surprise was when a helicopter arrived to pick her up. She set the bar and inspired future performers like The Weeknd.
9. Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, and Kid Rock: XXVIII 2004
This was a controversial and memorable halftime show. This incredible lineup of singers was never-ending. The marching band started the show with Jessica Simpson yelling, “Houston! Choose to party!” Janet Jackson followed, sliding down an elevator. P. Diddy was a cloud of smoke when “Bad Boys for Life” came into play. As he glided across the field, he brought the rap montage. The stage was then taken over by cheerleaders who sang “Mickey,” which was later replaced by Diddy. They then switched to hip-hop for Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.”
All the genres: P. Diddy and Nelly rocked the stage with “Mo Money Mo Problems.” Justin Timberlake joined the performance, singing “Rock Your Body.” No one can forget the part in which he took off her shirt to expose her nipple. There was much discussion about whether she was shocked or if this was an intentional move. It looked like a wardrobe malfunction.
8. Paul McCartney: XXXIX 2005
Paul McCartney was chosen to perform the halftime show, which featured the New England Patriots. It was also the first Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. Rumors abound that McCartney was the NFL’s “safe choice.” This was notable because the year before was filled with overwhelming flashbacks due to the Janet/Justin Incident. He sang “Drive My Car” and “Get Back,” as well as “Live and Let Die” and “Hey Jude.” His performance was appreciated for its clean, fun nature and the use of LED lights.
Didn’t fall short: One of his highlights was singing “Hey Jude” to a crowd of fans. While holding flashlights in their hands, the audience rocked from side to side. He was known for his incredible rock performance at Super Bowl. He was a graceful addition to the historic game.
7. Lady Gaga: LI 2017
Gaga’s performance was surrounded by curiosity. It was a mystery to many. They were unsure if she would be calm or show off her wild costumes. People also wondered what kind of political statements she might make. The show began with her singing patriotic songs such as “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land.” At the same time, she also quoted part of the “Pledge to Allegiance.”
The real talent: As she sang “Poker Face,” she stood on a vast pillar suspended by wires. In the background, fireworks were exploding. For her bizarre choreography in “Born This Way,” dancers joined her. Then, she continued singing Telephone even though Beyonce was not there. As dancers flew glow-up batons through the air, she wore a gold jacket with a spikey hem. Gaga gave a show full of energy and class, highlighting her talent and artistry. Newspapers described her performance as “an astute and intense performance that is disciplined.”
6. Madonna: XLVI 2012
Madonna was accompanied by the Cirque de Soleil, a world-famous circus. We expected nothing less. As she began singing “Vogue,” she was pulled into the stadium in a chariot with dancers and an ancient Egyptian-themed vehicle. The costumes and props were magnificent and royal. Then, she moved on to singing “Music” when she approached an acrobatic gymnast who added to the show’s stamina.
Always a star: “Are You Sexy and You Know It?” With their hilarious and nutty dancing, the wild duet with LMFAO is a great memory. This was an excellent choice for Madonna. She sat on RedFoo and performed a medley from “Party Rock Anthem” and “Music” and then shuffled across the stage. M.I.A and Nick Minaj joined Madonna in cheering her on with “Give Me All Your Lovin” and “Like a Prayer.”
5. U2: XXXVI 2002
The band opened their set with “Beautiful Day,” then a recent success song. As he walked down the stage, Bono was accompanied by a cameraman and slapped on the back by screaming fans. Bono said that the wire was crucial for him to sing live throughout the performance. The show would have been canceled if one person had accidentally grabbed it. It would have been a huge disappointment!
Challenging times: As a list of 9/11 victims was displayed, the band moved on to singing MLK. They then began “Where the Streets Have No Name” as the names scrolled behind the bar. Mixed reactions were received to the show, as it was difficult for America after the terrorist attack and not necessarily a time for celebration. Maria Carey sang the national anthem at the opening of the game. People expected her to sing it in a standard and monotonous rendition. It is Mariah Carey. Her performance was overall calm, classy, and dignified. However, she made a 5-octave high note that caused a crack in a nearby window. She did occasionally switch it up, particularly at the end.
4. Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Nsync, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly: XXXV 2001
The show allowed fans to feel part of it this year by allowing them to stand on the fields surrounding the stage. Nsync performed “Bye Bye Bye” while Aerosmith performed “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
NSYNC and Earthquake Horns reappear as Justin leads “It’s Going to Be Me.” Perry screamed, “Me!” into the microphone. Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly joined Nsync in dancing to the classic.
3. Beyonce: XLVII 2013
Beyonc is considered the queen. She was dominant in her performance and delivered on all of the expectations. With a few dramatic pauses, she walked down the runway with a fire flickering in the background. Beyonc shouted, “Superdome,” as her show opened with “Love on Top.”
Dirty wind: she moved on to “End of Time,” with backup dancers dancing with her. Beyonce was right to have Kelly and Michelle take the stage to reunite Destiney’s Child. They were terrific, performing harmony to “Bootylicious” and “Independent Woman Part 1” before ending with a Charlie’s Angel’s stance. Without female empowerment, what would a Beyonce concert be?
2. Michael Jackson: XXVII 1993
We are limiting it to the most iconic performers we have ever seen on one of the biggest stages in the world. The grandstand is embodied by Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. You may recall Michael standing on the stage for only two minutes before his guitarist began playing. He started us off with the “Jam,” his famous dance routine that leads into “Billie Jean.” Jackson’s dancing was so distinctive you couldn’t help but watch the concert as he sang “Black and White.”
Humanitarian efforts: Smoke was visible in the background while the act displayed “Another Part of Me,” ending with Batten’s solo guitar. As we watched the image of white and black hands shaking, large banners were held up by the audience. As he pointed out the crowd, people held signs with pictures of children. “We Are the World” began playing. We were reminded that Michael Jackson will always remain a great performer.
1. Prince: XLI 2007
The number one most-recognized Superbowl performance has been achieved, and it is Prince. Queens’s “We Will Rock You” was the opening piece. Prince exploded onto the stage in a turquoise suit and black hair wrap. His band New Power Generation and dance duo Maya McClean and Nandy McLean joined him on stage to perform “Let’s Go Crazy.” He walked across the stage, jamming to his bright orange guitar.
Legendary presence: The marching band then danced to “Baby I’m a Star” while the stage was lit up with neon lights. They continued their performance with “Proud Mair” by Creedence Clearwater. Prince tried all kinds of music and exceptional artists, including “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan and “Best of You” by the Foo Fighters. Prince’s performance was not only his presence and voice, but his song choices were utterly unexpected. He took them on and made them extraordinary. His “Purple Rain” rendition was possible by the rain during the performance.
10 Worst National Anthems’ Performance at Sports Events Ranked (And 10 Best)
No.10 Best: Beyonce at Super Bowl XXXVIII. Queen Bey’s 2004 anthem really slayed with her phenomenal vocal range and technical skill. Her version hits all the right notes, both literally and figuratively.
No. 10 Worst: Luke Bryan at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game. Country singer Luke Bryan drew criticism for dragging out the anthem and adding unnecessary vocal runs and flourishes. Hockey fans disliked the dramatized, American Idol-style rendition.
No. 9 Best: Billy Joel at Super Bowl XLI. Billy Joel is a consummate musician who proved it with his anthem in 2007. His masterful piano playing and singing shone in this performance.
No. 9 Worst: Charley Pride at World Series 1975. Country singer Charley Pride mostly mumbled his way through a rambling 1975 anthem. Lack of focus and clarity sunk this one.
No. 8 Best: Diana Ross at Super Bowl XXX. The Supreme shone bright with her joyful 1996 anthem. Ross hit impressively high notes while putting her own Motown touch on it.
No. 8 Worst: Fergie at NBA All-Star Game 2018. Fergie gave an unusually sultry and jazzy take in a widely panned 2018 anthem. Her odd stylistic choices earned many cringes.
No. 7 Best: Garth Brooks at Super Bowl XXXVI. Country music legend Garth Brooks gave a simple yet stunning performance in 2002 free of embellishments. His raw vocal ability and reverence impressed all.
No. 7 Worst: Celebrity All-Star Anthem at NBA All-Star Game 2018. This disjointed 2018 celebrity mashup anthem tried too hard. Mismatched singers and weird ad-libbing made it more awkward than inspiring.
No. 6 Best: The Dixie Chicks at Super Bowl XXXVII. In 2003, the Dixie Chicks delivered a flawless three-part harmony anthem that resonated throughout the stadium. Their voices blended in perfect unison to open the game.
No. 6 Worst: Staind Singer at World Series 2003. Staind’s lead singer delivered an awkwardly angsty, grunge-style anthem in 2003 that fell flat. His freestyle take didn’t resonate with the crowd.
No. 5 Best: Cher at Super Bowl XXXIII. Cher belted the anthem passionately in 1999 while decked out in a flamboyant feathered gown. Her vocal prowess and showmanship made it a memorable event.
No. 5 Worst: Christina Aguilera at Super Bowl XLV. Aguilera has an amazing voice, but it failed her in 2011 when she flubbed the lyrics. The high-profile flub was especially embarrassing.
No. 4 Best: Jennifer Hudson at Super Bowl XLIII. Jennifer Hudson’s 2009 anthem showed her powerful voice with a soulful twist. Her version lands as one of the best modern Super Bowl performances.
No. 4 Worst: Steven Tyler at Super Bowl XXXIX. Steven Tyler’s gritty vocals didn’t translate well for the anthem. His Aerosmith style didn’t fit the solemn occasion, leaving many unimpressed.
No. 3 Best: Lady Gaga at Super Bowl L. Lady Gaga proved her vocal talents were no gimmick with an impressive 2016 anthem full of style and grace. Many appreciated her restrained rendition and its focus on the lyrics.
No. 3 Worst: Kat DeLuna at Cowboy Stadium 2011. Pop singer Kat DeLuna struggled mightily with her 2011 anthem, plagued by weak vocals and sometimes forgetting the words. Nerves clearly bested her.
No. 2 Best: Mariah Carey at Super Bowl XXXVI. Mariah Carey wowed fans with her expansive vocal range while delivering a rousing, embellished version of the anthem. It complemented the solemnity of the first Super Bowl after 9/11.
No. 2 Worst: Carl Lewis at Nets vs. Bulls 1993. Olympic great Carl Lewis proved singing talent doesn’t necessarily follow athletic prowess with this wobbly, pitchy anthem. Sticking to sports may have been wise here.
No.1 Best: Whitney Houston at Super Bowl XXV. Whitney Houston’s soaring version of the “Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV in 1991 set the gold standard that other singers still try to reach. In a time of war, her flawless performance galvanized the nation.
No. 1 Worst: Roseanne Barr at Padres vs. Reds 1990. Roseanne Barr’s notorious screeching 1990 anthem lands atop many worst performance lists, and with good reason. Her off-key caterwauling left the baseball crowd cringing.