The 10 Most Awesomely Terrible Super Bowl Halftime Shows Of All Time

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I’m not excited whatsoever for Madonna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show. Not because I dislike Madonna or think that she’ll do a bad job; on the contrary, I’m sure she’ll play the hits and bring out A-list special guests galore and make a giant entertaining spectacle and it’ll all be completely polished and well-done.

The only problem is, there’s nothing memorable or transcendent about ‘good’ Super Bowl Halftime Shows. Prince and Bruce Springsteen each did about as well as a Super Bowl performer could possibly aim for, and both performances still boiled down to just 12 pretty good minutes from musicians whose fans have assuredly seen them do far better 2-3 hour concerts on other occasions. The biggest standout moment was still Springsteen sliding into the camera.

The only time we remember a Super Bowl Halftime Show is when it is memorably bad. That is to say, not Black Eyed Peas “boring bad,” but rather, something so creatively ill-conceived and lame on the massive, sprawling scale that only Super Bowl Halftime Shows can provide, that we can’t help but be entertained, if for the wrong reasons. With that in mind, here’s a look back through the Glory Days of the terrible Super Bowl Halftime Show with this list of The 10 Most Awesomely Terrible Super Bowl Halftime Shows Of All Time:

10. Super Bowl 31, 1997: The New Blues Brothers with James Brown and ZZ Top

HELLOOOOOO Louisiana Superdooooomeeeee!!! Please welcome the Godfathers of New Orleans music: Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi and John Goodman!!! Wait, James Brown? That’s not so ba- oop, ZZ Top. Soulful! Definitely worthy of a Fox ‘Special Report’:

This excerpt unfortunately cuts off before ZZ Top’s legendary soulful contribution. And before David Cross hops up onstage with Jim Belushi.


9. Super Bowl 33, 1999: Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Literally titled “A Celebration of Soul, Salsa and Swing.” So…Music? You’re just celebrating Music. Any nods to Hawaiian Music or Moog Synthesizers or Baroque Classical concertos? Or are we only honoring the types of music beginning with S, as in S-uper Bowl? Ahh, that makes s-ense:

Also, this was a slightly odd / insensitive way for Stevie Wonder to enter:

8. Super Bowl 21, 1987: Hollywood Turns 100

“Ladies and gentlemen, Mister George Burns!”

“Thank you, Snow White. Pretty girl. Little too old for me.”

Bam – Instant Super Bowl Classic. (Watch for Mickey Rooney at 1:56):

7. Super Bowl 22, 1988: Chubby Checker, The Rockettes, and 88 Grand Pianos

Nothing quite like rolling out 88 grand pianos in honor of 1988 and the Tom Hanks / Robert Loggia piano scene in Big. Or possibly a tribute to the Wall Of Sound. Mostly Loggia though.

6. Super Bowl 11, 1977: Disney “It’s a Small World”

One of many Disney-themed Halftime Shows and emblematic of the first 15 years or so of Halftime Shows, this one’s probably less “funny-bad” and more on the “excruciating” side. Although I guess it’s not so bad for the 1850s. Wait, Jaws came out two years before this? You have no excuse:

5. Super Bowl 19, 1985: Tops In Blue “World Of Children’s Dreams”

If NC-17 exists for movies that are too graphic for an R-Rating, this Halftime Show necessitates an equivalent rating for being more G-Rated than G:

P.S. – What child above the age of 1 is actually inspired by this? My daughter is negative-10 and she’s already rolling her eyes.

4. Super Bowl 34, 2000: Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, 80-person choir, and Edward James Olmos

“Two worlds, one planet. We are not alone on this earth. Let us celebrate all the creatures who make this their home.” – Edward James Olmos, Super Bowl XXXIV Halftime Show. I repeat, Edward James Olmos, Super Bowl XXIV Halftime Show:

3. Super Bowl 25, 1991: New Kids On The Block, Disney characters, and Warren Moon

“And now, to honor our Armed Forces children, Coca-Cola proudly presents The New Kids On The Block!”

“YESSSSS!!!!!!” – Our Armed Forces, and me watching this right now:

2. Super Bowl 29, 1995: Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye

No jokes (or video) can improve upon this already-perfect description:

The halftime show was titled “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye” and was produced by Disney to promote their Indiana Jones Adventure attraction at Disneyland that opened later that year. The show featured actors playing Indiana Jones and his girlfriend Marion Ravenwood who were raiding the Vince Lombardi Trophy from the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. The show also had performances by singers Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, and the Miami Sound Machine. The show ended with everybody singing “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.”

Give me one good reason why this isn’t just the Halftime Show every year? Anyone?

1. Super Bowl 23, 1989: Be-Bop Bamboozled In 3D starring Elvis Presto

This Halftime Show featured a singing magician named “Elvis Presto” performing the world’s “Largest Card Trick” to the tune of a non-Elvis-song in 3-D. Despite Bob Costas’ stellar introduction, I have NO IDEA WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE OR WHY THIS IS BEING BROADCAST TO THE ENTIRE WORLD:

So basically, Super Bowl Halftime Shows do, in fact, suck now. Because they’re usually good.

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