We all have fond memories of Katy Perry’s performance at the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show (shoutout to Left Shark!), but weren’t you just a tad perplexed when it was announced funk rock muscle god Lenny Kravitz would be joining her? It was definitely an interesting collaboration because Perry and Kravitz are drastically different artists; however, this wasn’t the first time the Super Bowl halftime show merged two unlikely musicians together. (Madonna and LMFAO, anyone?)
From Britney Spears and Aerosmith in 2001 to the The Black Eyed Peas and Slash in 2011, the Super Bowl is one of the few places where punk quite literally goes pop (and vice versa). While the actual quality of the performances vary, one thing is absolutely certain: They were all weird as hell. Below, we’ve picked the nine strangest collaborations to ever grace the halftime show stage.
Madonna feat. LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green (2012)
When the Queen of Pop agreed to perform at the 2012 show, we were prepared for some elaborate choreography, glamorous costumes, and tongue-in-cheek sex appeal. We weren’t prepared for her to go all, “I’m a cool mom!” and bring on contemporary acts like LMFAO, Minaj, M.I.A. and Green. What transpired was an enjoyable dance party that definitely had its fair share of cringe-worthy moments. (Like when Madge got on Red Foo’s shoulders and tried to act “turnt.”)
The Black Eyed Peas and Slash (2011)
The Peas kicked off this performance with some off-pitch techno tomfoolery. Then Slash hit the stage and things got really weird. BEP’s electronic sound mixed with Slash’s classic rock vibe created a bizarre cocktail we don’t want to drink again.
Janet Jackson and Kid Rock (2004)
Diddy, Nelly and Justin Timberlake (Nipplegate 2004) also appeared in this performance. While Jackson and Kid Rock didn’t technically perform together during the set, the fact these two were even considered for the same halftime show is bizarre. One second, Jackson is serving us life with synchronized dancing and hair flips. The next, Kid Rock is emerging wearing an American flag and causing mass confusion. What is life?
Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting (2003)
This performance increased the “rock” as it went on. It started with Twain in all her glossy country glory, then transitioned to the punk-tastic No Doubt and finished with Sting’s beautiful wails. It’s the weirdest (read: best) musical journey you’ll ever take.
Aerosmith, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly (2001)
Do you think BritBrit even knew who Aerosmith was before performing with them? We’re not so sure. Either way, this halftime show was a cluster in the coolest way possible. First, the 11-year-old girls of the world got their fix with some A-plus *NSYNC serenades. Then, Aerosmith did its thing for their mothers. Finally, Blige and Nelly showed up because…why the fuck not? The 2001 show was a lot to digest, but let’s be real: It’s iconic.
Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias and Toni Braxton (2000)
If you ever wanted to know what a Disney halftime show looked like, 2000 was your year. Aguilera and Iglesias kicked off the set with their barely legal pitch perfection. Then, Collins swooped in and brought the feels, followed by the always powerful Braxton. Again, this show was perfectly enjoyable, but the image of Aguilera and Collins kicking it backstage with craft services is too hilarious for words.
Patti Labelle and Indiana Jones (1995)
This extravaganza also featured Teddy Pendergrass, Tony Bennett, Arturo Sandoval, and Miami Sound Machine. But the real, “WTF?!” moment was seeing the Godmother of Soul open for a bizarre live Indiana Jones fight. Seriously: Labelle starts singing, and then five minutes later someone gets lit on fire. This was basically the Vegas Cirque du Soleil show that never happened.
Gloria Estefan and Olympic figure skaters Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill (1992)
This is so damn ’90s. Stefani was everything in that frilly one-piece, and the figure skaters were a nice (albeit random AF) touch. Cue the nostalgia.
News Kids on the Block and assorted children (1991)
If you didn’t squeal a little bit when NKOTB made its sparkly debut, you’re dead inside. What made this performance so confusing were the thousands of children dancing around the boy band like some bizarre cotton candy-fueled ritual. It’s more than a little creepy. Like, where were these kids’ parents?
[Photo: Getty Images]