Defining a Decade

Author: Ashley Hedge

Graphic of Super Bowl Halftime show"

When we talk about what goes into making a Super Bowl performance great, there are so many factors to consider.

First and foremost: production.

I want to feel like the performance I am viewing through my TV screen is nothing short of cinematic. If it's not over the top, in your face and seemingly impossible, I’m sorry to say it’s likely to drift away in memory, forgotten as the new overtime rules to the 49ers (too soon?).

Second: guest performers.

We all love a solo moment — just not during the Super Bowl. It’s a team sport, ladies and gentlemen, and halftime performers are in no way exempt from the rules of the game.

Last but certainly not least: universality.

According to NFL Football Operations, 123.4 million people tuned in for the big game this year and halftime performers face the daunting task of somehow satisfying the diverse music taste of such a large sample. This is not the moment to pull out your deep tracks or songs only the fans appreciate (I’m looking at you, Usher). Stick to the tried and true: the music everyone has heard and can recognize, and maybe you have a shot of overcoming those impossible odds of satisfaction.

So, without further ado, I present to you the top 5 (in my humble opinion) Super Bowl halftime performances of the past decade.


At lofty No. 1: Dr. Dre and Co.

Hip-hop returned to the Super Bowl with a bang in 2022, with an overwhelming number of legends taking the stage to perform at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. Just the sheer talent present, with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak, granted the performance the top spot by default.


No. 2 (and don’t be mad): Lady Gaga

The pop star jumped (literally) onto the halftime stage during the height of her career and left almost no corner of America untouched with hit songs like “Poker Face” and “Born This Way.”


No. 3: “Queen Bey” herself

As the most awarded artist of our generation, Beyonce showed up and showed out, delivering an out-of-this-world performance sonically and visually.


No. 4: Madonna

Bringing in guest performers LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A, and CeeLo Green, the ‘80s icon somehow created the perfect blend of nostalgic hits and current chart-toppers.


No. 5: Katy Perry

One word and one word only: iconic (no, I will not be explaining further).