The Who will do the honors of entertaining Super Bowl halftime audiences that don't switch over to the Puppy Bowl this year. The history of the halftime show is a surprising display of ups-and-downs, from mind-blowing performances to corny overproduced ego trips.
The halftime show was hurting. Two years prior, the New Kids on the Block performance was pre-empted by coverage on Desert Storm and their performance was edited down and shown after the game. Then, FOX swooped in and scooped million of viewers away from the halftime show the next year (more on this later). So the producers of the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show pulled out the big gun: a solo performance by Michael Jackson. In full military regalia, Jackson starts with Jam then does a quick wardrobe change for Billie Jean, Black or White, and Heal the World.
Worst: Up With People, FOUR TIMES Sure, there are probably a lot of nice messages coming from the Up With People group. However, it's delivered so bizarrely that you can't help but laugh. At least this brought us the "Hooray for Everything' gag from The Simpsons.
Best: In Living Color, Super Bowl XXVI Technically it wasn't a Super Bowl halftime show. FOX didn't even have the rights to broadcast football - yet they took 25 million viewers away from the real deal with a brilliant In Living Color episode. Those who stayed with the Super Bowl were treated to Gloria Estefan and figure skaters. FOX didn't bother to pull a similar stunt the next year against Michael Jackson and they signed an NFL broadcasting deal a year later.
Worst: Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Super Bowl XXIV Next time you complain that a band you don't like is playing a set at halftime, consider Edward James Olmos narrating an entire stage show featuring Cirque du Soleil wanna-bes and an 80-piece orchestra. I don't even want to think about how much this cost.
Best: U2, Super Bowl XXXVI U2 was handed one of the hardest years to have a halftime show. Still, months after 9/11, they performed a rousing medley of Beautiful Day, MLK, and Where the Streets Have No Name to a backdrop of those lost in the tragedy.
Worst:Justin Timberlake, XXXV and XXXVIII J.T. gets a bad rap, but he's the only connection between two of the worst shows of all-time. First 'N Sync, Aerosmith, and Britney Spears collaborated to destroy Walk This Way, courtesy of MTV. Then, he pulled off Janet Jackson's bra and forever changed censorship rules and the halftime show. Since the latter fiasco, we have yet to enjoy a halftime show featuring an artist who debuted after 1980.
Best: Paul McCartney Super Bowl XXXIX The first of the latest trend of "safe and superstar" performers after "Nipplegate," Paul proved you need little more than a piano and a band to deliver a great halftime show. Okay, being a Beatle helps, too.
Worst: Elvis Presto, "Diet Coke Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D," Super Bowl XXIII Yes, America has been infatuated with 3-D since The Honeymooners. You have to at least watch Bob Costas ham it up while informing viewers how to wear their glasses, as well as proclaim that this is the "single proudest moment of my life" to laughter in the background. It appears that there was supposed to be an audience card trick, but so many left their seats during the show that it fell flat on its face.
Best: Prince, Super Bowl XLI Prince rocked a rain-soaked stage and brought the crowd to their feet with a great "All Along The Watchtower" cover and various guitar solos between tunes in his medley. He even got away with a risqué silhouette using his guitar neck near his waist.