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Super Bowl 2019 halftime: The 10 most bizarre halftime show moments of all-time, ranked


After one football team plays another football team for 30 official minutes (but actually something like two hours) on Sunday, Maroon 5 will headline the Super Bowl LIII halftime show on Sunday in Atlanta. We can probably assume the band has big things planned, like halftime acts every year, as Adam Levine and Co. (but really just Adam Levine) try to generate some buzz in front of a massive TV audience. 

The bar is certainly set pretty high, however, as some absolutely ridiculous things have gone down during Super Bowl halftime shows over the years. The show wasn’t always the complete circus that it’s become these days but, as artists have tried to one-up one another over the years, we’ve been treated to some truly wild and weird moments. 

Here are 10 of the most bizarre moments ever witnessed at the Super Bowl halftime show.

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers perform with unplugged instruments

Listen, everybody knows that plenty of the Super Bowl halftime shows performances have been prerecorded, but it doesn’t seem like asking a whole lot to at least plug in the instruments and pretend like there’s a shred of authenticity to the live performance. When the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage in 2014, people were miffed that they fully “rocked out” without even bothering to hide that their instruments were unplugged. I guess you could say they willing to … give it away.

Also, Prince played an electric guitar in the pouring rain. JUST SAYING!

Super Bowl LIII is Sunday, Feb. 3, in Atlanta and it will air on CBS and streamed here on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App for free on most connected devices.

9. Diana Ross leaves in a helicopter

A lot of performers seem to focus on making a grand entrance at the Super Bowl halftime show, but Diana Ross was more concerned with her exit in 1996. As she was finishing up her set, a helicopter flew into the stadium, landed, picked her up, then flew away as she sat in the open cabin of the bird. Again, the Red Hot Chili Peppers wouldn’t even plug in their instruments.

8. M.I.A. flips the bird


Kevin Mazur (edited)

If you blinked you may have missed it, but M.I.A. delivered a bold middle finger to the world during her performance with Madonna and Nicki Minaj in 2012. Many people weren’t thrilled, including folks at the NFL. The league responded by filing a lawsuit suing the rapper for millions in damages and demanding a public apology. Seems a bit excessive for a quick flip of the bird, but there’s also some hilarious irony to the fact that the league took a chance on the controversial Madonna only to get bit by one of her guests.

From Gladys Knight’s anthem to who will score first to Maroon 5 to the Super Bowl MVP, get everything you need to make the right picks for Sunday in our Ultimate Super Bowl Props guide  

7. Bruce Springsteen’s power slide

The Boss got his shot to take the stage in 2009 and, boy, did he ever utilize all of it. This incredible power slide sent his crotch straight into a camera and right into living rooms across the world. It was truly a dream come true for every sportswriter in America.

6. MJ’s standoff

In what may be the power move of all power moves, Michael Jackson kicked off his 1993 halftime show at the Rose Bowl by literally just standing on stage doing absolutely nothing for about two minutes. Keep in mind, performers are usually given only about 12 minutes of stage time, so Michael used about 17 percent of his performance to just stare at the crowd in silence. That’s something that only one of the greatest in the history of the game could get away with.

5. The entirety of the 1991 halftime show

Have you ever watched a halftime show and thought, “man, this would be way better if it was comprised entirely of small children?” Probably not, but that’s pretty much exactly what Disney delivered with their 1991 show in Tampa. The show featured hundreds of singing and dancing children, scores of costumed Disney characters, and just an overall mess of nightmare fuel. The only appearances from actual adults came in the form of a message from President George H.W. Bush and a performance by New Kids on the Block. 

All of it can be best summed up by the reaction from this poor kid.

4. Katy Perry’s Left Shark

Katy Perry’s 2015 show can best be remembered as “a trip to the beach after taking a lifetime’s supply of acid” and its most famous star was Left Shark. Whoever was in that suit seemed to be having the time of his/her life and just seemingly went rogue with a bunch of random dance moves. But Left Shark crushed them and, more importantly, became an instant viral star. Right Shark, however, was immediately fired and cast from society for being such a pathetic, boring loser.

3. Lady Gaga’s roof jump

Lady Gaga decided to make a daring entrance in 2017 by jumping off the roof of NRG Stadium in Houston, or at least appearing to do that. The jump was actually prerecorded for somewhat obvious reasons, but that doesn’t really matter. What does matter, however, is that it was the most hilarious jump that anyone could have ever hoped for. Who jumps like that? Just an incredibly awkward and incredible way to make an alleged leap of faith. Long live Gaga.

2. The Indiana Jones spectacle

It’s impossible to pick a single moment from this show because it was all complete insanity … but also kind of badass? Five-percent Patti LaBelle, five-percent Tony Bennett, and 90-percent Indiana Jones choreographed fight scenes. (You really have to watch the entire thing. It’s ridiculous.)

Disney, which produced the show, clearly wanted a shameless emphasis on promoting their new Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland and were willing to do whatever they had to do to make it happen … including LIGHTING A GUY ON FIRE. 

Oh, and LaBelle and Bennett finished off the show by singing “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” from, yup, ‘The Lion King.’ 

I imagine the planning of this halftime show was like that scene from ‘Miracle’ but instead of shouting “again!” over and over,  Herb Brooks just keeps blowing his whistle and screaming “MORE DISNEY!”

1. Nipplegate


Yeah, I mean … obviously. The only way you’re topping this is if someone “accidentally” exposes TWO nipples.

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