Why is the Super Bowl halftime show such a big deal?
The office this morning was buzzing with talk of the Super Bowl, but considering the fact that we work in the music industry (for all intents and purposes), most of our conversations focused on the halftime show. We discussed things like Bruno Mars’ strange suit (he really needed a Rivar’s blazer), Chris Martin’s poor singing posture, and Beyonce’s ability to do no wrong (in our humble opinion). As we talked about our favorite and least favorite moments from last night’s show, it got me thinking: what makes the halftime show so special that it encourages many people to tune in for halftime and disregard the rest of the game? In this week’s blog, we’re going to highlight a few key points regarding the evolution of the Super Bowl halftime show and give you our top 3 reasons why we think the halftime show has become one of the biggest live entertainment shows of the year.
1960s through 1980s: The NFL keeps it classic with marching bands and some very family-friendly pop culture influence.
Show choir fans might like:
- (1984) Disney’s Salute to the Silver Screen: girls with big hair dance in red sequined costumes, Goofy tap dances, and Mickey comes out to lead an encore of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” What more do you need?
- (1988) The Radio City Rockettes tap their way across the field, accompanied by 88 pianos. It gets a little funky with a strange song about twisting and shouting (but it’s not “Twist and Shout”…), but the class and elegance of the Rockettes will win over every show choir kid’s heart.
1990s – mid-2000s: The halftime show begins to draw more viewers than the game itself.
- (1993) Michael Jackson performs at the Super Bowl, making him the first major pop artist to perform at the halftime show. His performance completely altered the future of the Super Bowl halftime show.
- (Late 1990s – 2005) The Super Bowl captivated older audiences in this era with artists such as The Who, The Rolling Stones, Prince, and U2. There were a few shows thrown in there with people like Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, and Justin Timberlake, but the older rockers dominated this era.
2011-2016: Pop stars are the name of the game.
- (2011) Black-Eyed Peas
- (2012) Madonna with Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO, CeeLo Green
- (2013) Beyonce and Destiny’s Child
- (2014) Bruno Mars
- (2015) Katy Perry
- (2016) Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyonce
- Need we say more?
OUR TOP 3: Reasons (we think!) the Super Bowl halftime show has become the entertainment event of the year.
- Big names mean big numbers.
Michael Jackson wasn’t exactly a small name in the early 90s, so it’s no wonder that the 1993 halftime show drew so many viewers. After attracting a massive TV audience, the networks and the NFL caught on and continued to move forward with a trend of inviting major names to perform at the Super Bowl. Since then, every artist who performed at the game was a chart-topper, and the halftime show continues to draw more viewers than the rest of the game.
- People love spectacle.
From the Ziegfeld Follies to the Super Bowl halftime show, there has been no shortage of “spectacle” in American history. What can we say? We love our sparkle and spectacle. We are in the show choir business after all. But truly, people LOVE spectacle. There’s something magically captivating about fireworks, moving stages, and flashing lights, and the spectacle continues to grow with each halftime show. If the 2016 halftime show was as spectacular as it was, we’re excited to see what will happen at future Super Bowl games.
- No team affiliation allows for a moment of unity.
While the pop stars are fantastic and the stages are incredible, we think it’s the non-competitive aspect of the halftime show that draws so many people. The Super Bowl can bring out the worst in team rivalries and create tension among fans, but the halftime show erases all tension and rivalry for at least fifteen minutes and allows everyone to come together and enjoy a great show. The only two aspects of the Super Bowl that have this ability are both music-related: the National Anthem and the halftime show. Music brings people together in the best way possible, and the Super Bowl halftime show is the perfect example of this beautiful gift that music offers.
We all loved watching the halftime show last night and are grateful that music, in some capacity, is a part of one of the largest sporting events every year. What are your favorite Super Bowl halftime show moments from your lifetime? We’d love to know!