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2011 Super Bowl Halftime Show: The Best And The Worst

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Inspired by the Black Eyed Peas' awful halftime show in Super Bowl XLV, I thought it was time to look back at the recent (read: past decade) halftime shows to rank the worst ones, and on a better note, the best ones as well to remind us that not everybody sounds like the Black Eyed Peas. 

While I thought the Black Eyed Peas were awful, I don't quite think that they were the worst. Sure, they were boring and the songs not only weren't good songs, they sounded awful from a production standpoint as well. Still, it wasn't quite the worst halftime show from the past decade. The worst three Super Bowl halftime performances are (in order of worst performance to third worst):

  1. Super Bowl XXXVIII: Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Kid Rock and Nelly
  2. Super Bowl XLV: The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash
  3. Super Bowl XXXVII: Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
I think I've railed on the Black Eyed Peas enough, so my ranking there doesn't need further justification. Ditto Janet Jackson et al. Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting were not fun to watch, either. Three completely separate genres mashed together - no thanks. 

What about the top three? That's a bit easier.
  1. Super Bowl XXXVI: U2
  2. Super Bowl XLI: Prince
  3. Super Bowl XXXIX: Paul McCartney
Just as I've railed plenty on the Black Eyed Peas, I've talked about why U2 had the best halftime show plenty as well. Prince, despite playing too many songs for my taste, was easily the second best of the past decade - he was entertaining. Plus, I'm sure he served pancakes after. 

Here's hoping that next year the NFL doesn't decide to produce another show to throw into the worst-of category.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.