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The history of the Super Bowl halftime show

Prince performs during the halftime show of the NFL's Super Bowl in Miami, Florida 2007. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The history of the Super Bowl halftime show

The Weeknd will bring the super to the Super Bowl with his halftime performance this year.

The history of the Super Bowl halftime show

Following his much-discussed Grammys snub, no doubt the Canadian singer will be keen to prove to the Recording Academy that his lack of nominations was a big mistake.

The star broke several records with his album After Hours, and his track ‘Blinding Lights’ was the most streamed song in the world on Spotify in 2020.

So we can expect to hear plenty of hits that will be popular with fans when he takes the stage for his halftime performance.

When it was announced that The Weeknd would be the Pepsi Halftime Show performer, the singer said it was a dream come true.

“We all grow up watching the world’s biggest acts playing the Super Bowl and one can only dream of being in that position. I’m humbled, honoured and ecstatic to be the centre of that infamous stage this year,” he said.

 

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The Super Bowl halftime show started to feature pop music acts in 1991, with Michael Jackson performing in 1993.

With pop stars helping to broaden the television audience and nationwide interest in the Super Bowl, Jackson was brought in to boost the prominence of the halftime show.

Jackson’s performance was also a bid by the network hosting the Super Bowl to prevent audiences leaving the game during halftime to watch counter-programming on other networks.

His halftime show is remembered for its almost two minutes of Jackson standing in silence before he even uttered a note.

Eleven years later, Jackson’s sister Janet’s performance with Justin Timberlake at the halftime show is best remembered for its ‘nipplegate’ controversy.

Timberlake exposed one of Jackson’s breasts in an apparent ‘wardrobe malfunction’, arguably damaging the latter’s career beyond repair.

The backlash saw the halftime show return to showcasing a single artist or group, mainly rock acts from decades gone by, in an attempt to make the show more ‘family friendly’.

Since 2011 we’ve seen a return to popular contemporary musicians playing at half time.

While artists don’t get paid to perform at the Super Bowl, their expenses are covered and the exposure often sees sales of performers’ records increase.

Michael Jackson was the exception to not getting paid, with a donation made to his Heal the World Foundation.

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