It’s hard to imagine rock legends like The Who having a bad show, but unfortunately, this was the case for the 2010 halftime show. One needs to remember that these guys have been around since the 60s, and by 2010, Townshend and Daltrey were well above 60 years of age.
Maybe, the English performers didn’t understand how huge this show is for Americans and didn’t give it their absolute best. Critics ripped them apart, and audiences, especially those who knew what The Who sounds like, were incredibly disappointed.
Worst: Up With People, 1986
The 1986 halftime show featured the American nonprofit organization ‘Up With People.’ It was the fourth time they’d performed in a Super Bowl halftime show, and it was terrible. The songs on the set were very slow and the dancers seemed bored out of their minds.
The critics were even worse, describing the performers as an “English language overdub of a Kim Jong Un birthday celebration”, and the music as “what the Manson family would’ve sounded like if they hadn’t become criminals.” As a performer, that’s probably the worst review you could possibly get.
Worst: The New Kids on the Block, 1991
With the Gulf War going on in 1991, that year’s Super Bowl halftime show was meant to support the troops. The performers were the pop boy band New Kids on the Block, who performed their hit song “Step by Step. The stage was invaded by children jumping around to the beat, and then suddenly, Disney characters appeared on stage. The song changed to “It’s A Small World”.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad since the late diva Whitney Houston did deliver an extraordinary rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” anthem. The show wasn’t played on live TV, and Houston’s performance became the only part to be replayed on TV.
Worst: Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi, 2019
2019 was a difficult year for the Super Bowl show producers to get performers. Tons of artists refused to perform because the NFL conflicted with Kaepernick, and so the lineup ended up being Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi. The halftime show was mainly criticized for being uneventful and boring, with the artists singing their usual hits in a mechanical way.
To make matters worse, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine got a lot of negative reactions when he took off his coat and performed shirtless. People saw this as an unfair double standard since Janet Jackson had been so heavily criticized 15 years back for showing a breast.
Worst: Shania Twain, Sting, And No Doubt, 2003
Shania Twain’s performance at the 2003 halftime show was a disappointment for country music fans everywhere. Twain’s set was so bland that the cameras focused on the band, pulling the cameras away from her.
To make things worse, Bon Jovi took the stage with his hit “it’s My Life” in the worst possible moment, right before the Buccaneers received the trophy. The only thing that might have saved the show from total disaster was Sting’s “Message in a Bottle” duet with Gwen Stefani.