Regardless of who would have performed at the 2021 halftime show, it would have been a flop. The event took place in the middle of a global pandemic; of course, the energy was going to be super low, and the stadium was half empty. And this was exactly what The Weeknd performed when it went up on stage.
Lead singer Abel Tesfaye made the most out of a very difficult situation, singing hits like “Blinding Lights” and “After Hours” and dancing alongside an army of robot-mummy dancers with their faces covered in bandages.
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.
Worst: Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, 2004
Nobody will ever forget the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show for all the wrong reasons. The show was going great for the first few minutes, with P. Diddy, Kid Rock, and Nelly putting on great performances. Then Janet Jackson appeared on stage, and Justin Timberlake joined in to do a “Rock Your Body” tribute, which was incredible until Timberlake exposed Jackson’s breast!
The 2-second mishap caused a storm of trouble, with the FCC getting over half a million complaints from the audience. Both artists said it was a wardrobe malfunction and not intentional, but that didn’t matter much after the fact.
Worst: Outkast Turned Down the 2004 Halftime Show
A little-known fact is that back in 2004, Outkast turned down an offer to perform in the halftime show. The famous rap duo apparently had creative differences from the show’s producers. Big Boi claimed that he could have gone ahead with the requests, but his partner Andre 3000, was not willing to compromise on their songs.
The show’s producers wanted the rap duo to shorten their hits “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move”, and the answer was a firm NO. There was a silver lining, though; if Outkast would have said yes, we wouldn’t have the infamous Janet Jackson scandal to look back to.
Worst: Jay-Z Says No to the Show, 2017
You would think that any artist would jump on the opportunity to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show. But you’d be wrong. Famous American rapper Jay-Z turned down the offer to perform at the 2017 halftime show, and there were speculations as to why.
Firstly, there was a rumor going around that his wife, Beyonce, never got paid for her Super Bowl halftime show, which was never confirmed or denied. Then, the rapper explained he said no in support of NFL player Colin Kaepernick and his ban from the league.