Besides the commercials, the halftime show remains the biggest non-football aspect of the Super Bowl. For the game's golden anniversary, the NFL has announced performances by Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.
Though short in length, the Super Bowl halftime show generally garners over 100 million viewers. Each of the last three shows has seen a marked increase in viewership over the previous year's, and with so much star power present in Santa Clara this year, another boost appears likely.
Coldplay, a British rock quartet led by Chris Martin, formed in the mid-1990s and has created some of the most popular music of the new millennium. The group has produced six top-five albums, including its most recent effort, A Head Full of Dreams. The band has also won seven Grammys, including the award for Song of the Year ("Viva La Vida") and Record of the Year ("Clocks").
Joining Coldplay are two Super Bowl halftime show veterans. Beyoncé performed at the big game back in 2013, playing a set of some of her best-known work including "Love on Top," "End of Time" and "Crazy in Love." She then briefly reunited with Destiny's Child cohorts Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for renditions of "Bootylicious" and "Single Ladies." Beyoncé's appearance was mostly well received, as was the one-time-only reunion.
Likewise, Bruno Mars' set from the following year enjoyed a mostly warm reception. Mars played one song with a children's choir ("Billionaire"), another with the Red Hot Chili Peppers ("Give It Away") and gave tribute to the United States Armed Forces during his performance of "Just The Way You Are."
This year's halftime show continues the NFL's recent trend of pursuing a younger audience. In the past, the league has focused on established older acts such as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCarthy and the Who as the centerpieces for the Super Bowl.
However, with time narrowing the pool of options and fans growing more interested in contemporary music, change was inevitable. Last year, pop superstar Katy Perry played a halftime show filled with some of the more memorable stage props and other non-musical elements. During "Teenage Dream," one dancer dressed in a shark costume became nationally renowned as "Left Shark" for his or her highly uncoordinated performance.
Left Shark became the center of its own meme, producing some of the more creative jokes the Internet has to offer.
Will this year's Super Bowl halftime show produce anything quite as memorable? While Coldplay and stage theatrics don't quite go hand-in-hand the way they do with Perry, the presence of Beyoncé and Bruno Mars at least raises the prospect of something remarkable occurring. Additionally, the halftime show also generally includes some surprise guests. The list of bonus performers sometimes leaks in the days before the event.
How to watch
When: Sunday, Feb. 7
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
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