A History of Super Bowl Halftime Performances

Kevin Mazur/WireImageThe Super Bowl halftime show normally features the biggest names in music, who are usually veteran performers.  This year, however, marks the second year in a row that the headline performer is age 30 or under. 

Last year, Bruno Mars, who was 28 at the time, set the record for halftime show viewers when 115 million people tuned in to see his perform with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  This year, Katy Perry, who just turned 30 in October, will take the stage.  Beyonce was 31 when she did the halftime show in 2013.  As Bruno was last year, though, Katy will be joined by an older rock act: Lenny Kravitz.

Still, the NFL’s willingness to continue to book contemporary female pop acts like Katy Perry indicates it might finally be getting over Janet Jackson‘s notorious “wardrobe malfunction” scandal of 2004.  Following that disaster, Super Bowl organizers turned to classic rock acts like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, The Who, and Tom Petty, since they were considered to be “safe” and less controversial.  Contemporary pop returned to the scene in 2011, when the Black Eyed Peas took the stage; no wardrobe malfunctions ensued.

The NFL took a risk in 2012 with one of pop music’s most controversial stars, Madonna, but the only controversy that emerged from that was courtesy of one of her invited guests, M.I.A., who flipped the bird during the performance.  In 2013, Beyonce delivered a widely-acclaimed performance, though some felt her outfit and her gyrations were a bit racy.  

Early in her career, Katy had been a bit controversial due to her #1 hit “I Kissed a Girl,” and for her cleavage-baring outfits, but these days, she’s mostly seen as a family-friendly performer who makes great pop records and puts on a spectacular, colorful live show.

Believe it or not, the trend of having major pop, rock and country music stars appear at the Super Bowl halftime show only dates back to 1991, when New Kids on the Block performed. Before that, the halftime show usually consisted of marching bands, older stars like Chubby Checker and Ella Fitzgerald, or the G-rated vocal troupe Up with People. But after ’91, it was all stars, all the time.  Here’s a reminder of who’s played Super Bowl halftime shows since then:

1991 — New Kids on the Block
1992 — Gloria Estefan
1993 — Michael Jackson, performing with 3,500 children
1994 — Country stars Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Wynonna, and Naomi Judd
1995 — Patti Labelle, Miami Sound Machine & Tony Bennett
1996 — Diana Ross
1997 — ZZ Top, James Brown, the Blues Brothers featuring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi
1998 — Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, the Temptations, Queen Latifah
1999 — Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
2000 — Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton
2001 — Aerosmith, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige
2002 — U2
2003 — Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
2004 — Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Kid Rock, P. Diddy
2005 — Paul McCartney
2006 — The Rolling Stones
2007 — Prince
2008 — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
2009 — Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
2010 — The Who
2011 — Black Eyed Peas
2012 — Madonna
2013 — Beyonce (and Destiny’s Child, briefly)
2014 — Bruno Mars feat. Red Hot Chili Peppers
2015 — Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz & surprise guest

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Justin Timberlake Finally Confirms He & Jessica Biel Are Expecting

Tom Munro/RCA RecordsEveryone has known for a while now that Justin Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel are expecting a baby, because Justin’s ‘N SYNC bandmate Joey Fatone spilled the beans to a magazine in December.  But neither JT nor Jessica had ever confirmed it…until now.

On Saturday, Justin’s 34th birthday, he posed a photo on Instagram of himself kissing what we assume is Biel’s bare pregnant belly.  The caption reads, “Thank you EVERYONE for the Bday wishes! This year, I’m getting the GREATEST GIFT EVER. CAN’T WAIT.”

He added the hashtags, “#BoyOrGirl #YouNeverKnow #WeDontEvenKnow #WeAreTakingBets.”

Justin and Jessica tied the knot in 2012.

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Whitney Houston’s Daughter Found Unresponsive, Transported to Hospital

Dave Kotinsky/Getty ImagesBobbi Kristina Brown, the only child of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, was transported to a Georgia hospital on Saturday morning after she was found unresponsive.

Police responded to a 911 call at a home in Roswell, Georgia; Bobbi’s husband Nick Gordon and a friend had discovered her in the tub and had begun CPR.  When police arrived on scene, they started life-saving measures until rescue personnel arrived.  Bobbi, 21, was transported to North Fulton Hospital.  Police are still on the scene investigating the incident.

On February 11, 2012, Bobbi’s mother Whitney Houston was found unconscious in a hotel room bathtub in Beverly Hills, CA, and was later pronounced dead.

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Geronimo! Sheppard Lines Up TV Performances, Sets Debut Album Release Date

Republic RecordsAustralian band Sheppard, which is making waves on the charts with their single “Geronimo,” has set a March 10 release date for their debut album, Bombs Away. The band, which will be opening for Meghan Trainor on her upcoming tour starting February 11, also has booked a slew of TV appearances.

Sheppard, which takes its name from the three Sheppard siblings who are part of the lineup, will perform February 9 on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and March 10 on NBC’s Today show.  On March 13, they’ll perform on ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael.

“Geronimo” and Bombs Away were massive hits in Sheppard’s native Australia, and they’ve already won an ARIA Award, Australia’s equivalent of a Grammy.

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Super Bowl National Anthem Singers: A History

NFL MediaThis Sunday, Idina Menzel will take the stage to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, marking the second year in a row that the NFL has chosen a female performer who isn’t a pop superstar to do the honors.

While Idina scored her first top-10 pop hit this past year with “Let It Go,” she’s better known as a Tony-winning Broadway star, or as an actress, having appeared in Glee and movies like Enchanted.  Last year’s Super Bowl anthem singer was opera legend Renee Fleming.  Prior to that, we had six years of female pop divas taking the mic, including Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, and four American Idol alums: Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Carrie Underwood

The last time a male performer sang the anthem was in 2007, at Super Bowl 41, when Billy Joel did the honors.  By the way, Billy is one of only two artists ever to have done it twice.  In addition to Super Bowl 41, he also did the honors at Super Bowl 23 back in 1989.  The other artist who’s done it twice is Aaron Neville, in 1990 and in 2006.

Most cite Whitney Houston’s performance of the national anthem in 1991 as one of the best Super Bowl anthem performances ever.  Idina Menzel certainly agrees.  Whitney’s performance made a big impact, not just because she sang so well, but because it came during the Gulf War.  Her rendition was so popular that it was released as a single, was included on her greatest hits album, and was re-released to capture the patriotic spirit after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

For a historical perspective, here’s a list of everyone who’s ever performed or sung the National Anthem at the Super Bowl:

1 — Universities of Arizona & Michigan Bands (1967)
2 — Grambling University Band (1968)
3 — Anita Bryant (1969)
4 — Al Hirt (trumpeter) (1970)
5 — Tommy Loy (trumpeter) (1971)
6 — U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale (1972)
7 — Little Angels of Holy Angels Church (Chicago) (1973)
8 — Charley Pride (1974)
9 — Grambling University Band (1975)
10 — Tom Sullivan (1976)
11 — Vicki Carr (sang “America the Beautiful”) (1977)
12 — Phyllis Kelly of NE Louisiana State University (1978)
13 — The Colgate Thirteen (1979)
14 — Cheryl Ladd (1980)
15 — Helen O’Connell (1981)
16 — Diana Ross (1982)
17 — Leslie Easterbrook (1983)
18 — Barry Manilow (1984)
19 — Children’s Choir of San Francisco (1985)
20 — Wynton Marsalis (1986)
21 — Neil Diamond (1987)
22 — Herb Alpert (1988)
23 — Billy Joel (1989)
24 — Aaron Neville (1990)
25 — Whitney Houston (1991)
26 — Harry Connick Jr. (1992)
27 — Garth Brooks (1993)
28 — Natalie Cole (1994)
29 — Kathie Lee Gifford (1995)
30 — Vanessa Williams (1996)
31 — Luther Vandross (1997)
32 — Jewel (1998)
33 — Cher (1999)
34 — Faith Hill (2000)
35 — Backstreet Boys; “America the Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles (2001)
36 — Mariah Carey (2002)
37 — Dixie Chicks (2003)
38 — Beyoncé Knowles (2004)
39 — Combined Choirs of the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Army Herald Trumpets (2005)
40 — Aaron Neville with Dr. John And Aretha Franklin (2006)
41 — Billy Joel (2007)
42 — Jordin Sparks (2008)
43 — Jennifer Hudson (2009)
44 — Carrie Underwood (2010)
45 — Christina Aguilera (2011)
46 — Kelly Clarkson (2012)
47 — Alicia Keys (2013)
48 — Renee Fleming (2014)
49 — Idina Menzel (2015)

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Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Rihanna’s New Video with Kanye West & Paul McCartney

Westbury Road Entertainment/Roc Nation RecordsRihanna has debuted a behind-the-scenes look at at the upcoming video for “FourFiveSeconds,” her collaboration with Kanye West and Paul McCartney.

In the video, we don’t hear from Paul or Kanye; they just walk around, and Paul strums a guitar.  But speaking directly to the camera, a nearly make-up free Rihanna, with slicked-back hair, says, “This is the first song that fans are gonna hear from the new album, and the first visual they see.” 

We then see Rihanna choosing clothes for the shoot, and explaining that Kanye had the vision for the clip’s stripped-down fashion.

“Kanye came up with the idea of doing just some real street denim, All-American look,” she explains.  Modeling her denim shirt, she adds, “This is actually his jacket, that is some Sean John throwback vintage jacket, that is f***ing major.”

“That’s the look. That’s the fashion tip,” she continues.  “Denim never goes out of style. It’s classic. It’s iconic, just like the f**ing Beatles.”

No word on when the video will debut, or when Rihanna’s new album will drop. There are rumors that the unlikely trio will perform together at the Grammys next weekend.

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Jordin Sparks & Idina Menzel Join Charli XCX & FOB for Tonight’s “VH1 Super Bowl Blitz”

Courtesy VH1Jordin Sparks and Idina Menzel have joined the lineup of VH1 + Papa John’s Super Bowl Blitz: A Concert for the Troops, which will air tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Hosted by Nick Lachey, the concert will feature headline performances by Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX.  Arizona native and football fanatic Jordin will introduce a group of top NFL players who’ll be saluting the troops, while Idina, who’ll perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday, will discuss how important the anthem is to the military.

NFL stars Charles Tillman, Jeremy Hill and Maurice Jones-Drew will also appear on the show, which in addition to airing on TV will also stream live at VH1.com and on the VH1 app. 

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Hozier Rocks Out with Ariana Grande’s “Problem” on British Radio

Alex LakeThe music of Hozier and Ariana Grande couldn’t be more different, and that’s why it’s so much fun to hear the Irish singer/songwriter put his own spin on the pop diva’s smash hit “Problem.”

Hozier covered Ariana’s hit for BBC Radio 1′s Live Lounge program, which features artists doing cover versions of other artists’ current tunes.  Hozier gave the song a rock feel, performing with a full band and even a 10-person choir.  Hozier told BBC Radio 1 that he chose the song because he “always found it to be quite an irresistible little beat in the verse and we could have a lot of fun with it.”

Hozier and Ariana are both Grammy nominees.  Both will perform on the Grammy telecast February 8, and both are kicking off U.S. headlining tours in February.

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Sam Smith Reveals How He Stays “Normal”

Theo Wenner for Rolling StoneIn the past year, Sam Smith has managed to hit career highlights that some artists who’ve been around for 20 years have yet to do: he’s appeared on Saturday Night Live, graced the cover of Rolling Stone, sold out Madison Square Garden, duetted with Mary J. Blige, partied with Taylor Swift and been showered with Grammy nominations.  With all this success, how does he keep himself from believing his own hype?  By going with his gut.

In a video posted on Rolling Stone’s website, Sam explains, “When I’m sad, I’m sad. And when I’m having a down day, I’m having a down day. It’s important not to pretend everything’s OK because sometimes things aren’t OK, and that’s all right. It’s all right to have moody days and to be upset, you know, and be tired. I’m a human being, that’s how it should be.”

“And so the way I stay normal,” he adds, “is by letting my feelings take over and letting my feelings lead, not my mind.”

It also helps, Sam says, that he never thought that he’d be an instant smash hit as soon as he launched his career, even though that’s exactly what happened.

“I wanted to be well known at 22 and be making music, but for the success that I’ve had, I never dreamed of that happening now,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I wouldn’t think I’d be playing Madison Square Garden on my first record, didn’t think I would get six Grammy nominations on my first album, I didn’t think I’d sell five million records on my first album, especially in the first year.”

We’ll see if Sam can continue being “normal” after the Grammys on February 8, where he’s sure to take home at least a couple of trophies.

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J. Lo Selling L.A. Mansion for $17 Million

Matthias Vriens-McGrath/FOXAnyone in the market for a $17 million Hidden Hills, California mansion? Jennifer Lopez just put her nine-bedroom property up for sale, according to Variety.

Records show J.Lo and her third ex-husband Marc Anthony paid $8.2 million for the 17,129-square foot property in late 2010. The main house has an unassuming brick facade, but the interior is as swanky as it gets. The master suite reportedly occupies the upper floor’s entire south wing and includes a corner fireplace, a private stone terrace with a gorgeous view and a pair of walk-in closets.

Other famous residents within the Hidden Hills gated community include Jessica Simpson and her hubby Eric Johnson, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and singer Colbie Caillat.

It’s not yet known if Jennifer has plans to buy another house in Los Angeles, but the American Idol judge has been snapping up East Coast properties of late. In May 2013, she purchased a Hamptons mansion for nearly $10 million, and in October 2014 she dropped $20 million for a duplex penthouse in a New York City boutique building.

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