The hard work behind halftime

A few of the most iconic halftime performances including Prince, Rihanna’s dancers and The Weeknd’s dancers.
A few of the most iconic halftime performances including Prince, Rihanna’s dancers and The Weeknd’s dancers.
Kadence Dean

When it comes to the Super Bowl Halftime Show, it is easy to look over the effort and work that must be put into it to create a once in a lifetime performance. A Super Bowl halftime almost always features eccentric dancers, difficult routines and some of the most recognizable music of our generations. The question is how does one execute a performance as spectacular as this one? 

Overall, the Super Bowl process is really just decided in a couple of meetings including all the important people. The Verge explains the process in a nutshell:

“In September they hire the halftime talent… because we need that many months to build these gigantic sets and visions of what the show is going to be. The creative team gets together with the artists, producers and the NFL and they all sit down. Mostly, the producers, the NFL just kind of signs off yes or no,” said The Verge.

Throughout years there have been many Super Bowl performances, all since it became popular in the 90’s. There are quite a few that stand out compared to the others, top five being (according to Rolling Stone):

  1. Prince (2007)
  2. U2 (2002)
  3. Beyoncé (2013)
  4. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar (2022)
  5. Aerosmith, Britney Spears, ‘NSync, Nelly & Mary J. Blige (2001)

Choosing the Super Bowl Halftime performer comes down to many different factors, being popular opinion, sponsoring/advertising, the NFL and its production and event partners, affiliates with the host city and the headliners themselves. Over time a lot goes into this process considering the halftime went from showcasing local bands to high charting artists. Some may be surprised to know that these performers actually do not get paid. The Super Bowl Halftime show is almost treated as an exposure and publicity experiment. Performers, although they do not get paid for their performance, get paid in the audience’s reactions and opinions. An exceptional example of this is the most recent performance by Rihanna.

 “…Rihanna’s total on-demand streams jumped 211% from Saturday (the day before the Super Bowl) through Monday (the day after the game). Her digital album sales climbed by 301%, while digital song sales exploded by 390%,” said Forbes.

So, given not having an actual paycheck from the NFL, performers make a pretty penny from just the publicity. Performers like Jay-Z, Pink and Cardi B although disagree, have since declined performing at halftime.

Although one way this nonexistent paycheck is a negative, is for the dancers. There has been recent controversy for how much the halftime dancers get paid, which is much less than sufficient. Dancers are important in making a performance truly successful. They complete the vision. Many think differently on the topic of getting compensation for time on the field. As some think they should absolutely be getting paid, some also see the Super Bowl as an experience and privilege that does not even compare to the money that could be paid.

A few of the most iconic halftime performances including Prince, Rihanna’s dancers and The Weeknd’s dancers.
(Kadence Dean)
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