A landmark Super Bowl 50 is tough to top, but with such a delightfully diverse landscape of current music makers, there is surely a solo artist or band that can kick off the Super Bowl’s second fifty years.
Below are 17 thoughts for next year. Vote for your favorite candidate, or make your case for an unnamed artist with a write-in vote!
Taylor Swift -- There are only seven days left until the Grammy Awards, and Swifty’s got a nomination for each and every one of them. Fresh off her 1989 World Tour (nay, Takeover), Swift’s schedule is pretty clear (for now) according to Instagram. (And she’s got her pick of the litter with additional musical guests at this point.)
Walk The Moon -- Perhaps a wildcard selection, this Cincinnati rock band got listeners to “Shut Up And Dance” all throughout the summer of 2015. The Hot 100 top fiver may have only two albums, but their catalog is as up-tempo and energetic as their performance execution.
Adele -- Alright, we know what you’re thinking. “Hello” doesn’t immediately spark hands-in-the-air hype. But as the record-breaking songstress has shown in both bombastic (and human) performances like her triumphant Radio City show and in the close-knit confines of James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke,” this lady is all about the Super Bowl’s true values: a cackle and a cold one.
Calvin Harris -- There should be a place for dance music at the Super Bowl table, and who better to take the head seat than Harris? He’s the first DJ to play Coachella as the premier headliner; he might as well be the first one to play a halftime show. Forget everything you think you know about live EDM performances being “some guy jamming behind a laptop.” Judging by the epic light displays dance music has come to be known for, the feast will be for the eyes as well as the ears.
Shakira -- A Latin performer has not headlined a halftime show since Gloria Estefan in 1992. Considering Shakira’s ample selection of hip-swiveling hits (“Waka Waka,” “She Wolf,” “Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie,” etc.), we’re not lying when we say that that’s a little ridiculous.
Janet Jackson -- Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable topped the Billboard 200 and appeared across many year-end lists in 2015. How badass would it be if Jackson staged a Super Bowl comeback and shattered Nipplegate once and for all?
Justin Bieber -- With hits like “Love Yourself” and “What Do You Mean?,” Purpose has converted even the most adamant non-Belieber. And come on, how awesome would it be to see dancers clad in “Sorry” music video garb storm the stadium?
Pharrell Williams -- The fact that the “Happy” hit maker has yet to headline a Bowl Game makes us kind of sad. The Voice judge exudes charisma and already has three solid guest stars from that gig alone: Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. Also -- think of the dancing minion meme potential! (Left Minion?)
Maroon 5 -- Rumored to have been in talks about #SB50, Maroon 5 would be a beyond solid select for 2017. That’s because their catalog is built on catchiness. In addition, Levine’s role as a judge on The Voice immediately makes him recognizable to viewers of the more family-friendly set. (Although, we do love “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt”).
Luke Bryan -- Bryan always brings a party even non-country girls can shake it to. The reigning CMA entertainer of the year has recently been expanding his career internationally with his successful Crash My Playa festival in Mexico.
Panic! At The Disco -- While the choice may seem unexpected, so too did the punk band’s unseating of both Adele and David Bowie from No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with Death of a Bachelor.
Alabama Shakes -- From millennial alt-rock lovers to their cool parents, Alabama Shakes has got everyone moving (and three Grammy noms to boot). “Stadium-worthy” would be an understatement to describe Brittany Howard’s raw and soulful pipes.
Lady Gaga -- Gaga’s #SB50 National Anthem sealed that deal for anyone who was not already a fan of her work in music, philanthropy and acting. The Golden Globe darling and current Oscar nominee has plenty of fan favorites to choose from (“The Edge Of Glory,” “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” etc.), and she also has new music in the works for 2016.
One Direction -- A One Direction reunion would be glorious (and even Zayn said it could happen if the “time was right and that was the thing to do”). What better time than a halftime show stint ogled by millions? Keep 1D fans happy, keep budding solo career builders in the forefront? Two birds, one Super Bowl.
Rihanna -- After months of pent-up Anti-cipation, RiRi should do us all a solid and bestow upon us the halftime show of dreams: diamonds in the sky, an actual rainstorm worthy of “Umbrella,”and “Pon de Replay” (pretty please?).