Entertainment & Arts

Super Bowl 2018: Who might perform at the half-time show?

Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Kanye West

The confetti has been ordered, the wind machines are powered up... now the world's biggest gig just needs a headliner.

And the rumours have already starting swirling about who might perform at next February's Super Bowl.

The half-time show is basically the most prestigious live slot in music and normally attracts a worldwide TV audience of 120 million or so.

Only the absolute top artists in the world are invited to perform - with recent headliners including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Madonna.

So, who could do it next year?

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Image caption Britney currently has a residency in Las Vegas

Earlier this month it was reported that Britney Spears was "in talks" to perform - but the stories were swiftly denied.

"I can tell you it's not Britney," said Justin Toman, head of sports marketing for main sponsor PepsiCo.

"We'll reveal in due time," he added, pointing out that performer "rumours always start around this time".

Speaking about what's required of the performance, he said: "In those 12 minutes of the show, someone has to deliver power, punch, performance, singing, lights…. who has the reach, the social following, the album sales, who's trending, who's in cycle?"

Let's take a look at who might be able to tick all those boxes.


Pink

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With six studio albums, countless hits and a reputation for putting on a spectacular live show, Pink would have no trouble taking on the Super Bowl.

And eagle-eyed fans have noticed she's releasing new music this autumn, which would make her a prime candidate for the show in February.

"If Pink is dropping new music in November, performing at the Super Bowl would be perfect for her album cycle," Perez Hilton said on his podcast this month.

"I do know she's been asked in the past multiple times, and she's turned them down multiple times.

"She's got so many hits, but she's towards the end of the road as a viable artist and will soon be transitioning to legacy act. Pink has been around for two decades, so I hope she does it now."


Kanye West

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We admit this one may be a bit of a risk.

We like an unscripted stage rant as much as the next person, but Kanye's tendency to scrap entire tours or cut shows short after a few songs would leave the Super Bowl's insurance company a little nervous.

But fans were quick to launch the #KanyeForSuperBowl52 campaign after Lady Gaga's half-time show earlier this year.

And West's wife Kim Kardashian seemed on board, retweeting many of the fans in apparent support of the idea.

We've had cameo appearances from Nelly and Missy Elliott in previous half-time shows, but could West be the first solo hip-hop artist to headline?


Queen & Adam Lambert

Popcrush recently took this very question to their readers, asking who they would like to see perform at the 2018 Super Bowl.

Out of a huge multiple choice list which included Kylie and Jennifer Lopez, there was one very clear winner: Queen and Adam Lambert.

The band have been touring with the singer for several years now and have played to sold-out venues around the world.

Fortunately, Queen also have the odd couple of hits to their name. Together with Adam Lambert's electric stage presence, we wouldn't bet against this.


Christina Aguilera

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Since Britney appeared to be in the frame this year, it'd only be fair to consider her early noughties counterpart.

Christina Aguilera certainly has enough hit songs to fill a show. Crucially, though, she's also got a voice that can really deliver in a stadium setting.

In 2015, she proved as much by belting out the national anthem at the event before the game started (although she got in a bit of a tangle with the lyrics).

Christina may not have a high profile in the UK anymore, apart from when she's referenced as Quiz Team Aguilera during every pub quiz you've ever been to.

But she's still very well-known in the US - particularly as a TV personality, thanks to her role as a coach on The Voice for six of its 12 seasons.


One of the Justins

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Justin Timberlake would be a fine choice, as long as he promises no "wardrobe malfunctions" this time around.

With a bit of luck he might bring out *NSync instead, in a similar vein to Beyonce briefly reuniting with Destiny's Child at the half-time show in 2013.

Timberlake faces tough competition for the slot though, as there's been a new Justin in town for several years now.

But in the event that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is unavailable, we'd also settle for Bieber, whose back catalogue would be a joy to hear in the middle of a sports match.

In addition to his own solo hits, he's been going in a more dancey direction recently, collaborating with the likes of David Guetta on songs that would suit the Super Bowl down to the pitch.


Rihanna

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It's become traditional in recent years for the half-time show performers to bring on guests during their sets.

Katy Perry had Missy Elliott, Coldplay had Beyonce and Janet Jackson had Justin Timberlake... although that one was a bit dull and uneventful.

Can you imagine the sheer multitude of special guests Rihanna would have to choose from if she were headlining?

DJ Khaled, Drake, Calvin Harris, Eminem, Kendrick, Shakira, Nicki Minaj, Coldplay and so many more could all be potentially enlisted for cameo appearances.


Adele or Ed Sheeran

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Now would be a good time for a British headliner with two of the world's top music stars hailing from the UK.

But would Adele or Ed Sheeran really be right for a show that is so much about the spectacle?

Adele doesn't exactly have a huge number of upbeat party jams to her name, while Ed Sheeran had a few sceptics when he headlined Glastonbury this year.

The Independent said he was "one of the least satisfying headliners in recent memory", putting it down to his lack of "charisma" and the fact he performed completely on his own without any band or dancers.

Both artists are huge in the US, so it's not totally impossible. Realistically, though, the thought of 65,000 excitable football fans jigging to Galway Girl may be a bit too much to hope for.


Taylor Swift

Image copyright Reuters

Taylor is another performer who is likely to have new music to promote by early next year, which would make the Super Bowl an ideal fit.

She's been keeping a low profile recently, so there would be the potential for this to be a comeback of epic proportions.

"I think I should take some time off. I think people might need a break from me," she said in 2015, adding: "I'm like this close to over-exposure."

Well, Taylor, we think your gap yah has gone on quite long enough now to be honest - so keep a Blank Space in your diary around February time.


Foo Fighters

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Dave Grohl Inc. are still on a high after a hugely successful Glastonbury headline slot earlier this summer.

The Super Bowl organisers do seem to love a good rock set - with Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones among performers over the years.

But the last few have been quite pop-oriented, so the timing could now be right for some tattooed men playing heavy guitar.

More importantly, think how glorious Grohl's hair would look against the force of a Super Bowl wind machine.


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