Sports Nut

From Gloria Estefan to the Blues Brothers

The gayest and straightest Super Bowl halftime shows.

How shocking would it be if Madonna brought gay themes to the Super Bowl halftime show? Not very. Throughout its history, the halftime entertainment has meandered from straight to gay and back again.

Super Bowl VII: Andy Williams, Woody Herman, Michigan band (Jan. 14, 1973)

The earliest years of the halftime show usually offered traditional college marching bands or foursquare jazz and pop acts or both, as in this 1973 performance.

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Also:

Super Bowl X: Up With People (Jan. 18, 1976)

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The polymorphous musical-theater troupe Up With People makes the first of its four appearances, performing a Bicentennial pageant.

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Super Bowl XI: Disney’s New Mouseketeers (Jan. 9, 1977)

Disney unveils its New Mouseketeers in an awkward, squeaky-clean 1977 show.

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Super Bowl XVIII: Disney Salute to Hollywood (Jan. 22, 1984)

This 1984 documentary captures the Disney halftime aesthetic’s turn to the flamboyant: “So the first thing we see for the show is Tinker Bell flying …”

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Super Bowl XXVI: Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill (Jan. 26, 1992)

1992 brought a glittering, snowflake-bedecked salute to winter, with Gloria Estefan singing and Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill figure-skating.

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The figure-skating:

Super Bowl XXIX: Patti LaBelle, Indiana Jones (Jan. 29, 1995)

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In 1995, an Indiana Jones Disney theme-park promotion produced the camp spectacle of Patti LaBelle surrounded by bare-chested “primitive”-costumed backup dancers.

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Super Bowl XXXI: Blues Brothers (Jan. 26, 1997)

The gayest era of Super Bowl halftime—figure skating, mass choreography, Diana Ross—ended emphatically in 1997 with the asexual, undead Blues Brothers.

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Super Bowl XL: Rolling Stones (Feb. 5, 2006)

Ever since the Justin Timberlake nipple incident, halftime has belonged to ultra-safe arena performances from nostalgia-and-Cialis-powered mega-acts, like the Rolling Stones in 2006.

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