5 Stars Who Refused to Play The Super Bowl Half-Time Show

The Super Bowl half-time show has become one of the most high-profile musical performances every year since it was first introduced in 1991. Since then, some of the world’s biggest stars, including Michael Jackson, Madonna, and The Rolling Stones have performed at the show.

What doesn’t get talked about nearly as much are the acts that turn the gig down. There are some stars who have flat out refused the opportunity and here they are in a neat little list:


It is only a matter of weeks before Justin Timberlake performs on stage during the half-time show at Super Bowl LII on Sunday 4th February at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yet it is the controversial circumstances surrounding the NFL’s number one choice for the spot that has hogged all the air-time leading up to the annual spectacular.

Iconic US rapper Jay-Z hit the headlines in September last year when it was confirmed that he had rejected the opportunity to perform at the upcoming Super Bowl.

It was revealed that the artist behind such songs as 99 Problems, Run This Town, and Empire State of Mind was showing support for former San Francisco 49ers quarter back Colin Kaepernick by boycotting the event.

Kaerpernick famously took a knee during the traditional pre-game national anthem of the 49ers third pre-season game of 2016 as a protest against racial injustice across the US.

His peaceful protest still managed to rile sectors of the US establishment and public. It resulted in Kaepernick being released by the 49ers at the end of the 2016 season and he has remained a free agent ever since.

Large numbers of players and coaching staff have since expressed widespread support for Kaepernick and resorted to taking a knee during the national anthem at the start of NFL games.

Iconic US rapper Jay-Z
Image Credit: bet.com


British soul singer Adele is one of the most wanted artists in the business right now. She has sold more than 100 million records around the world and her single Hello became the first ever song to hit 1 million digital sales within its first week in the US.

It is no surprise then that NFL bosses targeted the London-born singer to perform at their show piece event back in 2017.

It is also not very shocking that Adele took the decision to turn down the lucrative offer to perform at Super Bowl LI last year. This mainly being due to the fact that she had just started her own family and had also identified the Super Bowl half-time show as “not about music”.

Adele argued that the show did not work for her style of music and that her inability to dance made it feel like the wrong sort of performance.

NFL bosses denied they ever talked to Adele, stating that Lady Gaga was always their number one choice. Let’s be honest, Adele’s stock value is high enough. She doesn’t need to lie about being asked to perform at the Super Bowl.

International star Adele performing at a show
Image Credit: grammy.com


"Andre 3000" and "Big Boi", stars of Outkast
Image Credit: billboard.com

It seems that not only do you need to just have a couple of hit chart songs in your back catalogue to be asked to perform at the Super Bowl, it’s also enough to inflate your ego to a level where you can turn down one of the biggest shows on earth.

The band consisted of hip hop duo Andre 3000 and Big Boi. The pair had been an act since 1991 and their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik went platinum. The album has also been credited with energizing the southern hip hop movement when it was released back in 1994.

Big Boi revealed in an interview that the duo had been asked to perform at the Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. This went on to be infamously remembered for the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction.

Big Boi alleged that NFL bosses demanded that Outkast only had a limited time on stage. This was something that Andre 3000 seriously disagreed with and a deal collapsed.


Legendary rapper Eminem
Image Credit: nme.com

US rapper and songwriter Eminem is one of the bestselling musical artists of all-time and has sold over 245 million albums worldwide. His first hit record came in 1999 when he released The Slim Shady LP.

The Detroit singer has had a more low-key existence in recent years but it was revealed that he had in fact turned down the chance to perform at Super Bowl XLVIII. A source close to the deal stated that Eminem was initially offered the spot for the gig but demanded an obscenely high-performance fee.

This was simply too much for NFL bosses to afford and the performance never happened. Bruno Mars headlined with the Red Hot Chili Peppers that year. It could have been very different.

Kanye West

Controversial US rapper Kanye West
Image Credit: grammy.com

Outspoken US rapper Kanye West has consistently courted controversy. His political views on racial inequality have drawn criticism and the 40-year-old has even stated he plans to run for the US Presidency in the 2020 US Election.

He has sold 32 million albums around the globe and has 100 million digital download sales. Unfortunately, for West, he is likely most remembered for his notorious “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!” speech that interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

So, it seems almost unthinkable that given West’s track record at public ceremonies that the NFL powers would even consider him as a potential act for the Super Bowl. As it turns out, they did.

It also turns out that West’s financial demands were too much. The basic fee was affordable but it was the add-ons and perks that caused an issue, forcing to West to withdraw his interest in a performance.