If the combination of pop crooner Bruno Mars and the shirt-hating alt-rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers playing the Super Bowl Halftime show together seems pretty random, well, that's because it is pretty random. But that's nothing new to Super Bowl halftime shows.
Sure, Beyonce made sense as both a way to woo women to the broadcast and because Bey is basically the queen of America right now, and the last decade was filled with classic rockers like Prince, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and the Who, all of whom made sense in a Super Bowl context even if they weren't all up to snuff.
But 2012's combination of Madonna with M.I.A., Nicki Minaj, LMFAO and Cee-Lo was weird even before M.I.A. flipped America the bird, and earlier halftime shows have been even weirder.
So we dug around and found the most random Super Bowl halftime shows ever. Though to be fair, at least nobody at the NFL thought it was a good idea to book Bieber. (yeah, we're giving you the stink-eye, Grey Cup).
'Tribute to Mardi Gras' With Carol Channing (Super Bowl IV, 1970)
The award-winning star of stage and screen Carol Channing is a genuine American icon, and was at the height of her 'Hello, Dolly!' heyday after starring as a matchmaker in the Broadway-based romcom set in New York. None of which exactly screams "Are you ready for some football?" but making it even worse is that Channing was leading a Mardi Gras tribute despite not having any connection to New Orlean's jazz much less its annual bacchanal.
'Salute to the '60s and Motown' With Up With People (Super Bowl XVI, 1982)
If you had to invent the least hippie musical group in existence, you'd have a hard time beating this cult-like motivational singing troupe-slash-critical punchline. And despite starring 400 young people from 24 countries, this terminally cheerful halftime show is possibly the whitest performance you will ever see. It's like watching Detroit burn down and anti-war protestors get beaten all over again. Oh, and they played the halftime show four times between 1976 and 1986.
'World of Children's Dreams' With the Air Force (Super Bowl XX, 1985)
Coinciding with Ronald Regan's inauguration day, it was perhaps inevitable that the NFL would play the patriotism card -- you can only imagine how frustrated Republicans were when San Francisco won! -- for the halftime show. Even so, hiring the Air Force's "expeditionary entertainment unit" Tops in Blue seems a little, well, over the top. But the randomness comes in not from the active duty performers, but their bizarre "world of children's dreams" that includes pirates, a circus and an astronaut flying around the stadium in a jet pack. OK, that last part was awesome.
'Be Bop Bamboozled in 3-D' With Elvis Presto (Super Bowl XXIII, 1989)
Oh, where do we begin here. Let's start with the fact that the current 3-D craze had an earlier, lamer wave in the '80s and this was its nadir. Starring the long-forgotten "immortal Elvis Presto," impersonator and illusionist who promised to do the biggest-ever card trick. Bob Costas seethed as he introduced the halftime show, "It's almost too exciting to bear, isn't it?" Also, the 3-D totally sucked.
'It's a Small World Tribute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl' With New Kids On The Block (Super Bowl XXV, 1991)
In 1989, NKOTB were the biggest act on the planet. This was not 1989. Who knows why Disney was put in charge of paying tribute to the big game's first quarter century? Or why they thought it would be a good idea to revisit their same-themed 1977 halftime show? Or why they chose to celebrate the Super Bowl's birthday by pimping their cartoon characters? But the biggest question is why punish a football crowd with music by a faded boy band? Fortunately for the at-home audience, the halftime show aired after the game so ABC News could cover the first President Bush's first invasion of Iraq.
'Winter Magic' With Gloria Estefan and Skaters Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill (Super Bowl XXVI, 1992)
Yes, America had the Winter Olympics that year and yes, the Olympics are a sport and so is football. But we'd argue hardcore gridiron fans don't have much patience for figure skating. So no wonder they decided to feature Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill doing their triple lindys on mini midfield ice rinks to that tough-guy tune 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.' Upping the random quotient was the musical guest. This year's game was in Minneapolis, but instead of, y'know, Prince they went down to Miami and hired famous cold-weather singer Gloria Estefan.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye (1995)
Nothing says 1995 like Indiana Jones, right? And nothing says Indian Jones like Tony Bennet, Patti Labelle and Miami Sound Machine. And yet here we were, with Disney using the opportunity to promote their upcoming Indiana Jones Adventures attraction at Disneyland. But it wasn't just music, the show also boasted actors playing Indy and his girlfriend Marion ravenwood (who skydived into the stadium!) as they battled tribal bad guys while rescuing the Vince Lombardi Trophy from the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Then Tony Bennett came out to croon, looking as confused as the audience.
Tapestry of Nations' With Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and More (Super Bowl XXXIV, 2000)
Somebody hired Disney again. Please stop doing that, Super Bowl. Named after an Epcot Center parade, and featuring floats, marching bands, and gigantic puppets, this was their half-hearted attempt to cash-in on the Latin pop craze which Ricky Martin had kicked off the previous year. But instead of having him perform, or even getting Igelsias to sing his hit 'Bailamos,' the setlist was was a bunch of sappy songs topped with noted latino Phil Collins singing a tune from 'Tarzan.'
Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting (Superbowl XXXVII, 2003)
This halftime show had no theme -- though if it did, it could've been 'The Girlie Show.' Now lots of ladies watch football, and that spikes from 30 percent to about half the audience during the Super Bowl, but even so, this is sold as the most macho sporting event of all time ever. Yet after 30 minutes of tough guys smashing into tough guys, we get Shania singing 'Man! I feel Like a Woman,' Gwen Stefani singing 'Just a Girl' and Sting singing a duet with Gwen of the Police's love song 'Message in a Bottle.' Remember that "Quien es mas macho?" 'Saturday Night Live' sketch? This is the opposite.
'Rock the Vote' With Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P Diddy and More (Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2004)
Yes, yes, nipplegate. Nobody remembers the rest of this ridiculous mash-up somehow intended to convince the kids to vote in that year's U.S. election by having Puff complain about "Mo Money Mo Problems," Nelly note that it was "Hot in Herre" and Kid Rock boast "I'm a stoned pimp, stoned freak, stoned out of my mind/I once was lost, but now I'm just blind." Janet's 'Rhythm Nation' was actually the only political song on the bill ("join voices in protest/to social injustice") but it was quickly forgotten after her "wardrobe malfunction" became right-wing ammunition.
'Tron Legacy' With Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Slash (Super Bowl XLVI, 2011)
After years of big-budget classic rock shows, the Super Bowl returned to randomness with this appropriately disappointing advertisement for the disappointing 'TRON' sequel. But rather than bring the film's actual musical composers Daft Punk, they hired the world's most annoying rappers, added Slash to help Fergie drive Axl even crazier with a 'Sweet Child O' Mine' cover and enlisted Usher to do some, well, great dance moves. Oh, and then they end it all with BEP's 'Dirty Dancing'-based 'The Time (Dirty Bit)' to get everyone wishing they'd put the Super Bowl halftime show in a corner.
Madonna, LMFAO, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green (Super Bowl XLVI, 2012)
There's no question Madonna is a superstar, and this is the Super Bowl, but this halftime show made about as much sense as listening to iTunes on random. First there were the roman centurions for "Vogue," then a dude in a toga bouncing on a tightrope, then Madonna getting on one of the LMFAO dude's shoulders for "Party Rock Anthem" then Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. reduced to literal cheerleaders, then a marching band for "Open Your Heart" followed by Cee-Lo in a mumu for "Like A Prayer." Oh, and M.I.A. gave the camera the finger, sparking a Nipplegate-level furor. Oh noes!