California love: Super Bowl 56 half-time show was ‘one for the ages’

Dr. Dre, Snoop and Co put on a vintage performance at the SoFi Stadium 

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg perform at the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium 
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg perform at the Super Bowl LVI half-time show at SoFi Stadium 
(Image credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The NFL Super Bowl’s half-time show is known for its “high-throttle shenanigans, stunts, and awe-worthy escapades”, said Justin Kirkland in Esquire. And this year was no different. Featuring an “insane” line-up – hip-hop “royalty” Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar – the performance was “jam-packed” and “something to marvel at”.

Held on the turf at the SoFi Stadium, home of the new Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams, the crowded half-time spectacle had a “Southern California vibe”, said Sports Illustrated. And the headliners “did not disappoint” as they performed a medley of iconic hits.

Dre and Snoop kicked things off with The Next Episode, which segued into Tupac’s California Love. There was then a surprise cameo from 50 Cent, who performed a “riotous version” of his 2003 hit In Da Club, said the Daily Mail. Blige “got the crowd jumping” with Family Affair before giving a “powerhouse performance” of No More Drama. Lamar delivered a “rousing rendition” of his BLM protest anthem Alright and Eminem performed his 2002 hit Lose Yourself. Dre and Snoop returned to close out the show with Still D.R.E.

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‘Oldest half-time show ever’

The star-studded half-time show was “one for the ages” – but it also reminded many of us that “we are ageing”, said Cat Bowen on Romper. It was an “elder millennial and Gen X dream”, and “as an elder millennial, I felt seen”. Apparently, so did a lot of other people in their 30s and 40s.

This was the “oldest half-time show ever”, said the Daily Mail. Veteran performers Dre, Blige, Snoop, Eminem and 50 Cent may have a “combined age of 286”, but their show was “deemed a triumph” by older millennials in particular, who appreciated the music from the early 2000s.

It triggered an “existential crisis in grand millennials” on social media, said Lauren Puckett-Pope in Elle. Many 20- and 30-somethings watching at home were “humbled” as they cheered for their childhood inspirations. “Oh. These people are old. I’m old.”

One of the best ever or ‘most meh’?

Over the years there have been many memorable moments from the entertainment at the Super Bowl. Artists like Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira have wowed the crowds, while Prince performing Purple Rain in a torrential storm in 2007 is “often cited as the greatest half-time in history”, said CNN.

Was the hip-hop extravaganza at SoFi Stadium the best half-time show ever? Basketball star LeBron James, who plays in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers, called it “the greatest” he’s ever seen. While Gaga said it was “a bomb of radical love”.

Former Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan also praised the show for being the best ever. However, despite his “rave reviews”, the extravagant performance “wasn’t to everyone’s taste”, said The Mirror. “Prince U2 The Who and Bruce Springsteen would like a word,” said @MuzzyMurray93 in reply to Morgan on Twitter. While @SportsBlogMike said: “Just boring. Not my thing. Most meh superbowl half time show.”

Some viewers may have had mixed reactions to the Super Bowl LVI half-time show, but on the pitch there was a “Hollywood ending” for the LA Rams, who defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20, said the BBC. The Rams are only the second team to win a Super Bowl in their own stadium and the victory “vindicated their decision” to return to Los Angeles from St Louis six years ago.

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Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon.