This year, Katy Perry will play the Super Bowl halftime show, the foremost lip-synching event in the world, with special appearances by Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott. We haven't decided how to feel about that.
In a rush to put together the most star-studded lineup possible, the halftime show often brings together musical artists who, in retrospect, can often seem a little disjointed. It's like assembling an Ocean's Eleven-style heist team with a demolitions expert, a barista, a CPA, an Apple Store Genius, and a guy who doesn't have a job, per se, but would love to talk to you about the films of Stanley Kubrick.
Sometimes, the acts prove to be greater than the sum of their parts (think chocolate and peanut butter); other times, not so much (think chocolate and garbage). Here are some of our favorite unlikely combinations from years past.
2012: Madonna, LMFAO, Cirque du Soleil, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee Lo Green, Andy Lewis
Madonna's 2012 performance — probably best remembered for its surprise cameo by M.I.A.'s middle finger – was Roman themed, which was arguably the single least weird thing about it.
The first co-performer up was Andy Lewis on slackline. Madonna's unusual choreography here makes us wonder if she believed that she, too, was balanced on a slackline. (For the record, she wasn't.)
Then Madge climbed on Redfoo's shoulders, marking LMFAO's single most important contribution to music history.
Nicki and M.I.A killed it, but Madonna's would-be hit single — remember how "Give Me All Your Luvin'" was a thing for, like, 48 hours? — was dead on arrival.
Cee Lo was also there, sparkling.
2003: Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
2003's halftime show felt like two spliced into one, in large part because Shania Twain didn't interact with her costars even once.
America's favorite Canadian country star started the proceedings in a modified version of Neo's floor-length leather duster from The Matrix (in fairness, it was 2003). Then, she disappeared into the sky aboard a magical crane.
Fortunately, Gwen Stefani came prepared: as one spangled silver bra left the stage, another immediately took its place.
Sting joined No Doubt to play "Message in a Bottle" and proved that he, too, was on the 2003 style vanguard, wearing two T-shirts in one and what appear to be pleated sweatpants.
2001: Aerosmith, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly
The only possible explanation for the 2001 Super Bowl halftime show is that the NFL's talent booker accidentally invited every single person who was famous at the time. After a prerecorded comedy sketch featuring Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler, 'N Sync and Aerosmith took turns playing a four-song set, then threw Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly into the mix for a sublimely haphazard version of "Walk This Way."
Britney found time to strut alongside Justin Timberlake (never forget <3) and Joey Fatone.
Meanwhile, Steven Tyler violated Mary J. Blige's personal space.
But they all lived happily ever after.
1995: Patti Labelle, "Indiana Jones" & "Marion Ravenwood," Teddy Pendergrass, Tony Bennett, Arturo Sandoval, Miami Sound Machine
The theme of 1995's Super Bowl halftime performance was Indiana Jones, because sure, why not. Apparently they couldn't get a hold of Harrison Ford or Karen Allen, so they recruited a couple of lookalikes. Indiana Jones and Marion parachute onto the field for some very convincing fight scenes with some very convincing ninjas (???).
Snake drummer guy totally brought it.
This guy started to totally bring it, then changed his mind.
Later, a third, unrelated guy was set on fire.
Patti Labelle — costumed as an Egyptian princess (???) — was, as always, perfection. Don't bother asking yourself why she is there, or how they convinced her to come, or whose idea this was in the first place; there are no answers to these questions.
Tony Bennett stopped by, too. Hey, Tony Bennett.
1992: Gloria Estefan, Olympic figure skaters Brian Boitano & Dorothy Hamill
If your child ever looks up at you, eyes full of wonder, and asks what 1992 was like, I strongly encourage you to show him or her this video. Welcome to "Winter Magic" at Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis.
There are marching bands, ballroom dancers, dancers dressed as skiers, dancers dressed as snowflakes, multiple giant snowman, and some dude on stilts wandering around without purpose. Such winter. Very magic.
After a rousing, confusingly post-Christmas medley of "Winter Wonderland" and "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," these kids went ahead and created the very footage that their siblings will inevitably play to humiliate them at their weddings.
Olympic gold medalists Dorothy Hamill and Brian Boitano skate around on janky little snowflake rinks. Watching such decorated athletes perform in these conditions feels like seeing one of those fish that lives out its entire sad life swimming around underneath somebody's plant.
Finally, Gloria Estefan – the least winter-y human ever born — rises from the 50-yard line without explanation to perform for the last two or three minutes. This was the only possible conclusion to Winter Magic.
Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.