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Beyoncé At Coachella, Whitney Houston At Super Bowl XXV, And 18 More Of The Best Live Show Performances

Spoiler alert: It's a lot of Whitney Houston and Beyoncé.

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First off, there's rarely a live performance with Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, or Prince that isn't considered iconic.

MJ, Beyoncé, and Prince performing

But there are only a few that I consider the greatest. Here are 20 performances that set a new standard for live shows everywhere.

Close-up of Whitney singing
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20. In 1999, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey performed "When You Believe" at the 71st Academy Awards.

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston holding hands

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

ABC / Via youtube.com

19. In 2016, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar performed "Freedom" at the 16th BET Awards.

Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar dancing in water

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

BET / Via youtube.com

18. In 1991, Whitney Houston performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV.

Whitney Houston singing on the football field with orchestra

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

ABC / Via youtube.com

17. In 2015, Aretha Franklin performed "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Aretha Franklin singing onstage

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

CBS / Via youtube.com

16. In 2006, Three 6 Mafia and Taraji P. Henson performed “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” at the 78th Academy Awards.

Taraji P Henson and Three Six Mafia onstage

And here is the moment they won the Oscar:

View this video on YouTube

ABC / Via youtube.com

15. In 1995, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, DJ Quik, and Death Row Records performed a medley at the Source Awards.

Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

BET / Via youtube.com

14. In 2019, Missy Elliott performed a medley at the 36th MTV Video Music Awards.

Missy Elliott dancing onstage

And here is the performance:

MTV / Via vimeo.com

13. In 1995, the Notorious B.I.G. performed "Warning" at the KMEL Summer Jam.

Biggie Smalls onstage

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

KMEL / Via youtube.com

12. In 2012, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg rapping onstage

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

Goldenvoice / Via youtube.com

11. In 1982, Jennifer Holliday & Co. performed "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls at the 36th Annual Tony Awards.

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

CBS / Via youtube.com

10. Jennifer Hudson on any season of The Voice. Period.

Jennifer Hudson singing

And here is a highlight of her greatest moments on The Voice:

View this video on YouTube

NBC / Via youtube.com

9. In 1987, Michael Jackson performed a medley at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards.

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

CBS / Via youtube.com

(Michael starts at the 55:35 mark.)

8. In 2016, Beyoncé performed a Lemonade medley at the 33rd MTV Video Music Awards.

Beyoncé kneeling onstage

Watch the performance here.

7. In 2016, Kendrick Lamar performed "The Blacker the Berry" and "Alright" at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.

Kendrick Lamar onstage dressed as an inmate

And here is the performance.

Kendrick Lamar and actors standing by fire

6. In 1969, Jimi Hendrix closed out the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Close-up of Jimi Hendrix playing guitar onstage

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

The Bates Funny Farm / Via youtube.com

5. In 1994, Whitney Houston performed a medley of "I Loves You, Porgy/And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going/I Have Nothing" at the 21st Annual American Music Awards.

Whitney Houston singing

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

ABC / Via youtube.com

4. In 1993, Michael Jackson performed during the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show.

Michael Jackson onstage

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

CBS / Via youtube.com

3. In 1968, James Brown performed at the Boston Garden the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

James Brown singing

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

Shout Factory / Via youtube.com

2. In 2007, Prince performed during the Super Bowl XLI halftime show.

Prince holding up his purple guitar onstage

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

CBS / Via youtube.com

1. In 2018, Beyoncé headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Beyoncé and dancers in pink on Coachella stage

And here is the performance:

View this video on YouTube

Goldenvoice / Via youtube.com

What are your favorite live performances? Let me know in the comments!

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