Was this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show featuring Usher a dud?

Conversations are circulating about the Super Bowl but many people are talking about the halftime show. There are mixed reviews as some people liked Usher’s performance while others did not. 

During his halftime show, the eight-time Grammy award winner performed just a few of his hit singles alongside other artists, such as Alicia Keys, Ludacris, H.E.R., Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri and will.i.am.  The first song Usher sang was “Caught Up” followed by “U Don’t Have To Call,” “Lovers And Friends,” and “Love In This Club.”

After Usher sang “Love In This Club” Alicia Keys appeared on stage sitting at a bright red piano as she began singing “If I Ain’t Got You”. Usher and Alicia Keys then performed their duet to “My Boo.” The moment sparked a heated conversation and produced several viral memes due to how close Usher held Keys who has been married to Swizz Beatz since 2010.

Usher also performed his hit song from 2004 “Yeah!” with Ludacris and Lil Jon while using roller skates. Overall, I thought Usher did a great job on his halftime performance. The colors, choreography and songs were on point. 

Usher’s performance was nostalgic for me. It reminded me of the songs I grew up hearing in middle school. Also, Alicia Keys matching with the bright red piano stood out to me. I thought that was creative and a nice touch to the performance. 

I spoke to a few other students about what they thought about the halftime performance and here’s what they had to say.

“I was disappointed that the show looked like every dancer learned different choreography. I don’t feel like Usher’s style was presented in the best light,” said Hannah Azure, a psychology graduate student. Overall for Azure, it was not her favorite performance. 

Azure also said that despite her disappointment, it was exciting to see so many different performers supporting one another.

Recent Azusa Pacific alum, Candace Evans, offered another opposing perspective: “I absolutely loved Usher’s performance. The intentionality of the performance truly stood out.” 

Evans shared that Usher bringing out the skates showed the importance of skating rinks in the Black community.

Her other point about the performance is that Usher not only gave an ode to R&B but also showcased the spectrum of talent in Black culture within the music industry.

Following the performance, conversations were sparked about some of the best halftime shows in the past. One that stood out the most was in 2015 when Katy Perry performed. Perry wowed the audience nationwide with the grand entrance at the start of the show by entering the stage riding a 40-foot animatronic lion while she sang her song “Roar”.

A big talking point of Perry’s halftime show was also her backup dancers. The backup dancers wore shark costumes during the song “California Gurls” which definitely caught people’s attention. 

The last highlight of Perry’s performance was when Perry flew through the air on a small platform while she sang “Firework” as actual fireworks ascended into the sky.

Another iconic halftime show was when Lady Gaga performed in 2017. Gaga started the halftime performance with a bang by dropping from the top of the NRG stadium. 

Gaga sang several of her hit songs such as “Poker Face,”  “Born This Way” and “A Million Reasons.”Gaga’s finale was “Bad Romance” and she threw the microphone on the floor before jumping off a platform to disappear at the end of the show. 

There have been many iconic halftime performances over the years but do you think Usher’s performance is one of them?