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LOS ANGELES: Usher made a grand entrance at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl halftime show, seated regally on a throne amidst a procession of a marching band and a dazzling array of Vegas performers. However, he remained the focal point of the spectacle.
His presence underscored why he’s considered the quintessential halftime performer: boasting an arsenal of timeless hits, impeccable choreography, and a fiercely loyal fan base.
Kicking off with “Caught Up,” he segued seamlessly into crowd favorites like “U Don’t Have to Call,” “Superstar,” and “Love in the Club.”
Alicia Keys later joined him, captivating the audience with her soulful rendition of “If I Ain’t Got You” on a vibrant red piano, which smoothly transitioned into the duet “My Boo.” Usher’s homage to Michael Jackson, evidenced by losing a glove, carried extra significance given the performance’s timing during Black History Month.
Addressing the crowd, he shared a heartfelt dedication to his mother, reflecting on the journey that brought him to that moment.
Throughout the 13-minute Apple Music-sponsored halftime extravaganza, Usher welcomed a slew of guests, including H.E.R., Jermaine Dupri, and Lil Jon, who ignited the stage with hits like “Turn Down for What” and “Yeah!”—the latter featuring a surprise appearance by Ludacris.
Drawing from a career spanning three decades, the R&B icon showcased an impressive array of hits, punctuated by slick costume changes and a daring roller-skating performance of “OMG,” even sliding beneath will.i.am’s legs at one point.
His groundbreaking album “Confessions,” marking its 20th anniversary this year, provided standout moments such as the emotive performance of “Burn.”
Having established himself with a successful residency in Vegas titled “Usher: My Way” at Dolby Live in Park MGM, the multi-Grammy winner was the perfect choice for the Super Bowl stage.
Usher’s familiarity with the Super Bowl spotlight was evident, having previously appeared alongside will.i.am in 2011. Reflecting on his journey, he emphasized the importance of seizing each moment, especially given the constraints of the 13-minute performance window.
With meticulous planning and undeniable talent, Usher delivered a halftime spectacle that left no doubt as to why he’s hailed as one of the greatest performers of his generation.