R&B diva Usher lit up the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 11, 2024, with a spectacular halftime show full of hits, star guests, and even roller skaters.
With a throng of vivacious dancers surrounding him, Usher appeared in white attire and opened with the well-known song “Caught Up” on the Las Vegas stage. He demonstrated his remarkable dancing skills and a career’s worth of hits, proving that 45 is just a number.
He acknowledged that it was difficult to fit in 30 years into 13 minutes, but it was an impressive achievement to include well-known songs.
Usher seamlessly transitioned between party hits and soothing jams while acrobats performed and a brass band spelled out ‘USHER’ on the pitch.
In “Superstar,” he sang, “Spotlight, big stage, 50,000 fans screaming in a rage,” portraying the enormity of the concert. Other songs included whole verses, while others were just brief excerpts.
The bright clothes of his dancers enhanced the spectacle and matched his act. After that, the first visitor showed up: Alicia Keys, a stunning redhead, started playing “If I Ain’t Got You” on a massive red piano.
For their 2004 hit song “My Boo,” they came together, making for a lovely reunion amid a night full of them.
Keys left, and then came a string of guest stars. When producer Jermaine Dupri appeared on “Confessions Part II,” jokes on the internet were sparked by his bare legs. Songs from the club perfectly merged with ballads, giving Usher a chance to breathe, showcase his voice, and—most importantly—take off his shirt.
He was so compelling to the entire crowd that he couldn’t stay still, even when performing slow songs like “Burn” and “U Got It Bad.” “Burn” was a visually striking moment where flames engulfed the stage.
Before diving into “Bad Girl,” H.E.R. gave an electrifying guitar solo during “U Got It Bad,” and Usher vanished to change into a new costume. He reappeared prepared to work with Will, riding roller skates.I.am on “OMG”—the audience’s response was appropriate. Replicating his famous skating routine from his Vegas residency, he managed to stay upright, almost miraculously.
One small issue: the performer himself was nearly eclipsed by the sheer quantity of appearances in the second half. Even though the much-discussed collaboration with Justin Bieber never happened, the stage filled with dancers and guests. Lil Jon’s unexpected cameo on “Turn Down For What” gave a hint about what was coming next.
Anticipation flared when the flamboyant Ludacris finally made an appearance. They started off together with a throbbing performance of Usher’s breakthrough song, “Yeah!” The excitement on the Super Bowl stage was unprecedented, leaving the audience in a state of shock and yearning for more.
Usher demonstrated that night that he is, in fact, the R&B king with his hits, guests, and even roller skates.