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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Usher’s halftime performance didn’t have my head rockin’

Eli Watson/Wikimedia Commons
Famed R&B singer Usher — pictured at a 2013 concert — took to the field to perform this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

As someone who’s not a football fan, the only thing I look forward to during the Super Bowl is the halftime show. With performances in the past from big artists like Rihanna, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Coldplay, I had high hopes for Usher this year.

In all honesty, Usher’s performance was underwhelming. With all the songs he had to choose from, he decided to open with “Caught Up.” I’m not an Usher fan, but I know his discography and enjoy his music and “Scream” or “More” would have been better options. 

The choreography and costumes were also extremely random. The theme was obviously Las Vegas, but it was hard to choose where to look. The different costumes and acrobatics were distracting from Usher performing.

It felt like a million things were happening at once, yet it was so underwhelming. Usher has always been a great vocalist, but I felt like I was struggling to hear him over the band no matter how loud I turned up my volume, especially during “Love in This Club.” 

Fans speculated certain artists would appear on stage, such as Justin Bieber and Pitbull, but Alicia Keys began playing the intro to her song “If I Ain’t Got You.” 

I personally don’t think that’s a song for the Super Bowl. It’s an amazing song and Keys is an incredible singer, but I think the halftime show is where you should perform songs that hype the audience up and performing “Somebody to Love (feat. Justin Bieber)” and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (feat. Pitbull)” would have been iconic. It was disappointing to not hear those songs.

After seeing Keys, it was almost a given that they would perform their song “My Boo” together. Usher and Keys’ chemistry on stage was palpable, but at times it felt like I was interrupting something. 

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of his album titled “Confessions (Expanded Edition),” released March 22, 2004, Usher then began singing “Confessions Part II.” This song is definitely a staple in his career and deserved to be sung during the show.

The roller skating number during “OMG” was extremely odd. It’s a great song and Super Bowl-worthy, but it deserved a cohesive dance number instead. 

Lil Jon rapping “Turn Down For What” was definitely the liveliest part of the show. He was crowd surfing and moshing with them while everyone was rapping along.

As the cameras turned to Ludacris, he had the entire NFL crowd jumping in the stands while performing. “Yeah!” was undoubtedly a track everyone was waiting for. The last part of the show was the vibe the entire show needed. 

Many Millennial and Gen-X viewers enjoyed his halftime performance because they felt like it was a throwback concert, while I saw mixed reviews from Gen-Z. Some thought the performance was great, while others complained on social media that they didn’t know the songs.

Although I knew most of the songs he performed, the energy was lacking throughout the beginning of the show. It felt awkward and uncoordinated and wasn’t what I expected at all. 

Usher is definitely a legacy artist who has had a great career. But after Rihanna’s halftime show last year, it was a tough act to follow.

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Amanda Madera, Arts & Life Editor

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  • S

    SachiFeb 19, 2024 at 7:35 pm

    You just read my mind. I’m a huge Usher fan and I felt pretty disappointed with all the chaos, distractions and selection of songs. And I definitely felt what you felt during Keys’ and Usher’s performance, Lil Jon’s “turn down for what” (the only time I rocked my head” and Ludacris’ entry into the show. I personally didn’t like the blue outfit Usher wore at the end ’cause it almost camaflouged him. Honestly, it could have been a lot better.

  • T

    TheresaFeb 19, 2024 at 8:06 am

    Let down.I felt the same way.☹️