Usher didn’t really have anything to prove going into the Super Bowl Halftime Show. In a career that is going on thirty years, he has managed to cultivate a significant amount of good will and, in recent years, a resurgence in cultural relevancy, thanks to a hugely successful grown and sexy Las Vegas residency.
Usher, on the other hand, didn’t really have anything to prove. (And a lo-fi moment that went viral rapidly.)
Nevertheless, the opportunity to headline the event might be comparable to receiving an EGOT for any pop singer, and Usher viewed it as a capstone to his career that he had worked so hard to earn.
“They said I wouldn’t make it, they said I wouldn’t be here today, but I am,” he said early on in his exuberant set, before yelling out his mother. “I am here today,” he said. For anyone who has been a fan of his music since the days of “My Way” and “U Make Me Wanna,” it was difficult to not feel a sense of delight about this particular moment.
According to Apple Music, the performance described as “rated U” was, without a doubt, a chaotic and hurried affair for the majority of its duration. It was during the opening song, “Caught Up,” that he echoed the flamboyant vibes of Las Vegas, with an abundance of background performers, including females decorated with feathers, acrobats, stilt walkers, and other performers.
In spite of the fact that Usher stood out, even if just because of his sparkling and bright all-white outfit, the editing of the camera was a whirlwind, and it appeared to divert attention away from the celebrity who was just entering the arena. In addition, the singing and sound mixing left a lot to be desired in this instance.
What followed was essentially a compilation of his extensive catalog, which at times seemed to fly past at an excessively rapid pace. For example, there was a single line from “Superstar” here, and there was a very little clip from “Nice and Slow” there.
He gave us a little bit of time to linger with a song for a while and relish in his silky, swaggering choreography, as he did with his iconic ballad “U Got It Bad.” This was when the medley was at its best.
It was at this point that he removed his shirt, the vocals were given the opportunity to shine, and he invited H.E.R. to do a guitar solo; all of these things occurred simultaneously. Illusion.)
Even if the concert was a little bit disorganized, Usher’s end thesis is still valid: the man has a lot of hits, and there is no serious competitor to the title of King of R&B that he now holds. (As the majority of us can all agree, it is not a good idea to talk about his electronic dance music heyday.) Although it wasn’t his best performance, it was still enjoyable, and it was a demonstration of the star power he possesses.
As the song “Yeah” brought the show to a rousing conclusion, Usher and his team had already transformed the aesthetic theme to that of a glitzy football game. A marching band, dancers winding on poles, and the chorus jumping up and down and puffing their chests as if they had just won the trophy were all elements that contributed to this transformation.