Usher put on a spectacular half-time show at the Super Bowl on Sunday, performing a medley of his greatest hits with special guests including will.i.am, Alicia Keys, and Ludacris. The performance was teased with a humorous warning that it would include “singing, dancing, sweating, gyrating, and possible relationship issues”. Usher, dressed in white and accompanied by a group of energetic dancers, opened the show with his hit song, Caught Up.
The performance showcased Usher’s dance abilities and extensive music repertoire. He admitted that fitting 30 years of music into 13 minutes was a challenge, but he managed to perform a mix of his most popular songs, switching between club anthems and romantic ballads. Some songs were performed in full while others were shortened to just a few lines.
Alicia Keys joined Usher on stage for a duet of their 2004 hit, My Boo, after performing one of her own hits, If I Ain’t Got You. Producer-rapper Jermaine Dupri also made an appearance for a quick rendition of Confessions Part II. Other guests included H.E.R., who performed a guitar solo during Usher’s costume change, and will.i.am for their collaboration on OMG.
Lil Jon made a surprise appearance to perform his anthem Turn Down For What, before joining Usher and Ludacris for a performance of Usher’s career-defining hit, Yeah! Despite the impressive line-up of guest stars, some felt that Usher was overshadowed in the second half of the performance.
Usher also recreated a viral skating sequence from his recent Vegas residency. Among the audience were celebrities including Taylor Swift, Blake Lively, Ice Spice, Jay-Z, Paul Rudd, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal.
This was not Usher’s first Super Bowl performance; he previously appeared as a guest with the Black Eyed Peas in 2011. His performance coincided with the release of his latest album, Coming Home.
Taylor Swift, who was in the audience to support her boyfriend Travis Kelce, was a frequent focus of the cameras. Despite speculation that she might not make it due to a concert in Tokyo the night before, Swift arrived in time to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play against the San Francisco 49ers.