The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Usher Shines in Nostalgic Super Bowl Halftime Show

AP Photo / Eric Gay

Usher headlined the most anticipated music performance of the year: the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Sunday, Feb. 11. Almost 30 years into his music career, Usher had a plethora of hits to choose from and dance moves to break out. The singer has undeniably helped define an entire generation of music, and his performance at the Super Bowl was an opportunity for him to prove himself as one of the greatest. After the second quarter of the game, at which point the San Francisco 49ers were winning against the Kansas City Chiefs with a score of 10-3, Usher took the stage.

The camera meandered through a carnival-like crowd before finding Usher in the center of it all, seated powerfully on a raised platform in a shiny, all-white get-up adorned with a flashy fur coat. As the beat was building, he descended the stairs and broke into “Caught Up.” The performers around him flipped and flew, dressed in a medley of ostentatious outfits that somehow complimented one another.

This segment was perhaps the most visually confusing, but it also brought us arguably the best frame in the whole 13-minute show: Usher encircled entirely by dazzling purple-feathered fans. With this ensemble, he sang “U Don’t Have to Call,” “Superstar” and “Love in This Club.” However, beforehand, he made an announcement.

“They said I wouldn’t make it. They said I wouldn’t be here today, but I am. Hey mama, we made it. Now this, this is for you,” Usher said.

He also took off one glove in a clear allusion to the iconic style of Michael Jackson, then mimicked some of Jackson’s dance moves.

At this point, the view switched to an aerial shot of a massive billowing cape and red piano, and guest singer Alicia Keys belted “If I Ain’t Got You.” Viewers noted that her shaky first note was dubbed in the recordings uploaded by the National Football League (NFL) after the live event.

Usher and Keys performed an intimate duet of their song “My Boo.” Their chemistry on stage was out of this world, but raised some eyebrows as fans noted that Usher married his girlfriend Jennifer Goicoechea later that very night.

Following a word from Jermain Dupri, Usher then sang “Confessions Part II,” “Nice & Slow” and “Burn” as he stripped out of his tank top.

The lights shifted to blue as musician HER made an appearance, rocking out with a guitar solo during “Bad Girl.” While she stole the spotlight, Usher changed into a glittering blue and black suit before reappearing in a pair of roller skates for “OMG” with guest artist A dance break on wheels was a bold choice, but one of the most memorable moments.

The camera panned to the rowdy crowd, where Lil John was singing “Turn Down For What” as people were tossed into the air around him. The grand finale was a classic, dance-filled performance of “Yeah!” that featured Ludacris in a football-inspired costume, as well as Lil John and

Usher would not have been my first choice for the halftime show. I don’t think he would have been anyone’s first choice, honestly. Usher may have been the perfect pick in 2004 — maybe even 2014, but 2024? The pick for the biggest headliner of the year left a lot of people scratching their heads.

However, I have to say, I really enjoyed watching Usher take the stage. He brought great energy and a huge discography of well-known hits. So maybe he was the perfect choice after all.

First-year Hugo Stickney agreed that Usher excelled under the stadium lights.

“The Usher halftime show is everything I could have wanted from a Super Bowl halftime [show]. As always, Usher knew how to wow audiences. Alicia Keys’ performance also really blew me away,” Stickney said.

Usher also proved that he could appeal to a variety of audiences as he entertained familiar fans and skeptics alike. First-year Henry Combs noted that he didn’t like the music, but conceded that the performance was praise-worthy.

“I really don’t care for Usher’s music, but even still, it was pretty cool visually,” Combs said. “It was a good spectacle.”

First-year Jude Ramadan emphasized that although Usher may not be one of the best musicians of all time, he charmed the audience and triumphed on stage. 

“I think Usher did a great job. It was clear he was there to entertain the people, focusing on his hits rather than trying to promote his recent music,” Ramadan said. “It will be a while before someone lives up to the great performances at the start of the century like Prince, the [Rolling] Stones and [Paul] McCartney, but that doesn’t make Usher’s performance bad. For a musician past his prime, struggling to stay relevant, he did a pretty good job.”

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