Usher performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 58 football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
LAS VEGAS – Usher emerged at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium for the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show seated on a throne, joined by a marching band and a trove of Vegas performers — but stayed its center.
It was an immediate confirmation of his position as the ideal halftime performer: one with timeless, well-known hits, masterful choreography, and a devoted audience.
He started with “Caught Up,” moving into “U Don’t Have to Call,” Superstar,” and “Love in the Club.”
Then Alicia Keys joined in front of bright red piano for her song “If I Ain’t Got You,” which morphed into “My Boo,” Usher losing a glove in an apparent tribute to Michael Jackson — notable for a performance during Black History Month.
“They said I wouldn’t make it,” he told the crowd, dedicating the set to his “mama.”
Across 13 minutes during the halftime show sponsored by Apple Music, Usher brought out a number of guests including H.E.R., Jermaine Dupri, Lil Jon (for “Turn Down for What,” which became “Yeah!” — and included a guest appearance from Ludacris).
Across three decades, the R&B superstar had an endless treasure trove of hits to pull from — and did so with costume changes, and a rolling performance of “OMG” while wearing roller skates.
His album “Confessions” ranks among one of the best-selling music projects of all time and turned 20 this year; “Burn” became an easy performance highlight.
Over the past two years, Usher, 45, has made Vegas a home for his unique talents, with his sold-out residency, “Usher: My Way,” at Dolby Live at Park MGM making him the perfect pick for Sunday’s game.
The eight-time Grammy award winner is also no stranger to the Super Bowl stage — he made a guest appearance with Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am in 2011.
“I got a chance to see a bit of what it felt like,” Usher told The Associated Press in a recent interview. In his first Super Bowl performance, he descended from the stadium ceiling to perform “OMG” in Arlington, Texas.
“Don’t take the moments for granted because you only get 13 of them,” he said in advance of his 2024 performance, referring to the usually allotted 13-minute run time. “The hardest part is trying to figure out how to squeeze it all in when you actually have a large catalog, or a lot of records people celebrate and love.”
With a doubt — he figured out exactly how to do just that.
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