R&B sensation Usher is gearing up to bring a unique blend of music and roller-skating flair to the grand stage of the Super Bowl half-time show in Las Vegas this Sunday. The Grammy-winning artist has promised to recreate an electrifying roller-skating sequence that captivated audiences during his recent residency in Vegas.
Describing the upcoming performance as a “crescendo” and a pivotal moment marking a “new beginning” in his remarkable 30-year career, Usher is set to make history as the first independent artist to headline the Super Bowl half-time show, having departed from his previous record label, RCA.
In an exclusive interview with Apple Music’s Nadeska Alexis, Usher remained tight-lipped about the specifics of his setlist, acknowledging the challenge of condensing three decades of music into a mere 13-minute performance. Behind dark sunglasses, he expressed the importance of being mindful of his past and incorporating iconic dance routines from his illustrious career into the show.
When probed about the possibility of guest performers, Usher intriguingly hinted at the presence of singers who had collaborated with him on “hit records.” The singer, whose impressive list of collaborators includes heavyweights like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Lil’ Jon, emphasized the significance of these collaborations in shaping his musical journey.
Taking the stage at the Allegiant Stadium, Usher will add his name to the illustrious roster of Super Bowl half-time performers, joining the ranks of past luminaries such as Katy Perry, Prince, and Beyoncé. The high-energy showcase will unfold against the backdrop of the Kansas City Chiefs battling the San Francisco 49ers in the highly anticipated sporting event.
Usher’s journey from a young choir singer in Tennessee to a global music sensation has been nothing short of extraordinary. He initially gained attention as a member of the group NuBeginning, recording an album in 1991. After his family’s move to Atlanta, Usher’s talent was discovered at a talent show, leading to a record deal with LA Reid, the renowned executive who had also launched the careers of TLC, Toni Braxton, and OutKast.
While his first album faced challenges, Usher found success with his second album, “My Way,” produced in collaboration with Jermaine Dupri. The album featured chart-topping hits like “You Make Me Wanna” and “Nice & Slow,” propelling Usher to international stardom. Over the next decade, he sold 80 million records, earned eight Grammy Awards, and secured four consecutive US number one hits.
Despite a somewhat quieter period in the 2010s, Usher’s reputation as a captivating live performer remained intact. After a stint as a judge on “The Voice,” he embarked on a Las Vegas residency in 2022, culminating in an impressive 100 sold-out shows and, ultimately, the Super Bowl half-time show.
Why is the Halftime Show During the Super Bowl So Important?
The Super Bowl half-time show, often stealing the spotlight from the game itself, is a colossal platform for artists. In 2022, Rihanna set a record with 121 million viewers, emphasizing the immense reach and impact of the show. Even during years with less star-studded lineups, such as Maroon 5’s performance in 2019, viewership remained close to 100 million.
Usher is fully cognizant of the significance of this opportunity, strategically announcing a new album and a US tour to coincide with his Super Bowl performance. Fans, already buzzing with anticipation, are hopeful for additional UK tour dates.
Where Can I See the Show?
For those eager to catch Usher’s roller-skating extravaganza, the Super Bowl match will kick off at 23:30 UK time (15:30 in Las Vegas), with half-time expected around 01:00-01:30 UK time (17:00-17:30 in Las Vegas). The game will be broadcast on CBS in the US and ITV1 and ITVX in the UK, while the NFL typically uploads the entire half-time show on YouTube immediately after its broadcast.
In summary, Usher’s Super Bowl half-time show promises to be a mesmerizing blend of his musical journey, iconic dance moves, and roller-skating theatrics – a spectacle that marks not only a celebration of his illustrious career but also a groundbreaking moment as the first independent artist to headline this iconic event.