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  • Abigail Mornhinweg

Reviewing Usher's Superbowl LVIII Halftime Performance

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Last Sunday, we all tuned in to the biggest event of the year so far: the Puppy Bowl. While the main event was riveting, we all also tuned in to the Superbowl halftime performance. It’s an American staple (we all remember when Rhianna announced her pregnancy last year). This year, Usher took the stage. While Usher isn’t the most relevant right now, that doesn’t mean he’s stopped working. Having 30 years in the industry is a lot of experience, and it showed throughout his performance.

Super Bowl halftime performances are usually a mash-up of a singer’s greatest hits, and Usher has plenty of hits to go around. Having performed for over 30 years but mainly being popular from the late 2000s to the early 2010s, Usher was a huge surprise, at least to me, when selected as the headliner for this year’s halftime show. That didn’t mean he disappointed, though–it was quite the opposite. Usher’s throwback performances highlighted a sense of nostalgia that proves that throwbacks never really get old.

With a tracklist that transports you back to the 2000s, you either really liked the tracklist or really didn’t, depending on one thing: it was only Usher’s throwbacks. Personally, I’m a huge fan of throwbacks, and to hear songs that I heard throughout my childhood, like “Yeah!” and “Confessions Part II,” was really enjoyable. Not only that, his vocals were stellar on each track. So while the tracklist didn’t feature anything new, it did its job of making people have a great time. One track I wish we had heard was “Somebody to Love” with Justin Bieber, but Usher brought in plenty of other guests to fill the space.

The nostalgia train continued with these guests, with Usher bringing out guests like Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Lil’ Jon, and Ludacris. Hearing Keys singing “If I Ain’t Got You” with Usher harmonizing in the background was one of the show's main highlights, even if Keys’ voice cracked, as that was one of my favorite songs when I was younger and she nailed the rest of the song. And while H.E.R. was mainly featured on guitar, her presence alone brought so much energy to the set. Finally, my favorite moment of the night featured Lil’ Jon and Ludacris for their verses for “Yeah!”. Hearing all of Usher’s guests kill it on their parts of the show just added to the magic of it.

Now, do I think that Usher had the most incredible halftime show and that this was an instant classic? No, but I think it’s definitely up there on my favorites. I think it ultimately depends on whether or not one really likes throwbacks. With this many hits too, it’s clear that Usher was a force to be reckoned with in the 2000s, whether or not you were a fan of the halftime performance. While nostalgia isn’t enough to carry a performance, the setlist, vocals, and guests set Usher up for success., leading to one of the best halftime performances in years.

Written By Abby Mornhinweg

*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.


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