Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Review: Usher guided too many friends to the stage during Super Bowl Halftime

Usher gave it his best shot during his halftime show on Sunday — but what was missing?
Alicia Keys and Usher all smiles at the Super Bowl Halftime. Photo courtesy of:JOHN GILLOOLY/PEI.

Usher gave it his best shot during his Super Bowl 58 halftime show at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday. The spectacle spanned 14 songs over 13 minutes and featured numerous special guests, as Super Bowl shows often do. Unfortunately, though, this was a case of too many players on the field.

The former Las Vegas residency star entered with more stage presence than most male artists. As opposed to standing still and singing like many of his peers, choreography took center stage. Whether this focus was good or bad can be debated.

He opened with his classic dance moves and a rendition of “My Way” before transitioning to “Caught Up,” which incorporated moments from “U Don’t Have To Call” and “Superstar.”

When performing his hit “Love in This Club,” one would expect the energy would shift, but this wasn’t the case. His focus on dancing over vocals for most of the song, rather than a mix of the two, was a low point for me.

Then Alicia Keys graced the stage.

Keys stunned in a red bejeweled bodysuit as she gave a beautiful performance of her ballad “If I Ain’t Got You,” before she and Usher paired on a personal favorite, “My Boo.” Their electricity made this one of the show’s best moments. 

Next came “Confessions Part II,” which again focused on dancing, but that made sense since the star was moving to a different part of the stage.

When he sang “Burn,” and “U Got It Bad,” his voice took over. In comparison to recent halftime shows, I appreciated that his mic was on. Many halftime performers get panned for using backing tracks, but Usher sang live throughout his 13-minute performance.

This part of the set was my favorite, as it incorporated choreography without detracting from the singing. The star hit all the right notes at the perfect moments and sounded as great as ever.

While Usher did a quick costume change, H.E.R. entered, and absolutely stole the show. Her guitar solo transitioned “U Got it Bad” to “OMG” and included a short performance of “Bad Girl.”

“OMG” also featured, a previous Super Bowl performer as a member of The Black Eyed Peas.

Usher sang and danced on roller skates, which was one of the most impressive things I have seen from an artist. This marriage of stage presence and vocal performance is what I felt was missing during the early portion of his performance.

Lil Jon took to the stage, or rather the crowd, with “Turn Down for What” to transition into the closing number “Yeah!” featuring Ludacris. The latter overshadowed Usher with his verse of the song.

This was one of the highly anticipated moments, but it fell short due to the backing track that took over for Usher at times throughout the song. While they allowed for short breaks, they were distracting.

Guests usually elevate a performance, but this time around they overshadowed the headliner. This didn’t destroy the show, but did prevent any chance it might have had as being dubbed one of the best of all time.

Usher’s appearance has been a long time coming, 30 years in the making to be exact. The only question left after this halftime show is “Who’s next?”

Whoever it is shouldn’t feel obligated to share the stage with too many guests. Life, and halftime, is short.

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About the Contributor
Jordan Khan
Jordan Khan, Contributor
Hi! My name is Jordan Khan and I am a third year journalism student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I was born and raised here in Hawaiʻi, growing up on Oʻahu. I hope to use what I learn at UH Mānoa to possibly pursue a career in entertainment journalism.

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