Super Bowl halftime show underwhelms viewers


Photo Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Big Boi, Adam Levine and Sleepy Brown performing at Super Bowl LIII

Amanda Pyle, R2 News Editor

The Super Bowl is consistently the most-watched show on American television with 98.2 million people watching this year’s game, according to The Washington Post. With its overwhelming popularity in American culture, headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show (SBHS) can be an extremely monumental moment in a musician’s career.

The 2019 SBHS faced substantial controversy. This year’s headliner—Maroon 5—was not confirmed for the show until Jan. 13, less than three weeks before the game, whereas Justin Timberlake confirmed his Super Bowl appearance five months before he played the halftime show in 2018.

This delayed confirmation stems from multiple sources, including both a petition that asked Maroon 5 to drop out of the SBHS in support of Colin Kaepernick as well as Maroon 5’s inability to find a musician who would agree to make a guest appearance during the show.

Rihanna was the first artist to decline the NFL’s offer to headline the 2019 SBHS, stating that she doesn’t agree with the NFL’s stance on Kaepernick’s kneeling protest over police brutality and racial issues.

Following in Rihanna’s footsteps, a plethora of artists declined to be the guest performer during this year’s SBHS. This list includes Cardi B, André Benjamin, Mary J. Blige, Usher and Nicki Minaj, according to

Despite this controversy, Maroon 5 managed to get Travis Scott and Outkast rapper Big Boi to perform with them. Big Boi did not receive much criticism for agreeing to perform due to his representation as an Atlanta native.

Scott, however, was not exempt from backlash over his decision to perform. Although artists like Jay-Z tried to convince Scott to back out of the SBHS, he ultimately decided to participate. Scott announced in January that he partnered with the NFL to donate $500,000 to the nonprofit organization Dream Corps, a social justice network.

Regardless of the political and social controversy leading up to the show, the show itself went smoothly without any signs of political protest. However, in regards to the performance itself, many viewers were overall underwhelmed.

Big Boi tried to revive his Outkast-era hit “The Way You Move,” and Scott performed part of his hit “Sicko Mode.” Maroon 5 performed songs, “This Love,” “She Will be Loved,” “Moves like Jagger,” and “Girls Like You.”

Colm Slevin, WHS junior, said, “I don’t think Maroon 5 was a prevalent artist this year, and a lot of the songs they sang were older so they weren’t 2019-relevant.”

A majority of people felt as if this year’s SBHS was overwhelmingly mediocre. However, with all the controversy that led up to the show, it was hard to have accurate expectations for the performance. Regardless of the criticism, Maroon 5 said in an Instagram post that they “thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage”, and they “thank [their] critics for always pushing [them] to do better.”