With the NFL schedule already in full swing, we just got major news regarding the season’s finale. For this year’s Super Bowl, it’ll be Usher who takes the stage for the halftime show.
What Will Usher’s Halftime Setlist Look Like?
Though in last year’s performance, Rihanna eschewed any guest stars, Usher’s halftime show seems like a perfect time to showcase some extra star power. Some of the biggest hits that he’s enjoyed during his decades-long career have come with notable features—”My Boo” with Alicia Keys, “Love in This Club” with Young Jeezy, “OMG” with will.i.am and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” with Pitbull all seem like candidates for the singer’s setlist come February. His recent output presents an opportunity to tap into a younger demographic, like his last single “Good Good” with 21 Savage and Summer Walker. The one track that’s a sure bet is “Yeah!”—the club smash that’s remained a DJ necessity since its release. The only question is whether Lil Jon and Ludacris will appear alongside Usher when the night arrives.
The Changing Landscape of Super Bowl Halftime
Once a platform for mostly rock and pop musicians, we’ve seen the Super Bowl halftime show open its arms to hip-hop and R&B in the past few years. While the Weeknd and Rihanna ride the line between multiple genres, the performance two years ago is without debate—Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige’s ensemble showing was a full-throated embrace of rap in a way that would’ve been unthinkable in the mid-2000s. Usher’s selection here only continues that push, with the R&B superstar’s popularity around the turn of the century serving as one the most significant stretches in how hip-hop became the dominant global force it is today.
Behind the curtain, mogul Jay-Z is no doubt deserving of credit for the changing landscape of the halftime show. He and Roc Nation took on increased responsibilities in producing the performance in 2020 with Shakira & Jennifer Lopez. Though this is only the fifth halftime with Hov’s fingerprints on it, the results truly speak for themselves. The aforementioned 2020 edition stands as the most viewed on social media, that rap-centric 2021 show earned the first Emmy in Super Bowl history, and last year’s set a new high water mark in terms of real-time viewership.
While the Super Bowl will no doubt take up most of Usher’s time in 4 months’ time, he’s still got plenty on his plate in the near future. He’s currently amid a Las Vegas residency that stretches until early December. You can grab tickets for that on his official website now.