Teamwork makes the dream work, and nobody proved that better than Usher on Sunday night! The Coming Home artist pulled off an undeniably epic Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show that featured intricate choreography, various callbacks to his iconic discography and, most importantly, a few guest appearances that are reminiscent of the days of TRL.
Usher showed off his acclaimed showmanship by kicking off his performance with the classic banger “Caught Up” with an all-white outfit and acrobats and full Las Vegas glamour.
After launching into his hits, “Superstar” and “Love in This Club,” Alicia Keys took the stage, with a custom piano and belted out her single, “If I Ain’t Got You,” and was joined by the leading man before he sang the first line of their iconic hit, “My Boo.”
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Together, the pair channeled the chemistry they had in 2004, when the songstress appeared on the chart-topping hit. For her brief appearance on the field, Keys wore an all-red look by Dolce & Gabbana. The pair sang the chorus as they walked the runway as the crowd sand along.
And the surprises didn’t stop there!Jermaine Dupri took the stage to give a brief intro before Usher went into “Confessions” and then “Burn.” H.E.R. took the stage to play a brief guitar solo to Usher’s hit, “Bad Girl,” and will.i.am joined and launched the crowed into “OMG.”
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Usher had a coming home moment, as Lil John, Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri helped him end his 15-minute show with “Yeah!” The group (who are known to do it again) all donned matching blue outfits as they ended the show with a bang — and an ode to their hometown Atlanta, Georgia.
It’s no surprise that Usher’s highly anticipated halftime show featured familiar faces — the “Confessions” singer has been teasing fans with details about his performance since he was revealed as the halftime show headliner back in September 2023. Speaking with ET ahead of Sunday’s big game between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, the performer played coy about speculation that he’d be joined by collaborators Ludacris and Lil Jon onstage.
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“I would be a fool to not play ‘Yeah!’ let’s just start there,” he admitted. “It would be foolish to make it all the way to Las Vegas, Jon is here, Luda’s here and not play ‘Yeah!'”
In an interview with Billboard, Usher also teased that his performance — which is a celebration of his 30-year career — would include “special guests.”
“It will definitely be an event,” Usher told the outlet. “There are special guests. And I’ve considered new songs. But you know, it’s 12 to 15 minutes. So it’s really hard to determine what moment matters more than others, especially with a new song. But there’s the dance, the wardrobe, the lighting, how long you stay in a song, the fact that the audience may sing along … It’s a lot. So I’m trying my hardest not to overthink it.”
The “U Got It Bad” singer admitted that he heard from past performers ahead of his big dance. “I’ve happened to be around a few people who’ve played the Super Bowl, and they did give me some pointers,” he shared. “I also happened to be on a boat not too long ago with Katy Perry, who gave me some notes.”
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He continued, “I heard that Rihanna stood up for me [in a December interview with E! News] and said something really incredible [about Usher’s qualifications for the gig]. I really appreciated that. I’ve watched every performer, analyzing how they maximized those 12 minutes. But you know, your moment is your moment. And this is a moment I’ve prepared for during the last 30 years.”
And it’s clear that no one will be surprised by how well-prepared Usher was for his performance. When ET spoke with JAY-Z, whose Roc Nation partnered up with the NFL to produce their Super Bowl halftime shows and personally called Usher to offer him the opportunity, the entrepreneur told ET that it was time for the singer to “take his rightful place.”
“I think that he’s going to take his rightful place,” the iconic rapper and businessman said while at the red carpet premiere of The Book of Clarence. “He’s one of the greatest performers we’ve seen in our time and I think he’ll take his rightful place.”
Super Bowl LVIII – which is airing on CBS and streaming live on Paramount+ – is at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, and has the Kansas City Chiefs facing off against the San Francisco 49ers. Keep checking ETonline for more from the big game, including photos, exclusive interviews and more.