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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

What to expect from Usher’s Super Bowl Halftime gig

A paid for ad feature for viagogo.

This weekend, Usher will perform at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium for the Super Bowl 58 Halftime show.

Offering something a little different to the bone-crunching American Football match between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, the Halftime show has become as big as the Super Bowl itself with artists like Eminem, The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Madonna, Beyoncé, Prince, The Rolling Stones and U2 all taking to that famous, temporary stage over the years. It’s the stuff of legends, and this year Usher joins their ranks.

Usher performs onstage during his residency at La Seine Musicale
Usher performs onstage during his residency at La Seine Musicale on September 25, 2023 in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. CREDIT: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

It’s the perfect time for the influential R&B singer to stake his claim as one of the greatest as well. He’s just completed a Las Vegas residency that saw him perform over 100 sell–out concerts at Dolby Live at Park MGM and he’s set to release his ninth album ‘Coming Home’ this Friday [February 8].

According to data gathered by viagogo, searches for Usher tickets increased 530 per cent last year, and this gig will only amp up that excitement. This week, Usher announced a North American tour called ‘USHER: Past, Present, Future’ which hints at a celebration of projects both old and new. UK and European fans are still crossing fingers and awaiting dates but until then, this Super Bowl half-time show will showcase  just what the star can do before he gets on the road in August. It’s a lot to cram into 15 minutes, but here’s what might go down this weekend.

The Setlist

Last year, Rihanna managed to squeeze 12 songs into her Halftime show while The Weeknd managed seven in 2021. Usher’s somehow got to cram 30 years of excellence into his. His Las Vegas residency pulled from across his back catalogue but there’s no way Usher doesn’t take this chance to showcase new album ‘Coming Home’ so fans should expect lead single ‘Ruin’ at the very least.

However, the likes of  ‘Love In This Club’, ‘Burn’, ‘U Make Me Wanna’, ‘Pop Ya Collar’, ‘My Way’, ‘Confession Pt 2’, ‘U Don’t Have To Call’, ‘Nice & Slow’, ‘Superstar’, ‘Bad Girl’, and ‘Scream’ all deserve to be there if he’s going for pure greatest hits.

The Guests

Usher is no stranger to the Super Bowl Halftime show, having taken to the stage with The Black Eyed Peas in 2011 alongside Slash, and special guests are very much expected at these big gigs.

Luckily Usher has a string of collaborations to lean on, from the H.E.R.-featuring ‘Risk It All’ taken from The Color Purple soundtrack to big hitters with Lil Jon & Ludacris (‘Yeah!’), Pitbull (‘‘DJ Got Us Fallin In Love’) Alicia Keys (‘My Boo’), Justin Bieber (‘Somebody to Love’) and 21 Savage & Summer Walker (‘Good Good’), so expect him to call on a couple of old friends to take to the stage alongside him especially after all the recent teasing.

The Promo

Apple Music, the sponsors for the half-time show have spared no expense and they even extended the 13-minute alloted time to 15 minutes for the first time – to accommodate Usher’s vast catalogue. Apple CEO Tim Cook even featured in a promo video with Usher’s collaborators Ludacris, Lil Jon and actress Taraji P Henson. In a recent Billboard interview, Usher gave flowers to Prince and Beyoncé, but noted that his biggest Superbowl influence was Michael Jackson. Now, those are some iconic shoes (and socks) to fill. 

At a recent festival gig, Usher played the following, which seems like a good place to start.

My Way’
‘Caught Up’
‘You Make Me Wanna…’
‘U Got It Bad’
‘Confessions Part 2’
‘Bad Girl’
‘U Don’t Have To Call’
‘Good Good’

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