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Singer joined by Alicia Keys, H.E.R., will.i.am., Lil Jon, Ludacris
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Usher, Apple Music Super Bowl halftime show
Rating: (2.5 out of four)
Usher could not have had a bigger stage than the Apple Music Super Bowl halftime show to show off his 30-year career on Sunday night.
But it took the 45-year-old R&B singer a little while to make use of that platform, preferring instead to start rather intimately on the field at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
The camera panned through a rather chaotic mixture of dancers and acrobatic performers to reveal Usher seated and wearing a white and silver ensemble including a cape, puffy jacket, pants and gloves.
He eventually joined the dancers and a marching band on the field, kicking off his expanded halftime show — from the usual 13 minutes to 15 minutes — with Caught Up and U Don’t Have to Call.
It all just lacked that wow factor associated with the openings of most Super Bowl halftime shows — remember Lady Gaga jumping in from the stadium roof? — but eventually Usher climbed up on a stage for Love in This Club.
But despite the many Michael Jackson-like moonwalk steps performed by him, it wasn’t until Usher was joined by Alicia Keys that the proceedings slightly kicked up a notch.
Decked out in a red sequined jumpsuit and cape that matched her red piano, Keys sang her own If I Ain’t Got You before hooking up with Usher for My Boo.
By this point, Usher finally hit a much larger stage for Confessions Part II — after an intro by producer Jermaine Dupri — and had stripped down to a sleeveless top and pants and single glove (in another nod to Jackson?)
He finally got rid of the shirt and white tank top altogether and went completely shirtless for Nice & Slow, Burn and U Got It Bad with H.E.R. eventually appearing alongside him on guitar.
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That appearance by H.ER. and a bit of the song Bad Girl gave Usher time to change into a black and blue sequined uniform for the rollerskating portion of the show — something he apparently did in his Las Vegas residency that recently wrapped — during OMG featuring will.i.am.
Then Lil Jon appeared in the crowd performing Turn Down for What before he joined Usher for the finale song Yeah! also featuring rapper Ludacris.
All in all, it was a pretty busy performance and certainly won’t go down as one of the best halftime shows, but Usher fans likely got what they wanted from him and more (see shirtless portion).
This is also Usher’s second Super Bowl halftime appearance after he performed alongside the Black Eyed Peas when they headlined the event in 2011.
He also just released a new album, Coming Home, last Friday and has a new tour, Past Present Future Tour, coming to Toronto on Sept. 2 and 3 at Scotiabank Arena.
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