Usher ‘Turnt The World To The A’ With An Epic Display Of Black Culture During The Super Bowl LVIII Apple Music Halftime Show

Photo Credit: Ben Liebenberg/NFL

Super Bowl LVIII broke records to become the most watched Super Bowl and television program in history. The championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers was a big draw, but we happen to think that Usher had a lot to do with that. Fresh from releasing his new album COMING HOME this past Friday, the King Of R&B’s highly anticipated performance during the Super Bowl LVIII Apple Music Halftime Show was an entertaining and epic display of Black culture with a nod to Atlanta.

Halftime was showtime, and after a quick introduction from announcer MC Lyte, a red screen appeared with an advisory from “The Apple Music Administration.” A voiceover recited the on-screen message that the performance was “Rated U” and “may cause singing, dancing, sweating, gyrating and possible relationship issues.” The screen switched from the comical disclaimer to take us live to Las Vegas where Usher was waiting on the field at Allegiant Stadium to set it off.

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And set it off he did with an exciting journey through his catalog of hits that’s 30 year’s deep. As the camera panned past the dancers on the field and got closer to Usher, his song “My Way” echoed throughout the stadium. After a few seconds, the camera landed on him sitting on stage, and he arose from his throne to get in formation.

Usher launched right into “Caught Up” with a bang or, make that, Jackson State’s Sonic Boom Of The South marching band who were also on the field playing their instruments. There was a lot of movement surrounding Usher between his dancers, Vegas showgirls, contortionists and stuntmen flying through the air. It was almost sensory overload, but he segued into “U Don’t Have To Call” and brought the focus back to him as he led the dancers in the iconic choreography from the music video.

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Mr. Entertainment had to condense three decades of jams into 15 minutes, so he couldn’t stay with any one song for long. He did make sure to take a pause in the music to shout out God and his mama Jonetta Patton before dedicating the next song “Superstar” to her. Usher then picked the pace back up with “Love In This Club.” Two members of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity jumped on stage to accompany him, and they twirled their canes and shimmied for their lives.

Ursher shared his Super Bowl moment with a few of his artist friends, the first of which was Alicia Keys. She looked stunning in a red bedazzled costume, but her voice cracked and faltered throughout her performance of her own song “If I Ain’t Got You.” Things got a little better for Alicia when Usher joined her to sing their duet “My Boo,” but this was not her finest hour.

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Jermaine Dupri took some of the heat off of Alicia Keys when he appeared on stage in a strange-looking short set suit to introduce “Confessions Part II.” Usher then proceeded to sing an enthralling medley of “Nice & Slow,” “Burn” and “U Got It Bad.” At this point, he finally came out of his shirt and made viewers gasp and swoon. Folks couldn’t even catch their breath before he brought out surprise guest H.E.R. to play the “U Got It Bad” guitar solo.

Usher smoothly slipped off stage while H.E.R. stayed on to play the opening notes to “Bad Girl.” She asked “Las Vegas, where my bad girls at?” and a few zoomed on stage on roller skates. They were soon joined by some fly fellas and who helped to set up the next segment. Ursh reemerged in a new outfit and slid out on matching roller skates. The camera followed his every move around the circular stage as the beat to “OMG” dropped in. stepped to the center of the stage, and Usher did a trick on his skates and slid right through his legs.

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The next surprise came from Lil Jon who got the crowd hyped up with his anthemic track “Turn Down For What.” The energy from the NFL revelers surrounding Lil Jon on the field was exhilarating. The song was the perfect alley hoop for Usher to slam dunk with his last song, his smash hit “Yeah!” for his big finale.

Applause filled the stadium when the music to “Yeah!” started, and Usher and his dancers took their places. He deftly performed the song’s first verse while Lil Jon sprinkled his ad-libs in. The final surprise came when the camera cut to Ludacris who was there to spit his legendary verse as he walked past three stripper poles set up on stage.

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Jackson State’s Sonic Boom Of The South was now positioned in front of the stage, and members of the band formed the letters U-S-H-E-R on the field. As the song reached its climax, all of the guest artists and dancers surrounded Usher and filled every inch of the stage in celebratory glee.

Usher concluded his thrilling halftime show with the chant “I turnt the world to the A!” to show love and give props to his adopted hometown of Atlanta. Georgia’s capital city was all up, in and through Usher Bowl. Although it wasn’t a perfect performance thanks to sound issues with his mic and a lackluster production compared to the past few years, Usher did the damn thing. He reached back to his musical forefathers and gave us pieces of Michael Jackson, Prince, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass and James Brown. He fulfilled a childhood dream and made R&B dreams come true.

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Usher’s Super Bowl LVIII Apple Music Halftime Show performance is a preview of coming attractions for what people can expect on the USHER: PAST PRESENT FUTURE Tour. This concert tour is going to be one for the books, and Usher will be bringing his big-big energy to the stage every night. Until we get to witness him perform live again, get into his Black and excellent halftime show right here or on YouTube and view the entire setlist below.

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Usher Super Bowl LVIII Apple Music Halftime Show setlist:

“My Way”
“Caught Up”
“U Don’t Have To Call”
“Love In This Club”
Alicia Keys: “If I Ain’t Got You”
“My Boo” feat. Alicia Keys
Jermaine Dupri intro
“Confessions Part II”
“Nice & Slow”
“U Got It Bad” feat. H.E.R. guitar solo
“Bad Girl” intro
“OMG” feat.
Lil Jon: “Turn Down For What”
“Yeah” feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris

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