Over the echoes of his flashy 1997 hit “My Approach,” Usher opened the halftime present of Tremendous Bowl LVIII wearing head-to-toe white, together with a floor-length bedazzled cape and matching studded gloves. Amid occasional microphone glitches, he led with a pair of choreo-rich numbers: the Confessions hit “Caught Up” and 8701’s dazzling “U Don’t Need to Name.”
“They mentioned I wouldn’t be right here at this time, however I’m,” Usher proclaimed, kinda mendacity earlier than launching straight into his fan-service serenade “Celebrity” and a brass model of certainly one of his sleekest information, “Love in This Membership.” Actually, nobody who’s adopted Usher’s profession—from his self-titled 1994 debut to his star-making albums, 8701 and Confessions, and up to date legacy tour—is stunned that Usher is performing on the Tremendous Bowl. Least of all, Usher.
However the pretense is all a part of the act, which concerned Usher pulling out each glide, twirl, hip-thrust, and spin-move in his repertoire to promote the second, to promote R&B as authentic pop music. And, in fact, going shirtless. His halftime set had all of the vitality of a juiced-up 12-year-old stealing the present throughout Thanksgiving household spats by doing infinite backflips in entrance of kin, unprompted. Might we have now gotten a couple of extra minutes of begging and pleading throughout his trio of ballads: “Good & Gradual,” “Burn,” and “ U Acquired It Dangerous”? Sure. Usher as a substitute dipped off stage for an outfit change, ceding the stage to H.E.R., who riffed “Dangerous Lady” on guitar.
Usher slid by means of the evening with ease. He pirouetted round Alicia Keys as if performing a mating dance to their duet “My Boo.” (Keys, behind a fiery crimson piano, sporting a surprising sequin corset bodysuit, made it by means of a poor opening word to ship tender nostalgia.) A lighter setlist may’ve allowed Usher to savor extra moments like this, channeling the candy soulful duets of his previous. However Usher, the beautiful performer that he’s, went for max hype, spending the second half of his set working by means of a medley of hits, dancing improbably properly on curler skates, bringing the very best, flashiest parts and fanfare of his Vegas residency to the NFL stage.