When Usher takes the stage at this year’s show, his performance will be three decades in the making. The 45-year-old artist and performer called it “an honor of a lifetime to finally check a Super Bowl performance off my bucket list.”
The eight-time Grammy award-winner already teased fans about what may be in store for his February 11 performance at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders — a show that will showcase the breadth of his decades spanning career. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” says Usher in Vogue. “I want people who have been a part of that journey to feel like it’s a celebration for everybody, for all of us, from the beginning up until this point.”
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Who is Usher?
Usher Raymond IV released his self-titled debut album at just 16 years old. Having discovered his passion for singing at his church’s youth choir in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Usher’s first album peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard R&B / Hip Hop charts and sold over 500,000 copies — all before he even graduated high school.
After integrating himself into Atlanta’s R&B scene, Usher caught the attention of record producer Jermaine Dupri, who took the young phenom under his wing. Producing his first platinum-certified single, You Make Me Wanna… Dupri and Usher’s collaboration skyrocketed the teenager to international fame.
Fast Facts About Usher
- Released his self-titled album at just 16 years old
- One of the best-selling music artists of all time with over 80 million records sold
- Made his acting debut on the tv series Moesha in the late ’90s
- Rolling Stone named Confessions Part II the greatest R&B song of the 21st century
- Co-founded the record label Raymond-Braun Media Group, which, in 2008, discovered and signed Justin Bieber to his first record contract
- His new album, Coming Home, will be released on the day of his Super Bowl Halftime performance
In years since, Usher has topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart nine times with R&B classics like U Remind Me, Yeah! feat. Lil Jon and Ludacris, Burn and “Confessions Part II. Dubbed the “King of R&B,” Usher has sold nearly 80 million records, won eight Grammys and was named one of the Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine.
In early December, Usher ended his sold-out, 100-show Las Vegas residency overcome with emotion. During his Without You performance, the artist dropped to his knees, thanking his friends, family and fans for their support. “Look at me now,” he said, following his performance.
Now the R&B legend is set to take the stage in Las Vegas again, in the biggest performance of his life for Super Bowl LVIII. Oh, and if that weren’t enough, he’s releasing his ninth studio album Coming Home directly after his halftime performance.
What can we expect from Usher’s halftime show?
While it remains the biggest sporting event of the year, you can always bet on the 13 minute halftime performance to dominate social media feeds and water cooler convos for weeks following the big game.
In recent years, performers such as Lady Gaga, The Weeknd and Rihanna (whose groundbreaking performance last year was dubbed a full-throttle concert “interrupted by a football game”) have reinvented the legacy of the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Usher certainly understands that expectations are high. After all, a good the Big Game Halftime Show lives or dies on an artist’s ability to drop an epic performance while delivering genuine surprises.
So what can we expect from Usher in this year’s performance? So far he’s keeping his cards close to his vest, but there are a few clues. Fans can expect Usher’s signature choreography, frantic costume changes and even some roller-skating, which featured prominently in his Las Vegas MGM residency.
But what about the surprise performers?! The Halftime Show has a proud tradition of special guest performers making surprise appearances on the big stage, like when Beyonce pulled off a Destiny’s Child reunion at Super Bowl XLVII or when Bruno Mars brought out the Red Hot Chili Peppers to sing their 1991 hit Give It Away during Super Bowl XLVIII.
Though specific names have yet to leak, Usher teased that he’s already recruited several R&B legends to make an appearance during the highly anticipated performance. “This night [will be] specifically curated in my mind to have R&B take the main stage,” he teases in Vogue’s preview of his halftime preparations. “Not just R&B music, but R&B performance, R&B connection, R&B spirit.” Usher also says that his 13-minute performance has been inspired by past Vegas greats like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. “I want to make it feel like that.”
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The Big Game will air live on CBS on Sunday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m. ET as well as Nickelodeon, and Univision. The game will stream on Paramount+.
If you’re watching the the Big Game live on television with DIRECTV, you can find your local CBS affiliate channel number here. Just scroll down and click on “See local and sports channels,” type in your zip code, and that’s it!
People will tune in for a football game, but I hope when they look at that halftime performance, I’m hoping they walk away with something that’s healing them,” says Usher. “It has to be perfect.”
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