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Usher’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Performance Got The Crowd ‘Caught Up’ On 25 Years Of Excellence

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It feels a bit ridiculous to even type these words, but going into Usher’s Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show performance, there was a certain amount of skepticism about whether he was a “Super Bowl caliber” artist from some fans (you can probably guess which ones). Of course, once the veteran hitmaker hit the stage, he obliterated all doubts about his worthiness for the moment, reminding those fans that he’s got 25+ years of pop-R&B excellence under his belt.

The results of Usher’s preparations were on full display as he performed pop culture mainstays like “Caught Up,” “U Don’t Have To Call,” and “Superstar” over the course of the 15-minute set. After coming out to “Caught Up” flanked by dancers dressed in Roaring ’20s regalia, he ran through a progression of 2000s hits before bringing out Alicia Keys for a rendition of their duet “My Boo.” Usher then launched into a retrospective of his slow-burners like “Nice & Slow” and “U Got It Bad.” Naturally, he came out of his shirt during the latter. H.E.R. joined him onstage to play the guitar solo, he broke out the roller skates for a breakdown, and Lil Jon played part of “Shots” before they went into everybody’s favorite Usher song, “Yeah,” joined (of course) by Ludacris.

And just in case the performance itself wasn’t enough to turn those fans‘ expectations around, the inevitable streaming bump that’s sure to follow certainly should. After last year’s performance, Rihanna topped the streaming charts. The year before, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s 1999 hit “Still D.R.E.” reached over a billion views on YouTube, and in 2019, even the meme-baiting stunt performance of Spongebob Squarepants‘ “Sweet Victory” prompted a 500% increase in streams for the cartoon’s soundtrack.