When it was first announced that this year’s Super Bowl halftime performer would be Maroon 5, a choice so bland that they became the 2016 halftime headliner, cold game, look like GG Allin by comparison – the news was greeted with a collective yawn. But it wasn’t long before Adam Levine and company found themselves at the center of the biggest halftime show controversy since. The scandal “Nipplegate” of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake 15 years ago.
Maroon 5’s decision to play the Super Bowl, at the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, one of the American capitals of black music (and specifically hip-hop), did not sit well with some detractors, who saw the measure as a snub. against former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (who is currently suing the NFL, alleging that the team’s owners conspired to keep him out of the league for protesting police brutality against people of color). Nearly 115,000 people signed up online petition urging Maroon 5 to drop out, and celebrities ranging from Amy Schumer to Meek Mill to Ava Du Vernay criticized the band. Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters actually asked the band to kneel during their halftime show, and Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, accused Maroon 5 of “crossing the picket line.”
Maroon 5 could have silenced their many enemies and doubters with a spectacular performance, as has Gladys Knight, who also trapped bulletproof for performing at Super Bowl LIII, he did with her magnificent rendition of the national anthem earlier on Super Bowl Sunday. But Maroon 5 didn’t do that. Instead, they played it safe with what might be the most disappointing and instantly forgettable halftime show of all time.
There was a rumor, sparked by Levine’s exclusives. entertainment tonight interview, that the band could honor Kaepernik during the halftime show. They didn’t. There was a rumor that Christina Aguilera could appear during “Moves Like Jagger”. she didn’t. There was a rumor that Travis Scott would propose to his girlfriend, Kylie Jenner, on stage. Hey no.
there was even a rumor that Maroon 5 would pay tribute to a hero the entire nation could get behind: Sponge Bob Square Pants creator Stephen Hillenburg, who died in November, with beloved sponge Bob theme “Sweet Victoria”. (Another online petition, starting the band to perform that song, actually collected more than 1.2 million firms.) Maroon 5 could have paraded the sponge Bob characters for a “Sweet Victory” finale, or at least performed the song, and viewers of All political persuasions would have loved it. But Maroon 5 didn’t do that either. (A quick, tricky sponge Bob clip used to introduce Scott directed only sponge Bob fans who expected more).
Really, the most exciting thing that happened during the entire show was when Levine stripped to the waist and moved his chiseled, tattooed torso around like a Chippendales dancer, but that seemed desperate, complacent, and downright embarrassing, much like his goofy dad. – dance. (And many tweeters, including Aisha Tylerpointed out the hypocrisy that Levine was allowed to bare her chest at the Super Bowl without consequence, but Janet Jackson’s 2004 halftime “wardrobe malfunction” was a major debacle that derailed her career.)
Scott’s “Sicko Mode,” heavily censored by CBS, and guest artist Big Boi’s “The Way You Move” sparked a bit of fire (Scott literally, via a not-so-special cheesy, flaming comet effect ), but the appearances of those rappers were blinks and you’ll miss the letter. And Maroon 5’s cursory, soulless romp of their bridal band hits (“Harder to Breathe,” “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved,” “Sugar,” “Moves Like Jagger,” “Girls Like You”— the latter without duet partner Cardi B) just didn’t cut it in a post-Prince/Beyoncé/Gaga halftime era.
Twitter was not impressed. And understandably so.
Viewers can only imagine how much more compelling this year’s halftime show would have been under other circumstances. rihanna, pink other cardi b All reportedly turned down offers to play in Super Bowl LIII, in a show of solidarity with Kaepernick. (Cardi B later said People“There’s a man [Kaepernick] who sacrificed his work for us, so we have to support him.”) Variety also reported that “more than half a dozen stars” refused to join Maroon 5 onstage at the halftime show, including Outkast’s André 3000, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Lauryn Hill, and Nicki Minaj. Eventually, Scott and André 3000’s bandmate, ATL’s own Big Boi, signed on, but that seemed to do little to assuage the outrage. jay z even reportedly I tried to convince Scott to reconsider. (Scott agreed to perform if the NFL joined him in donating $500,000 to the Dream Corps, a nonprofit organization that helps diverse communities; Maroon 5 and its label, Interscope Records, followed Scott’s lead and made a joint donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.)
This week, the NFL canceled his traditional pre-bowl press conference, explaining that Maroon 5 would “let their show do the talking” instead. But Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton, who is black, did say People last month, “I think there are a lot of people, a lot of players, to be honest, who support Kap and also do his job for the NFL. I think we are doing the same. We can support being against police brutality against black and brown people, and we can support being able to peacefully protest and continue to do our job. We just want to have a good time and entertain people while we understand the important issues at hand.”
In Levine’s only exclusive pregame interview last week, with entertainment tonightsaid he had consulted with many advisers and assured people of color that they would be “heard” during Maroon 5’s halftime show. (“We got you,” he promised.) But instead, this performance was a missed opportunity, not just to “honor social justice” with the big sociopolitical statement that Levine had apparently mocked Eastern Timebut to entertain the general masses with a genuinely great concert.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
Follow Lyndsey on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, Amazon, tumblr, Spotify