While Usher’s 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show brought nostalgia, can it compete with other recent halftimes, like Rihanna’s 2023 show or 2022’s lineup of rap megastars? Graphic by Ricky Birchfield | THE ALL STATE

The Super Bowl halftime show is known for its over-the-top grandeur, featuring big-name artists with elaborate sets. The 2024 show performance was no different, with long-time star Usher beginning his performance on a studded throne. Yet despite the back-breaking dance moves, sparkling costumes, and big-name guests; the performance largely fell flat. 

Usher began his performance in all white with a glittering robe draped over his shoulders. He was trailed by a line of showgirls, paying homage to the hosting city of Las Vegas. Accompanying the showy opening was Usher’s “Caught Up” with elaborate dance moves to go along with it. Although he started in a clean white suit, Usher would have multiple costume changes. Throughout the show, it seemed as if he was slowly losing items of clothing. At one point he was performing shirtless, still drenched in sweat from the effort of such a detailed performance. During his time on stage with Alicia Keys, Usher lost a glove—a fitting tribute to Micheal Jackson in the middle of Black History Month.

His set included over a dozen songs, from slow jams to fast-paced hits, that many viewers found nostalgic. A grand total of five guest artists joined Usher throughout the show, from Alicia Keys to Will.i.am. At one point, Usher took to the stage on roller skates in a shiny new costume, busting out moves most people couldn’t even do on their feet. Famous hits like “Love In This Club” and “Turn Down For What” boomed in the stadium as the 13-minute performance rolled on. But despite his overall impressive showmanship, it would be a stretch to say Usher lived up to expectations.

There is no question Usher has dominated the pop and R&B scenes for decades, but this might also be his greatest downfall. Simply put, Usher’s gotten old. His music doesn’t have the same all-encompassing charm it once did. It’s too stale for a Super Bowl performance, what was supposed to be energizing and exciting was completely sidelined for more interesting drama. Even with all the lights, glam, and guest stars Usher still couldn’t rival the greats in his 2024 Super Bowl performance.