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Dreams Come True: Usher performs at Super Bowl LVIII

By Emma Celenza

Usher, one of the most influential R&B artists of the 90s, headlined the Super Bowl LVIII halftime show this past Sunday. Usher’s last charting solo album was released in 2016, and he was looking for a comeback. Releasing his new album, Coming Home, on February 9, 2024, Usher planned to make this halftime show one to remember, and invited some old friends to help him fulfill his lifelong dream.

Usher began with his song “Caught Up” off of his fourth album, Confessions. He danced his way through “U Don’t Have to Call” off of his third album, 8701 before returning to Confessions and performing “Superstar.” He then performed “Love in this Club” off of his fifth album, Here I Stand before introducing his first guest of the night, Alicia Keys. 

Keys, sporting a sparkly red jumpsuit, began by singing her song, “Ain’t Got You.” Usher and Keys proceeded to sing “My Boo” which reached #1 on the Billboard charts when it was first released on Confessions in 2004. 

Transitioning, Atlanta producer, Jermaine Dupri, excited the crowd while Usher began “Confessions Part II” off of Confessions, his #1 hit “Nice & Slow” off of his second album, My Way, “Burn” off of Confessions, and “U Got It Bad” off of 8701 with another guest, H.E.R.

After a quick costume change, Usher returns with “Bad Girl” off of Confessions, beginning his small homage to his hometown, Atlanta, by showcasing roller rink culture. He transitions to “OMG” off of his sixth studio album, Raymon v. Raymond, bringing out another guest,, to highlight the shared aspects of pop-EDM and Atlanta crunk music. Finishing with a small interlude of “Turn Down for What,” Usher teams up with Lil John, and Ludacris to perform another #1 song, “Yeah!”

Usher tried to play to audiences of all ages during the Super Bowl by performing six of his nine songs that have reached #1 on the charts, even referencing modern meme culture by performing “Nice & Slow,” which explains what he was doing at 7 o’clock. Some may argue that this halftime show was disorganized. Others may argue that this halftime show was amazing. What is undeniable is that Usher used this performance to rekindle his popularity, and this trend may show up in his recent release, Coming Home.

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