Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation
It was always a fool’s errand to discount the talent and power of Usher leading up to the R&B icon’s Super Bowl LVIII halftime show. Sure, you could argue that the height of the crooner’s success peaked two decades ago, despite his several hits in the years since. But after the rollicking display of jaw-dropping showmanship and sex-on-legs charisma that he brought to the world’s biggest stage, there is no denying that Usher has been—and always will be—a certified hitmaker.
If you’ve paid even a fraction of attention to current events over the last couple of weeks, you know that the Super Bowl has been superseded by celebrity. This is, apparently, no longer a sports event, but a satellite stop on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour. Newscasters have spent their airtime, pointers in hand, showing viewers how Swift could make it from her four-show run in Japan to Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium in time to watch her boyfriend Travis Kelce play. (Mind you, Swift is merely attending the game, not performing.) But Swift’s successful journey across the world is nothing compared to Usher’s journey to the Super Bowl stage; this performance was the real can’t-miss sight of the night. When Usher performed, there was no one else in the stadium worth watching.
Well, that’s partially true. There were, of course, some special guests who joined Usher onstage to celebrate his career’s longevity. But make no mistake: This was Usher’s show, something triple threat (singer, dancer, and swoon-worthy heartthrob-slash-underwear model ) was intent on proving from the jump.