Usher teases guest stars for Super Bowl halftime show

Agence France-Presse - Agence France-Presse
Usher teases guest stars for Super Bowl halftime show
In this image released on August 2, Usher performs onstage during a taping of iHeartRadio’s Living Black 2023 Block Party in Inglewood, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio
Getty Images North America via AFP / Kevin Winter

LAS VEGAS, United States — R&B star Usher revealed he will be joined by guest performers when he takes the stage for the Super Bowl halftime show — but did not disclose who made the cut.

The 45-year-old eight-time Grammy winner will play before a star-studded 65,000-strong crowd at the Allegiant Stadium — one of the most coveted gigs in the music business.

The singer gave no names but said his guests could be artists he has worked with before in what is intended to be a celebration of his career.

And one of those singers is none other than global superstar Taylor Swift, who is expected to be on hand to cheer on boyfriend Travis Kelce and his Kansas City Chiefs as they take on the San Francisco 49ers for the Lombardi Trophy.

Usher has worked with a bevy of music A-listers, including the likes of Beyonce, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, as well as rappers Lil Jon and Ludacris, who feature on his biggest hit "Yeah!"

"There's been these fantasy lists that have been going out and people trying to figure out what song I'm going to perform first and last, who's going to come on stage with me," Usher told a press conference on Thursday.

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The hitmaker — who wrapped up a Las Vegas residency last December — said Sunday's show would reflect different eras of his music career.

"I was very mindful of my past, celebrating my present, which is here in Las Vegas, and thinking about where we're headed in the future," Usher said. "I've tried so many things my entire career, and I've just managed to gather people who celebrate my music."

"I went through a lot of ideas of who I would have share this moment with me and I do feel the people I'm going to share it with deserve it for what they did in their career whether we have collaborated together or whether they've had moments of their own."

Is Usher a Swiftie?

When his recruitment for the Super Bowl halftime show was announced last year, Usher mischievously said Swift might play a part in his performance.

"I mean, she could be one person that I serenade. Or, she could be a special guest. I don't know," he told NBC television's "Today with Hoda and Jenna" in November.

Swift invited Usher on stage at a show in Atlanta in 2011 to perform "Yeah!" with her.

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While a surprise Super Bowl duet would threaten to break the internet, recent reports have poured cold water on the possibility, with the NFL Network saying there were no plans for the pair to perform together.

Usher — whose other hits include "OMG" and "My Boo" — himself appeared on stage at the Super Bowl in 2011 as a guest with the Black Eyed Peas.

A list of previous Super Bowl halftime headliners reads like a who's who of the music industry, including the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.

The show has also stoked controversy, most infamously in 2004 when Janet Jackson inadvertently displayed her naked right breast while performing with Justin Timberlake in a controversy that became known as "Nipple-gate."

More recent performers include Rihanna — who wowed the 2023 audience by revealing her pregnancy — and hip-hop legends Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent in 2022 in Los Angeles.

Also at Sunday's game, country legend Reba McEntire will sing the national anthem and Post Malone will sing "America the Beautiful."

Grammy and Oscar nominee Andra Day will perform a rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" — often described as America's Black national anthem.

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