Why This Year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Has Been So Poorly Received

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The reviews are in: Many of the publications that have written about this year’s Super Bowl halftime show were decidedly not fans. Maroon 5’s 13-minute long performance has been described as “a shrug,” “unnecessary,” and “underwhelming,” among other derisions.

Maroon 5’s set juggled its earliest hits, such as “Harder to Breathe,” “She Will Be Loved,” and “This Love,” with its modern radio staples, including “Sugar,” “Girls Like You,” and “Moves Like Jagger.” Many reviews have pointed to Maroon 5’s songs as low points in the halftime show, instead preferring the appearances of the night’s two guest rappers: Travis Scott and Big Boi.

Scott arrived on stage following a SpongeBob SquarePants introduction, and despite rumors ahead of the performance, this was SpongeBob’s only connection to the halftime show. After Scott performed an abbreviated version of his Drake collaboration “Sicko Mode,” he exited by crowdsurfing, a move which many writers have hailed as unorthodox and exciting.

Big Boi’s appearance later in the show held extra poignancy: the Super Bowl took place in Atlanta, where Big Boi is legendary. He performed a shortened version of his OutKast song “The Way You Move,” which many critics saw as a refreshing break from Maroon 5’s monotony. In fact, at least one review of the halftime show credits Big Boi and Travis Scott with essentially carrying the entire performance.

Maroon 5’s performance isn’t the only part of the halftime show being lambasted. Artists including Rihanna and Cardi B turned down the NFL’s offers to headline the show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who ignited a national conversation about police brutality by kneeling during the performance of the National Anthem. Maroon 5 has been criticized for not doing the same, and many commentators have described the band as a safe choice that was likely very, very low on the NFL’s list of possibilities.

Although Super Bowl LIII’s halftime show is far from the first controversial one, it has certainly become quite the hot-button topic. Where do you stand on this all? Let us know in the comments!

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