Within 72 hours, Maroon 5’s halftime show performance has accumulated over 700,000 dislikes on YouTube. The video has yet to reach 100,000 likes, thus positioning Super Bowl LIII’s halftime fumble into an infamous category of YouTube’s bin of trolled, despised content.
Adam Levine, Travis Scott and Big Boi took Center Stage on Feb. 3 in Atlanta, Ga. with stunningly abysmal vocal performances and an energy so low that even the Patriots and Rams’ historically low-scoring first half presented more vigor. The safe, low-fi presentation prompted many viewers to wish for anything, but to listen to Levine’s high-pitched squealing for 13 minutes.
Nevertheless, Maroon 5 grabbed the baton, while allegedly numerous artists denied the NFL’s request to perform. According to Billboard, Adele, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Cardi B and P!nk rejected the opportunity to perform in the halftime show. Some of these refusals stem from the NFL’s mishandling of Colin Kapernick and other players’ peaceful demonstrations during the national anthem.
American football’s politically contentious atmosphere placed Maroon 5 in a hardened moral dilemma. Another refusal would prompt a possibly vacant halftime performance, while their acceptance may express their complicity with the NFL’s stifling of peaceful demonstration. I credit the band and the other performers for participating in a divisive matter, while the other performers who refused due to the moral implications are fair in their judgment as well.
Regardless of the performers’ acceptance, the band’s performance was lackluster. Numerous comments on YouTube claimed viewers re-watched Lady Gaga’s 2017 and Bruno Mars’ 2014 halftime performance to purify themselves of this year’s visual and sonic disappointment. Even Levine’s six-pack and intricate body art could not save the show’s vapid extravagance.
For the Super Bowl LIV halftime show, I implore the NFL to request an artist with a stellar stage presence and an impressive vocal ability. Perhaps a Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande or Shakira, artists who did not previously reject the invitation, should consider the opportunity. Moreover, these artists have satisfactory vocal capabilities, enormous fan bases and stage presences that would thrill millions.
The NFL’s botched and reprehensible response to peaceful demonstrations should not force over 100 million people to suffer through a tiresome, 13-minute-long affair. I ask artists to possibly compromise their political beliefs for the welfare of those viewing at home or perhaps incorporate their moral objections into their performance. The halftime show ought to be a well-performed celebration, not a vacuous, depressing event.
Thomas Schwartz is a junior history major from Nutley, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.