By Riley Steffens ’21
It has been a little over a month since Super Bowl LIII. 2019 was a rough year for the Super Bowl Halftime Show. With all of the controversy and tension surrounding the NFL for the Colin Kaepernick protests, it was difficult for the organization to find an artist willing to perform. It was rumored that artists such as Rihanna refused to perform as it would demonstrate support for the NFL. Finally, after months of speculation, the NFL announced Maroon 5 as the performers.
In my opinion, the Maroon 5 show was quite lackluster. While Maroon 5 does have an impressively large collection of radio-friendly hits, that is exactly what they are–friendly. Nothing shocking, nothing iconic, nothing too memorable. They were a very safe bet, music-wise. Performance-wise, I noticed the use of fire and several guest appearances to liven it up. Maroon 5’s Adam Levine started off by running around a large “M” shaped platform while singing summarized versions of their popular songs. After a few quick Maroon 5 songs, Levine introduced a performer who “needed no introduction”–with a SpongeBob SquarePants introduction from the cartoon’s “Band Camp” episode. Travis Scott then emerged to perform his hit song “Sicko Mode,” along with some pyrotechnics from the stage. Then, Levine sang another Maroon 5 hit, “She Will Be Loved,” as the stadium went dark and hundreds of lanterns appeared in the crowd. A band and a gospel choir then joined in on the song and seemed to take over the performance at one point, as the gospel singer overpowered Levine with her voice. The choir was presumably a way to tie-in Atlanta as the host city of the Super Bowl.
Next up was Big Boi, who came out on the back of an old convertible rapping “The Way You Move” dressed in an extremely large fur coat. Maroon 5 then finished up the performance with “The Way You Move” while Levine took off his shirt and paraded his tattooed body. Again there was fire, with fireworks going off around the stage and on top of the stadium. Overall, it seemed like there was too much Maroon 5 and not enough Travis Scott and Big Boi. This sentiment was confirmed by Twitter, which had many comments wanting less Maroon 5 and more of everything else. Those viewers suggested that Maroon 5 delivered a dull performance with older songs compared to Travis Scott and Big Boi who had more relevant and recent songs that people preferred to see and hear.
Finally, onto the commercials. There were many ads this year but none that really stood out as “the best.” Although, I enjoyed the Walmart “blast from the past” cars pulling for pickup orders. Additionally, Coke’s diversity ad was beautiful and heartwarming, as Coke’s ads usually are. To contrast, Pepsi’s ad that tied Pepsi to “OK” was likely the worst. I wondered why Pepsi would want to associate their brand to just “OK?” Maybe it’s just me, but it made me say, I’d rather have a Coke, like the commercial’s initial request.
With all this being said, it felt to many that Super Bowl LIII was a forgettable event.