Usher delivered an epic Super Bowl halftime show with plenty of special guests.
WASHINGTON — In an ode to his 30-year career, Usher kicked off his packed Super Bowl halftime show set with his song “Caught Up” from his 2004 best-selling album “Confessions.”
The multiple Grammy winner highlighted his most memorable hits, including “Love in the Club,” “Yeah” and “OMG.” This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the epic 2004 album.
Before kicking off the rest of his set, he made sure to give a shout out to his mother minutes into the set.
“Hey Mama, we made it,” he said.
Wearing an all-white ensemble, Usher then took the center stage and sang “Confessions Part II.” The King of R&B made sure to bring sex appeal to the halftime show, even taking off his shirt during part of his performance.
But Usher definitely wasn’t alone.
The singer brought out Alicia Keys for a duet of their hit “My Boo.”
During one of his biggest hits “OMG,” Usher got on roller skates along with his dancers and skated all over the stage as Will.i.am. sang his verse.
Usher also brought artist H.E.R. onto the stage briefly.
But the most electric performance came when Lil’ Jon and Ludacris out for their biggest club hit with Usher “Yeah.”
Usher was once a Super Bowl guest star himself, with Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am in 2011. He told The Associated Press previously that he’d use that performance as a “cheat sheet” for Sunday’s show.
Ahead of the performance, Usher said he aimed to bring the flavor of Atlanta — a city where he made his musical name. His 100-show local residency in Las Vegas last year was a perfect workshop to help make that happen.
“I’ve been able to bring a great deal of Atlanta and the melting pot that it is, musically and culturally, to Las Vegas,” he said. “It wasn’t easy to do but I turned Vegas into Atlanta. I took the V and turned it upside down.”
An eight-time Grammy winner, Usher’s “Confessions” has sold more than 10 million units in the U.S. The album ranks among one of the best-selling music projects of all time and launched No. 1 hits such as “Yeah!” with Ludacris and Lil Jon, “Burn” and “Confessions Part II.” His special edition version included the smooth hit “My Boo,” a duet with Alicia Keys.
Usher joins a list of celebrated entertainers, who have played during the Super Bowl halftime shows, including Prince, Beyoncé, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Last year, Rihanna chose her Super Bowl performance to tell the world she was pregnant with her second child.
Usher performed his halftime show set for free.
That’s right, for free.
That’s because the Super Bowl performers don’t really get paid by the NFL to perform. None of the performers slated to take part in the big game — Usher, Reba McEntire, Post Malone and Andra Day — will take home a salary for the day’s work.
Even without a check from the NFL, performers can still get massive exposure from their halftime show singing, which leads to an uptick in music sales and streaming.
Last year’s show featured Rihanna’s iconic performance while pregnant. She, like decades of halftime artists before her, saw a massive jump in music sales after the performance was watched by an estimated 115 million people — the most-watched television event in U.S. history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.