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2-time Strip headliner selected for Las Vegas Super Bowl halftime show

Updated September 25, 2023 - 9:23 am

A two-time Strip residency headliner is performing at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

The NFL announced early Sunday morning Usher will be the headlining performer at the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium.

This is a perfect timing route. The Atlanta superstar is also releasing “Coming Home,” his ninth album, alongside the Super Bowl performance. It is his first new album since “Hard II Love” in 2016, which climbed to No. 5 on the Billboard album charts.

The 44-year-old R&B superstar has previously headlined at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and Dolby Live at Park MGM, selling out both series.

Usher addressed the Super-sized opportunity and possibility in April. He referred to his previous performance backing headliners Black Eyed Peas at Super Bowl XLV in 2011, when the Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 at AT&T Stadium.

“I’d be a fool to say no,” Usher told Aces Hollywood’s Scott Evans in an interview posted April 21. “If things line up the way we would all hope, one day that moment would happen. I’ve had the opportunity to grace the stage in support of ‘OMG’ and Will.i.am, but that was one moment.”

He was confident then, and surely now, he has the star power to play to a worldwide viewing audience.

“I think I have a catalog that obviously speaks for itself, so to be able to celebrate on that day, it’s obviously about football, but everybody really anticipates the performance,” Usher said. “Seeing Michael Jackson perform and recently seeing Snoop (Dogg) and (Dr.) Dre. … Seeing so many incredible performances like Prince … It has always been kind of a bucket list.”

The “U Don’t Have to Call” singer and superior roller-skate artist starred in the 20-show “My Way” at the Colosseum from July 16, 2021, through Jan. 1, 2022. He has since moved the show to Dolby Live, returning for his next set of performances Oct. 11 and booked through his announced closing Dec. 2.

“Fans in Allegiant Stadium and those watching around the world are in for a party at halftime,” MGM Resorts International’s Chris Baldizan said a statement Sunday. “We are excited for Usher and can’t wait to see the show.”

Baldizan negotiated the Usher shows at the Park MGM venue with concert promoter Live Nation.

Caesars Entertainment President of Entertainment Jason Gastwirth praised the decision to bring Usher to the international stage.

“Usher is a tremendous talent,” Gastwirth said in a statement Sunday. “We enjoyed great success together at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and we are happy for him to be receiving this honor at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas this coming year.”

The lavishly produced production has covered Usher’s 20-plus year career, including such classics as “Yeah!,” “U Remind Me,” “My Boo,” “Love In This Club,” “OMG” and “You Make Me Wanna…”

The recording industry giant also laced up the skates for the cover of City Girls’ “Good Love” and performed in a set designed as the Magic City strip club from his days in Atlanta. So a skate scene is in play for the next Super Bowl.

Usher was enlisted amid speculation of such artists as NSYNC, Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus and the Backstreet Boys. Vegas band The Killers were also eager to be in consideration.

Taylor Swift reportedly turned down the idea to perform at the Vegas Super Bowl, waiting for a chance to star if and when the game is played in Nashville.

The show is a partnership of the NFL, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Apple Music.

“Usher is an icon whose music has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape throughout his career; we couldn’t be more excited to have him headline this year’s Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show,” said Seth Dudowsky, NFL Head of Music. “We look forward to working with Usher, Roc Nation and Apple Music to bring fans another halftime show for the history books.”

The Super Bowl halftime show’s reach is undeniable. Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII performance was officially the most-watched halftime ever, according to an adjusted Nielsen report in May. As reported by Billboard, Rihanna’s first performance in more than five years drew 121.017 million viewers during the Feb. 12-dated broadcast.

The original ratings put Rihanna’s halftime show at 118.7 million viewers. Her set list featured such hits as “Only Girl (in the World),” “We Found Love,” “S&M,” “Rude Boy,” and “Work.” During the appearance, the superstar revealed she was pregnant.

After the adjusted increase, Rihanna’s show surpassed Katy Perry’s 2015 performance (co-starring the infamous “Left Shark,” which previously held the record with 121 million viewers.

Usher joins a growing list of past or present Strip residency or extended-engagement stars to play the Super Bowl.

Perry, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Jennifer Lopez, Maroon 5, Prince (if you remember his 2006-2007 run at the Rio), Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, ZZ Top, The Who (a six-show series at the Colosseum in ’17), Boyz II Men and Aerosmith with Britney Spears have all performed over multiple dates in Las Vegas. U2 is referring to its series at The Sphere as a “residency launch,” but that band is on the list, too.

Review-Journal reporter Taylor Lane contributed to this report.

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This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the venue where U2 will perform in Las Vegas.

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