On Jan. 13, 2019, the NFL announced that Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi would perform at the Super Bowl halftime show. I was excited, but not because of Maroon 5. Rather, I was looking forward to seeing Travis Scott, one of my favorite artists.
Also, I thought it was cool that Big Boi, half of the legendary Outkast duo, would get to perform in his home-city of Atlanta. I did not dislike the Maroon 5 choice, I was just indifferent. They are the definition of an average pop group. They have some decent radio hits in their catalog, such as “Moves Like Jagger”, but, that is all they are good for: a decent radio hit. While Adam Levine has a decent voice, it gets boring to hear him sing about love and women after awhile. Nevertheless, I was still looking forward to the performance.
My expectations were moderate. I was not sure how the acts would all mesh together, considering their difference in styles. How would Levine’s singing sound with Travis’s auto-tuned rapping and crooning? With Big Boi approaching the tail end of his career, would his performance sound dated in comparison to them? After all, he had not made any impactful music since the 2000s. I had questions, but I was not worried.
Miraculously, Coldplay, a band I hate, managed not to ruin excellent performances by Beyonce and Bruno Mars back in 2016. I had faith that this show could follow the same format: Maroon 5 putting on a decent performance, while Travis and Big Boi killed it.
I found myself extremely disappointed. Much like the game itself, this performance was thoroughly underwhelming. Unlike the 2016 show, it was imbalanced. Travis and Big Boi barely had any stage time. Instead, we were subjected to watching a shirtless Adam Levine awkwardly dancing while he sang. Even though he only took his shirt off at the end, it was enough to scar me for the foreseeable future.
I saw a meme that compared his tattoos to a Chipotle bag, and now I will never be able to unsee it. Speaking of Chipotle, I would have rather driven there for dinner during the show, instead of actually watching it. It would have been a happier way to wait for the third quarter.
All jokes aside, Levine’s performance was forgettable. He sang with little passion, and I just could not get over how awkward his dancing was. The way he goofily jumped around with his guitar next to Travis comes to mind. Also, the way he crouched and moved his arms next to Big Boi cracked me up. He looked like a middle-aged dad trying to do hip dance moves in front of his kids. The thing was, he looked completely un-hip.
Whoever let those moves fly during rehearsal needs to be questioned. How could they allow that after Beyonce and Bruno practically put on a dancing clinic just a couple of years ago? Those were the days.
Here is what made me sad: Levine was not even the most disappointing part. It was Travis. I did not expect much out of Levine and Maroon 5. However, I thought Travis would impress me. When I saw him live last year, I was amazed. Instead of living up to that standard he set for me with that concert, he only performed one song. Of course, it was his biggest hit, “Sicko Mode.” Not predictable at all, right? Also, why did not he have an auto-tuned microphone? His entire sound is based on auto-tune. His masterful use of it is what makes him a unique artist. Without it, he did not sound like himself. My heart slowly broke as I watched him running around, sounding out of breath while he rapped his verse.
The best part was the Spongebob “Sweet Victory” introduction, which served as an unexpected, yet creative transition. Unfortunately though, not even Spongebob was enough to make me enjoy the show.
As for Big Boi, he made the best of a bad situation. He was unfairly tasked with improving a bad show. He had a cool introduction, pulling up to the stage in a car with “Kryptonite (I’m On It)” playing. This was the only time during the show where I was bobbing my head. Then, he and the backup singers performed “The Way You Move” which was a brief breath of fresh air after ten straight minutes of mediocrity. It was not exceptional, but his laid-back demeanor was the only time it looked like anyone was comfortable up there.
Before you knew it, though, we were right back to watching Levine the Chipotle bag. Although Big Boi held his own, he did not have enough time on stage to make up for how disappointing the other two acts were.
All in all, I will not be remembering this halftime show when I am older. I have watched all of the shows this decade, and this one is my second-least favorite, slightly besting Katy Perry’s 2015 effort. I learned that Maroon 5 is only tolerable in short spurts, and Travis Scott does not perform well without auto-tune.
I wonder why it did not occur to the NFL that he would sound better with an auto-tune microphone, but that is none of my business. When a Spongebob clip is the best part of a concert, you know there is a problem. All we can do is hope the NFL presents us with a better concert next year.
Live Review By: Joshua Valdez