In October, the NFL announced that Maroon 5 would be headlining the Super Bowl 53 Halftime Show. Cue absolute outrage in Atlanta.
According to, well, almost everybody, the Super Bowl would’ve been the perfect opportunity to showcase the city’s local musical talent and huge hip-hop scene. Instead, the NFL chose a band with zero connections to the city that [it thought] would appeal to the masses. Maroon 5 is pop and commercial, like most of their past choices, but, uh, they’re a little bit boring. Even those who weren’t angry at the choice were underwhelmed by the news.
As the birthplace of “Welcome to Atlanta” and home to hip-hop and southern hospitality, you would’ve thought it’d be obvious what the people of ATL wanted…
Other potential headliners?
Local music artists that fans would’ve preferred? Ludacris, OutKast, TI, Migos, or Usher, just to name a few. Needless to say, social media was on fire following the announcement. And now, to top it all off, there’s a petition demanding that Maroon 5 drop out of the halftime show. It’s already gotten 35,000 signatures. (It’s not as bad as it sounds though. The petition actually states, “Until the league changes their policy and support players’ constitutional right to protest, no artists should agree to work with the NFL.” Which sounds like it has nothing to do with the band’s poppy blandness or lack of ATL roots.)
Hey, it’s not like Maroon 5 was the NFL’s first choice (though that wouldn’t have been surprising). Rumor has it that Rihanna turned down the opportunity when they reached out to her in October because she disagreed with the NFL’s handling of the Colin Kaepernick situation. Singer P!nk also declined following lengthy negotiations, even though she sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl last year. In past years, Jay-Z and Adele have also said no to performing at the big game.
Will Cardi B show up?
But what about the potential for other artists joining Maroon 5 onstage during halftime? Could Atlanta get its hip-hop fix that way? Maroon 5 recently released their smash hit “Girls Like You” featuring Cardi B, so can’t we at least expect an appearance from everybody’s favorite new rapper?
It’s unclear. Things seemed doubtful after Cardi B told TMZ she wouldn’t perform at the Super Bowl until the NFL rehired Kaepernick. But that was in February. Now, word on the street is that she’s in talks with Maroon 5 and the NFL about a possible halftime appearance. Guess when your song hits #1 on the Billboard charts for the seventh week in a row, things can change a little bit. (FYI, that’s the longest appearance at #1 by a band… since the last time Maroon 5 did it in 2012. No joke.)
Nothing has been confirmed or announced for sure yet, but reportedly, Cardi B is discussing the possibility of performing “Girls Like You” and having a solo moment of her own during the 13-minute halftime show. No, she’s not from Atlanta (she’s from the Bronx), but she is married to Offset who is part of the Atlanta-based trio Migos. Better than nothing, right?
Sources say that Cardi B is so in demand right now, if she’s gonna do the show, she needs to make it worth it.
What can we expect from Maroon 5?
Other than that, we’ve got no promises except that Adam Levine, that skinny, crooning, reality TV show host of “The Voice” and the band with whom he’s created six platinum-selling albums will definitely be there. During an interview with Howard Stern, unlike many other music artists, Levine said, “We very actively want to play the Super Bowl.” So maybe people should calm down on the idea that they’ll drop out any time soon.
We don’t know any details about the actual show yet. For comparison, the most-watched halftime performance ever was in 2017 when a colorful Katy Perry and her dancing sharks (including the infamous “left shark”) took the stage. The show is all about flashiness, dancing (one of the reasons Adele turned it down – she doesn’t dance), and songs that people know. That means hits from the radio. Stuff they can sing along to. A face that even your parents recognize. Maroon 5 has all that and they can deliver on it. They were an obvious choice.
… But we still think a mash-up of all of Atlanta’s best hip-hop artists with some throwback Ludacris jams would’ve been amazing.