The R&B star had promised surprise guests and a show that celebrated both his past and present, but fans were left confused when his former mentee and collaborator Justin Bieber wasn’t on stage during the headline performance at the Allegiant Stadium.
Bieber was instead in the crowd at Super Bowl LVIII, enjoying the event with his wife, Hailey.
This choice to remain in the stands during the performance has puzzled fans, given that Bieber arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday (10 Feb), suggesting he would be appearing in the halftime spectacle.
Usher, who is known for hits including “Yeah!”, “OMG” and “You Make Me Wanna...”, told fans what to expect during a press conference hosted by Apple Music in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and teased surprise guests.
The “Baby” singer did not indicate on his social media why he decided not to perform, and was spotted dancing to the R&B star’s performance in a video posted by the official NFL X account.
— NFL (@NFL) February 12, 2024
Despite Biebers absence, Usher’s star-studded half time show wooed fans with appearances from the likes of Alicia Keys, performing “If I Ain’t Got You” and duetting on their 2004 single “My Boo”.
Usher was then joined by artist HER, who played guitar on “U Got It Bad”.
In his press conference on Tuesday (6 February), Usher commented: “I would be a fool to not play ‘Yeah!’ Let’s just start there. It would be foolish to make it all the way to Las Vegas – Jon is here, Luda’s here – and not play ‘Yeah!’”
There were also rumours that Taylor Swift could join Usher, as she flew back from tour in Japan to watch her partner Travis Kelce compete in the game. In 2011, Swift invited Usher onstage during her Speak Now world tour for a duet performance of “Yeah!”.
The Super Bowl is the final game of the American football season. Reigning champions the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers, with a touchdown in overtime.
The Independent has reached out to Bieber’s representatives for comment.