Usher had his sights on performing at the Super Bowl Halftime Show ever since he heard it would be in Las Vegas, going so far as to extend his residency so that JAY-Z would be left with no choice but to pick him.
In an interview with Gayle King for CBS Mornings that aired on Friday (February 9), Ursh explained how he secured what turned out to be an explosive performance. Hov has been in charge of the mid-game concert as part of the NFL’s deal with Roc Nation, and the Confessions singer knew just what he had to do to convince him he was the perfect fit.
“When I heard that they were entertaining the Super Bowl coming to Vegas, I was like, ‘I’m not leaving,'” he said. “I’m staying here and I’m giving [JAY-Z] no choice. Like you know what, I’m going to stay here until you see I am the only option for Las Vegas.
“There’s nobody else who could play – hello? I’m here. Yes, [I extended my residency.] But by the way, I knew. I was like, ‘You know what? If I just stay here, it’s gonna happen.’ I believed it.”
Usher performed a medley comprising some of his biggest hits, including “My Boo,” “Caught Up,” “Burn” and “OMG” among many others from across his 30-year career. The performance crammed in 13 tracks in total and featured special guests such as Ludacris, Alicia Keys and Lil Jon.
With the likes of JAY-Z, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift in attendance, it featured a lot of complex dance choreography and, at one point, a roller-skating sequence. Additionally, the 45-year-old also paid tribute to Atlanta’s strip club culture as Ludacris performed his verse from “Yeah!” surrounded by pole dancers.
The set concluded with Usher saying, “I took the world to the A,” after which he told the crowd in Las Vegas that he loved them.
The Super Bowl itself finished with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers with a score of 25-22 and quarterback Patrick Mahomes being named MVP.
The halftime show marked Usher’s return to Vegas after a widely successful residency in the gambling capital over the past few years.
It also capped off a busy week for the singer, who released his ninth album Coming Home prior to the explosive concert.
His first album in eight years, the 20-track project features the previously-released singles “Good Good” with 21 Savage and Summer Walker, “Ruin” with Pheelz, “Risk It All” with H.E.R. and the “Usher Remix” of Jung Kook’s “Standing Next to You.”