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ICE Media

ICE Media

ICE Media

Too Many Cameos!

Millions of Americans tune in to the Super Bowl every year and with good reason.

There is the game itself for sports fans, commercials for those into pop culture, and of course the halftime show, which is arguably the most exciting part of this annual event.

Notable musicians are strategically picked to perform for entertainment-hungry Americans who have already been sitting in front of their televisions for two quarters. These performances are endlessly prepared for, with artists taking this golden opportunity to shine the brightest they ever have on this world stage.

On Feb. 11 it was R&B star Usher’s turn. Despite one of his hit songs being titled OMG, Usher did not wow viewers during his 2024 Super Bowl halftime show.

Usher’s set would’ve been great for the likes of the Billboard Music Awards, but it severely lacked the level of staging that is expected of a halftime performance.

His one outfit change and the barrage of roller-skating dancers that briefly accompanied him were not enough to elevate his spiritless attempt at a show. There was a distinct absence of star power in every part of this production, which is a surprise considering the league of musicians he brought on stage.

These cameos reveal themselves to be a crutch once the content of each individual’s performance is examined.

The aforementioned surprise guests were the musicians Alicia Keys, Will.I.Am, H.E.R., Lil Jon, Ludacris, and Jermaine Dupris. These artists have respectively successful careers in music but somehow their combined efforts resulted in a disjointed and lackluster display of talents.

This reliance on the mere visage of celebrities seemed to be a running theme within the content surrounding Super Bowl LVIII. Interspersed within commercial breaks were countless appearances from individuals who are quite familiar with gracing the nation’s TV screens.

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To name a few: Dunkin’ gathered its advertising regular actor, writer, director Ben Affleck, along with pop star Jennifer Lopez, actor Matt Damon and retired NFL great Tom Brady for a commercial that contained no apparent product. Turbo Tax tapped into the Abbott Elementary hype with an ad starring writer, director and star Quinta Brunson, NYX Cosmetics had rapper Cardi B, Verizon had superstar Beyonce, and many other brands showcased celebrities of their own choosing.

The issue with this phenomenon is that once the surface-level surprise of seeing someone famous wears off, it becomes apparent how uninteresting the actual content is. It is no secret that we live in a time of celebrity worship where the names of the famed bring clicks more than anything else; but is it without sacrifice?

The practice of relying on star power in place of genuine creativity has begun to leak into other areas of entertainment past the already soulless landscape of advertising.

In Usher’s case, it would not have been difficult to organize this ensemble of celebrities into one performance while maintaining the artistic integrity of its presentation. All he had to do was look at performances from the not-too-distant past Super Bowls to see how it’s done.

For instance, the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show is often regarded as one of the best due to the jaw-dropping collaboration between band Coldplay, singer Bruno Mars, and Beyonce.

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Looking back at this iconic performance makes it clear what Usher and his cohorts were missing: passion. Regardless of the huge names attached to the 2016 halftime show, each person expertly executed their part which made the overall production an entertainment masterpiece.

Unfortunately for Usher, there were too many cooks in the kitchen with nothing too stellar being made.