Performing at the Super Bowl halftime show is a dream for many stars, but some have said no to the opportunity.
Tonight, R&B superstar Usher will be the main act in Las Vegas and he’s promised a fantastic show. He recently told Apple Music: “This is the most grand stage to ever play on. Those 13 minutes [on stage] mean everything. It’s been on my bucket list for a long time.”
Usher also shared his admiration for the Super Bowl stage, saying: “I’ve been asked what are the things that matter the most and it’s obviously performing but being able to perform on that stage because all of these amazing performers throughout the years have graced it and did an amazing job, so that’s where the obsession with that starts,”
However, artists like Jay-Z and Adele have turned down the Super Bowl gig. Here’s why…
n 2019, Rihanna turned down the Super Bowl halftime show due to political reasons. She told Vogue that her refusal was to support ex-NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick, who protested against police brutality in 2016 by kneeling during the national anthem.
As the protest led by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick gained momentum, it faced criticism from some, including then-President Donald Trump, who suggested NFL owners should “fire” players who protested during the national anthem. Kaepernick has not been signed since that season.
Rihanna voiced her disapproval, stating: “I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.” Despite this, Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi performed, which sparked further controversy due to the “NFL’s refusal to acknowledge” the issue.
Years later, Rihanna was invited again to perform at the halftime show. She initially said no but then agreed and performed last year while six months pregnant.
At Apple Music’s Super Bowl press conference, she explained: “To go on the biggest stage in seven years, there’s something thrilling about the challenge of it all. It’s important for the representation and it’s important for my son to see that. That’s a big part of why I want to do this show, representing for my country, representing for immigrants, representing for black people. That’s a big part of why I wanted to do it.”
Last year, whispers were flying that Taylor Swift was the first choice to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. However, the 34 year old superstar reportedly turned down the opportunity as she wanted to concentrate on re-recording her first six albums.
Even though she’s expected to be at the big game this year to cheer on her boyfriend Travis Kelce, she won’t be part of the show. Instead, she flew in from Japan, where she’s performing her Eras Tour, to watch her boyfriend play.
Jay-Z produced the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show starring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira but didn’t perform himself. In a chat with the New York Times, he shared that he turned down the chance to perform because the NFL wanted to control who he could bring out for the performance.
He revealed that he was asked to perform his 2009 hit Run This Town with Kanye West and Rihanna, but he said no because he wasn’t happy about being told who to perform with. He told the outlet: “I
P!nk expressed her concerns about performing, saying: “Everybody that does it gets so persecuted.” She also showed support for Kaepernick, mentioning: “I’d probably take a knee and get carried out.” P!nk then proposed: “They should only give it, because of the controversy, to African-American or Latina women for a while.”
Cardi B stood by Kaepernick, stating: “I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there’s a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him.” She also discussed Offset’s dilemma, saying: “He really wants to go to the Super Bowl, but he can’t go to the Super Bowl, because he’s got to stand for something.”
Adele told her audience at a concert that she wouldn’t do the Super Bowl halftime show, explaining: “First of all, I’m not doing the Super Bowl. I mean, come on, that show is not about music.” She added: “And I don’t really – I can’t dance or anything like that. They were very kind, they did ask me, but I said no.” The NFL and Pepsi later clarified that they never made a formal offer to Adele or anyone else.