The Super Bowl halftime show is an opportunity for football fans to reflect on the first half of the game, and for not-so-diehard fans to watch a supercut of the top six or seven songs of whichever band is playing. Past halftime shows have had their ups and downs, but this year’s show featuring Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi felt particularly ingenuine.
Between a 13-second clip of Squidward introducing Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” instead of the much requested “Sweet Victory,” Adam Levine feeling the need to take off his shirt and a generic “one love” displayed in the sky by lantern-bearing drones, the show garnered more than a few criticisms.
Before Maroon 5 took the stage, controversy already plagued them. The band was fourth in line to play the 2019 halftime show after pop stars P!nk, Rihanna and Maroon 5 collaborator Cardi B turned the offer down. P!nk refused the offer after negotiations went on for too long, according to a Oct. 18, 2018, Entertainment Tonight article.
Rihanna and Cardi B turned the offer down in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and to protest the NFL’s policy against kneeling on the field during the U.S. national anthem, according to a Oct. 22, 2018 Billboard article. When Maroon 5 accepted the offer, Twitter users criticized the band for being insensitive.
Once Maroon 5 took the stage, everything went downhill from there. The set started with abridged versions of “Harder to Breathe” and “This Love,” which went as well as expected. Viewers were then surprised to see a clip from the iconic “SpongeBob SquarePants” episode, “Band Geeks.” Fans of the show petitioned online to have the song “Sweet Victory” from the episode included in the Super Bowl halftime show setlist after SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg passed away Nov. 26, 2018.
Instead of playing the entire song like fans requested, only the introduction of trumpets played, leading into Travis Scott performing “Sicko Mode.” Fans had mixed reactions to the inclusion of SpongeBob in the halftime show, but the consensus was mostly negative due to the whole song not playing. On top of being disappointed by the lack of “Sweet Victory,” Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine slowly stripped down to his bare chest throughout the 14-minute show. His failing attempts to be sexy looked gaudy more than anything.
The 2019 Super Bowl halftime show proved to be disappointing in that it continues to try to be an amalgamation of everything popular in today’s culture. Perhaps next year will redeem this year’s abysmal performance.