Maroon 5’s terrible Super Bowl halftime show was an insult to Americans everywhere


Timothy Tsui, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons

Maroon 5 performed a live show in Hong Kong, China back in 2011. Sol didn’t see that performance, but he’s sure it was better than their performance at Super Bowl LIII.

Sol Doyscher, Opinions Editor

A lot of people considered Coldplay’s performance at the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show to be the worst they had ever seen, and then Maroon 5 came along. Coldplay should thank Maroon 5, because Maroon 5 dethroned them as the worst halftime performance of all time.

The performance actually started out on a good note. The first 30 seconds of instrumental music was alright, and I was sure that I’d actually enjoy this halftime show…and then Adam Levine started singing.

Good lord, did Levine forget that his mic was on? He sang like he was in the shower. He sounded so restrained in the beginning. In terms of technical skill, he was on key and hitting all the right notes, but there was no real push, there was no gravitas. Plus, Levine spent the first couple songs straddling the mic, as if he was too scared to move around the stage. I think he could have benefited from studying Freddie Mercury––who strode around the stage as if he was gliding on air. Adam Levine bumbled around the stage as if on stilts. Poor Levine looked like he just wants to go home, or at least back to the Voice.

USA Today referred to Maroon 5’s halftime show as “flavorless,” but I don’t think flavorless is the right way to describe it. Maroon 5’s set was full of flavors––mostly garbage ones. The Maroon 5 halftime show was the living incarnation of cottage cheese––just the worst taste imaginable and extremely unpleasant.

Well, put on your helmets, sports fans. It’s about to get much, much worse.

Let’s rewind––last year, Stephen Hillenburg, creator of the legendary kids’ show, Spongebob Squarepants, died, a tragedy felt throughout America. A petition then began circulating online for the Super Bowl to play “Sweet Victory”, an iconic song from Spongebob, at the Super Bowl, with the intention of honoring a man who spent his entire life entertaining and bringing enrichment to the lives of children all across America. This petition garnered 1,235,785 supporters, nearly reaching its goal of 1,500,000. The Super Bowl executives noticed this and decided to announce that Maroon 5 would be including Sweet Victory in their set.

It’s one thing to book Maroon 5––a band that nobody likes, as the headliners––but people love Spongebob. This is just an affront to Americans everywhere.”

— Sol Doyscher

Maroon 5 did include “Sweet Victory” in their set––for around 15 seconds until it transitioned into “Sicko Mode”, in the most tone-deaf, inadvertently terrible way possible. This is the part that earned the halftime show the ire of the general public. It’s one thing to book Maroon 5––a band that nobody likes, as the headliners––but people love Spongebob. This is just an affront to Americans everywhere.

Even the performance of “Sicko Mode” wasn’t that good. Look, I like Travis Scott as much as the next guy, but he was just atrocious live. He didn’t sound as polished without autotune, and Travis was really having trouble keeping up with the more complicated parts of Sicko Mode’s melody. Travis sounded out of breath when he walked around the stage. They even played Drake’s verse for half the song, and nobody did anything but shuffle around because it was just a recording of Drake rapping. Also, for some reason, Travis Scott wore a tool belt that was very reminiscent of Bob the Builder, but unlike Bob, who fixes things, Travis was only adding to this colossal mess.

During this catastrophe of a performance, Adam Levine was still on stage, in case you forgot. This time he was trying to awkwardly bust a move to Travis Scott’s rapping, and it was just embarrassing for everyone, and highly uncomfortable. Levine had his electric guitar strapped around his back and was desperately trying to look cool while he flailed around, but instead he looked like a dorky camp counselor trying to impress the kids with his knowledge of Fortnite dances. The problem was only amplified by the appearance of Big Boi (one half of the legendary hip-hop duo, Outkast) later on.

During this catastrophe of a performance, Adam Levine was still on stage, in case you forgot.”

— Sol Doyscher

Big Boi himself is fine, he gives an airtight performance, but the transition was too stark. Adam Levine kept trying to make eye contact with Big Boi and even attempted to fist bump him at one point, which hilariously resulted in Levine embarrassingly fist bumping Big Boi’s arm while Big Boi just ignored him. I’m just annoyed that they couldn’t get André 3000 to complete the Outkast reunion, but I suppose André just had too much dignity to show up for this trainwreck.

Adam Levine then decided that it was time for some showmanship. To him, this meant taking his jacket and shirt off in a way reminiscent of a lizard alien shedding its skin. He had to fiddle around with his microphone for a good 20 seconds while he took off his tops to throw them to the crowd. Levine, please go back to not showing any showmanship. Adam Levine also showed off a variety of his incredibly basic tattoos, one of which was “California,” and no, not a picture of the state, but the word “California” literally written across his torso.

At this point, it should become apparent that a pop-rock band performing alongside two rappers might not gel as well as one would think. There’s just too much there. Later on they even included a gospel choir to sing alongside Maroon 5, and it all feels so disconnected. Why couldn’t they have just had Travis Scott and Big Boi on after Maroon 5 instead of trying to jam them into their set in this terrible attempt to give Adam Levine and the four stooges some street cred? You’d have an easier time convincing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to get married than you would convincing the American public that Maroon 5 is cool.

At least the gospel choir was excellent. Their lead singer was incredible, and completely eclipsed Adam Levine’s weightless, powerless performance.

This leads back to the primary question––the one hanging above my head while I watched the Super Bowl halftime show. That question being, why Maroon 5? No, seriously, why? Childish Gambino, Usher, Migos, Ciara, 21 Savage (kinda), and John Mayer are all from Atlanta, and they all are much better performers than Adam Levine, whose performance displayed all the life and charisma of one of the animatronic animals from the Chuck E. Cheese band.

The only good part of the set was when Maroon 5 played some of their older songs from before they sold their souls to become corporate drones for the music industry. Finally, some music that people could actually dance to. Of course, this didn’t last long, but it brought me a feeling that could almost be described as slight enjoyment, so I’ll count that as a positive.

The only way I could’ve seen Maroon 5’s set going well is if they had Cardi B appear for her verse on “Girls Like You,” that way they could’ve transitioned into a Cardi set for the duration of the halftime show and maybe Levine could have gone to wait in the corner and not disturbed anyone for a while. At least if Cardi B was there, they could’ve easily transitioned into Travis Scott and Big Boi without it feeling so disjointed.

But, because of the Super Bowl’s pact with Satan, that didn’t happen, and instead we got Maroon 5 playing a wedding set on stage. Forget kneeling during the national anthem, this halftime performance was the real act of disrespect towards America.