OK. I'll address the shirtless elephant in the room. Maroon 5's Super Bowl Halftime Show was underwhelming, in my honest opinion. It was... nothing I'd write home about. But, in an effort to avoid dragging Adam Levine for not being Beyoncé, I think I'll just say I wanted a little more wow and fewer body rolls, and leave it at that. As for Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, he seemed to have gotten what he came for out of the experience. Adam Levine's post-Super Bowl Instagram message is actually a thoughtful response to his fans and his critics, so... OK, I guess.
It's no secret many other performers openly turned down offers to perform the Halftime Show (or would refuse to do it just in general) in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and the @TakeAKnee movement protesting police brutality that many believe the NFL is blacklisting him for to this day. In fact, one celeb who turned down the show was Cardi B. Cardi B collaborated with Levine on the 2018 hit song "Girls Like You" and fans were low-key crossing their fingers she might make a surprise appearance and save the performance. However, she made it clear to The Associated Press she is not able to stand behind the NFL if they aren't able to stand behind their players. "You have to sacrifice that," she said. "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."
With Cardi B out of the picture, fans wondered if Rolling Stone icon Mick Jagger might make a cameo during Maroon 5's song "Moves Like Jagger," but that, too, proved to be futile thinking. And so, Levine was alone, left with his CALIFORNIA tattoo, pyrotechnics, and body rolls. Sure, sure, Travis Scott and Big Boi did their thing, but it was mainly Levine's tattoos' show.
The 39-year-old singer jumped on Instagram after the Super Bowl ended to jot down his thoughts on the experience and speak about some of the things that motivated him. He gave his haters a pretty mature shoutout, too.
When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the SBHTS, I took out my pen and just wrote. Some of the words that came to me in that moment eventually made their way onto the incredible lanterns that flew high and low tonight. We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage. We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better. One Love. ❤️
The words Levine says he wrote down are: forgive, laugh, cry, smile, share, live, endure, embrace, remember, enlighten, preserve, inspire, sweat, fight, express, give, receive, elevate, climb, unify, fortify, soften, dance, scream, dream, educate, provide, inhale, exhale, persevere, stand, kneel, overcome, love,
Objectively, some of those words are contradictory and it's hard to follow whatever his through-line is, but obviously, it was meaningful enough to him to ask a PA to write all over hundreds of lanterns.
Here's an abbreviated look at the performance that covers all the, uh, highlights. So, enjoy?