How Usher’s Super Bowl halftime show was inspired by Michael Jackson

Having already performed on the Super Bowl stage as a special guest of the Black Eyed Peas in 2011, Usher is no stranger to the halftime show. 

But it is another former headliner whom the 45-year-old Grammy Award-winning singer has taken particular inspiration from going into Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

That would be his longtime hero, Michael Jackson, who forever changed the halftime show — turning it into the biggest gig in music — when he put the “superstar” in the Super Bowl.

“He absolutely revolutionized the experience like no other,” Usher told The Post.

“He changed how people perceived the halftime show [because before Jackson] it was just kind of hiring, you know, local performers or whatever it might be … I really did respect that.”

Usher joined Michael for a performance of “You Rock My World” during the 30th Anniversary Show at Madison Square Garden on September 10, 2001. WireImage
Michael Jackson performs during the halftime show at the NFL’s Super Bowl XXVII in Pasadena, California. REUTERS

And Usher plans to honor Jackson’s historic moment when he follows in his legendary footsteps midway through Sunday’s showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

“It became a great inspiration behind some of the things that I chose to do with this show,” he said.

Of course, Usher — who made his self-titled debut 30 years ago as a 15-year-old — has three decades of his own experience to draw from as well.

Usher performs with of The Black Eyed Peas during the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. WireImage
Usher performs by the casket of Michael Jackson during the memorial services for the King of Pop at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009. AFP via Getty Images

But the man behind such chart-topping hits as “Nice & Slow,” “U Remind Me,” “Yeah!” and “Love in This Club” says that it won’t be all about him when he headlines the biggest stage of all.

“This has been a moment that is a celebration — not just for myself but for 30 years of people who have supported me, supported my journey, supported my choice of conversation,” said Usher. “I’m celebrating that, you know?”

And he wants you to be celebrating at home too. 

ON ASSIGNMENT FOR NEW YORK POST – Usher poses for a portrait at Cashman Complex on February 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. – after his rehearsals for 2024 Super Bowl LVIII.
Roger Kisby for NY Post

“I want people at home singing,” said Usher. “I want people at home celebrating. The same people who came to the [Las Vegas] residency — I want them to sing as loud as they did in their homes.”

For Usher — who dropped a new album, “Coming Home,” on Friday — his Super Bowl halftime show is a fitting “crescendo” after the last two years in Las Vegas.

“I’m really happy, man,” he said. “It feels like I worked for it. And I’m really excited.”

Latest news
Related news