The Super Bowl 53 halftime show had no surprise big-name cameos but one thing that really caught our attention was when SpongeBob Squarepants made an appearance. The halftime show was headlined by Maroon 5. The band led by Adam Levine was also joined on stage by Big Boi and Travis Scott. Maroon 5 performed a number of great hits such as “Harder to Breathe”, “She Will Be Loved”, and “Song About Jane.”
The reaction after the show was somewhat mixed. There were some fans on Twitter who criticized Levine about taking off his shirt during the performance. They noted that Janet Jackson suffered huge consequences after she showed far less skin during her performance in Super Bowl 38. But the introduction of SpongeBob was a big highlight, especially when the show’s character Squidward introduced Travis Scott’s song “Sicko Mode.”
Some fans of the cartoon though weren’t impressed. They claimed that the show would have been much more exciting if it featured the song “Sweet Victory”, an iconic song that was made popular in a 2001 SpongeBob episode where all the characters in the show performed during a fictionalized Super Bowl halftime show. There was also some disappointment because Andre 3000 didn’t join Big Boi on stage to perform their hit song “The Way You Move.”
Nonetheless, people on Twitter including LeBron James felt that the performing sets were too short. Others were completely disappointed with the entire show. In fact, there was a feeling that it was a little bit lackluster compared to previous years. Maroon 5 agreed to headline the show even though they knew how the NFL had treated Colin Kaepernick and other players who took a knee before the match to protest racial injustice in the country. Kaepernick who formerly played as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016 when he began kneeling during the anthem.
As a result, the halftime show was boycotted by a number of major artists such as Nick Cannon, Common, and others. However, Levine made it clear that he was aware of the controversy surrounding the NFL over the last year. He told Entertainment Tonight that he was expecting backlash after agreeing to headline the show and as it turns out he was right. There were many who thought that the band would join other major artists in solidarity with Kaepernick. Artists like Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé were reportedly contacted to headline the halftime show but they chose to decline the offers.
Rapper Cardi B was also scheduled to perform but she too said that she was boycotting the show. Cardi B whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar said that she felt obligated to stand with Kaepernick because he had stood up for minorities in his protest. However, Cardi B appeared in a Super Bowl commercial alongside Steve Carell and rapper Lil Jon. This year’s Super Bowl match was also the lowest scoring game in history as the Patriots won it 13 - 3 against the Rams.