The eight-time Grammy Award-winning artist is headlining the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show at Allegiant Stadium this year. Usher called it “an honor of a lifetime to finally check a Super Bowl performance off my bucket list” when the NFL announced he had landed the gig in September.
While it’s his first time headlining, it isn’t his first Super Bowl halftime show. He made an appearance during Super Bowl XLV in 2011 when The Black Eyed Peas were the headliners, performing his song, “OMG” with will.i.am.
The details of Usher’s performance have, so far, been largely under wraps, but here’s what we know so far.
When does the halftime show start?
Yes, we know Usher is performing at halftime, but we don’t totally know when halftime will be for this Super Bowl. We can use some math to estimate when he’ll take the stage, though.
The NFL plays four 15-minute quarters – two before halftime and two after. At the end of the first and third quarters, there are two-minute breaks as each team changes ends of the field. But this doesn’t include the play clock stopping, teams taking timeouts or commercial breaks. With all of this, the average NFL game takes about three hours and 12 minutes.
Super Bowl LVIII kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET and is scheduled to last until about 10 p.m. ET, according to local TV listings. Subtracting the time allotted for the halftime show and commercial breaks, that leaves slightly more than three hours for the game.
By dividing that in two, the first half of the game should take about an hour and a half. So, if you’re planning to tune in just for the halftime show, you might expect it to begin between 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET.
What songs will Usher perform?
We don’t know Usher’s official set list, but there are some songs that seem more likely to make an appearance than others, at least according to betting odds.
As of Monday, gambling sites give “OMG,” “Love In This Club,” and “Yeah!” relatively equal odds of being the first song Usher performs. Other songs we could hear, at least based on the betting odds, include “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love,” “You Make Me Wanna…,” and “Good Good” (more on this one in a moment).
Super Bowl halftime shows are usually around 15 minutes long. Rihanna performed 12 songs last year. The year before, there were nine songs on the setlist for Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg. There’s a good chance Usher will have a medley of songs rather than playing the full singles, but only time will tell.
Will Usher have any surprise guests?
Remember when we said the details of the halftime show have been largely withheld? That includes whether or not Usher will be flying solo.
Two of the last three Super Bowl halftime performers, Rihanna and The Weeknd, did, but it’s not uncommon for there to be surprise guests. Usher has plenty to choose from, too: he’s had hit songs with the likes of Lil Jon, Ludacris, Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, and the aforementioned will.i.am.
Usher does have a new album, released on Friday, that features multiple singles with other artists. Among them are “Good Good,” with Summer Walker and 21 Savage; “Risk It All” with H.E.R.; and a remix of “Standing Next to You” by Jung Kook.
As of Monday, betting sites say Alicia Keys and Post Malone (who is performing “America the Beautiful” before the game) are most likely to perform with Usher, with Ludacris, Lil Jon and Justin Bieber not far off. Madonna, Miley Cyrus, and Beyoncé have the lowest odds across multiple betting sites — of those artists, only Beyoncé has songs with Usher.
Usher previously told “Good Morning America” he wants to pay homage to Black artists who came before him with his performance, but he didn’t go into much more detail.
Taylor Swift won’t be joining Usher
It’s been a major topic of discussion since the Kansas City Chiefs punched their ticket to the Super Bowl: will Taylor Swift be able to make it from a tour stop in Tokyo to Las Vegas in time to see her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, play?
The math (and the Easter eggs) seem to indicate Swift should make it to Allegiant Stadium in time for Sunday’s kickoff, which begs a second question: will she perform with Usher during the halftime show?
We can also say for sure that Super Bowl LVIII will kick off at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Alix Martichoux contributed to this report.