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2019 Pepsi Halftime: Not a “Sweet Victory” for Maroon 5

By Grace Billok

Last night the New England Patriots pummeled the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in a historically low scoring Super Bowl. However, the halftime show may have been sadder than the main game itself. Headlined by Maroon 5 featuring Travis Scott and OutKast’s Big Boi, the Pepsi Halftime Show failed to save itself from last year’s utterly unwatchable Justin Timberlake act.

Maroon 5, with frontman Adam Levine, opened the show with “Harder to Breathe,” a track from the band’s 2002 album Songs About Jane. It became clear that even the band dislikes their current music style, with over half of their setlist comprised of material from Songs About Jane during their thirteen minute low-energy performance. Levine was unable to keep on pitch during his older numbers, leaving “Girls Like You,”—which features Cardi B, one of the performers to decline performing in support of Colin Kaepernick—as the only song Levine could actually sing well.

Levine closed the show shirtless, after discarding his tank top while singing “Moves Like Jagger.” This bold move sparked conversation of double standards, specifically Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show wardrobe malfunction, where Justin Timberlake accidentally exposed Jackson’s nipple for half a second, leading to Jackson’s now-tarnished reputation. Levine’s chest was fully exposed for minutes on air, with no repercussions.

The biggest blunder of the night turned out to be an attempt to honor the late creator of SpongeBob Squarepants, Stephen Hillenburg. The 2001 episode “Band Geeks” features SpongeBob and Co. singing “Sweet Victory” at the Bubble Bowl, an ocean take on the Super Bowl. After Hillenburg’s death, petitions cycled to play “Sweet Victory” during halftime to honor the childhood hero, which Maroon 5 hinted would happen in a January 13th tweet. The much anticipated “tribute” turned out to be a brief clip of Squidward introducing rapper Travis Scott, AKA Kylie Jenner’s baby daddy, who proceeded to rap off beat and was frequently censored.

Twitter exploded with disappointment after the show, horrified that the nostalgia they craved was wasted on a build-up to “Sicko Mode,” a song hyped up for all the wrong reasons.

Overall, the show was lackluster and could not be saved by fire effects and a flat gesture of acceptance and equality set to “She Will Be Loved.” Pepsi, you can do better.

Honorable mentions: the killer drum line of “Girls Like You” and Big Boi’s large coat (someone knows how to dress for a polar vortex!)


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