Maroon 5 are criticized for ‘disappointing’ Super Bowl halftime show featuring a tribute to the late SpongeBob Squarepants creator and balloons spelling ‘One Love’ after Kaepernick controversy
- Maroon 5 performed the halftime show at SuperBowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
- Rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi of OutKast also performed in the high-energy set
- A small tribute was made to the late SpongeBob Squarepants creator Stephen Hillenburg
- This comes after calls for Maroon 5 to step down in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick
- Adam Levine spoke out in an interview with Entertainment Tonight on Thursday to respond to critics
Maroon 5 has taken the stage for the halftime show at Super Bowl LIII, despite calls to stand down in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
Critics dubbed the show ‘disappointing’ despite Adam Levine performing some of the band’s hit songs including Harder to Breathe, This Love and ending the show with a shirtless rendition of Moves Like Jagger followed by fireworks.
Audience members held paper lanterns with uplifting words written on them, including ‘smile’, ’embrace’, ‘enlighten’ which were released, forming a message reading ‘ONE LOVE’ that illuminated the sky as the performance closed.
Immediately following the performance, Levine took to Instagram to post the photo of the message with a lengthy caption: ‘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.’
Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots
Travis Scott (right) performs with Adam Levine and Maroon 5 during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine opened the performance in a long black jacket, singing the band’s hit Harder to Breathe
Adam Levine and Travis Scott salute each other during Sunday night’s performance
Travis Scott joined the band with a quick tribute to the late SpongeBob Squarepants creator Stephen Hillenburg, before dominating the stage with his song Sicko Mode and crowd surfing.
Rapper Big Boi of the hit-hop duo OutKast was the third artist to take the stage, lighting up the stadium with the classic The Way You Move
Meanwhile, the former 49ers quarterback hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2016 following his decision to kneel during the National Anthem in protest against police brutality and racial inequality.
Levine defended the band’s decision to perform at the game and hinted the gig will include a social message in solidarity with Kaepernick.
‘I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy. It is what it is, we expected it,’ Levine said in an interview on Thursday with Entertainment Tonight, three days ahead of the big game in Atlanta.
‘We’d like to move on with it, and like I said earlier, speak through the music,’ Levine said of the band’s plans for Sunday’s championship game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.
Maroon 5 came under scrutiny when a petition signed by more than 113,000 fans demanded that they withdraw from performing at the Super Bowl to support Kaepernick and other players who kneel during the national anthem.
Travis Scott performed his hit Sicko Mode before crowd surfing
Lanterns with messages written on them were sent into the sky, spelling out ‘One Love ‘
The singer delivered a reassuring message to Kaepernick’s supporters, saying: ‘They will be [heard] – that’s all I want to say because I don’t want to spoil anything.’
That message appears to be the moment in the performance when member’s of the audience held lanterns with messages written on them, which were launched into the sky to spell ‘One Love’.
‘To make people understand, we got you,’ he said. ‘We got you.’
Levine said that he had done deep soul searching before accepting the halftime gig, which other artists, including Rihanna and Pink, had reportedly turned down in solidarity with Kaepernick.
Going into halftime, the Patriots took a 3-0 lead thanks to a 41-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski in the second quarter.
Adam Levine is joined by a chorus during Sunday night’s halftime show