Fans Are Furious With Usher’s Decision to Bring Alica Keys into His Super Bowl Half Time Performance

Usher's Super Bowl guest Alicia Keys outrages fans wanting solo throwback set

Fans Are Furious With Usher's Decision to Bring Alica Keys into His Super Bowl Half Time Performance


  • Fans are unhappy with Usher's choice to include Alicia Keys in his Super Bowl show.
  • Many guests felt that her appearance disrupted flow and took focus off Usher.
  • Solo set could have avoided backlash from fans wanting Usher's hits
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Usher took the stage Sunday night for the Super Bowl LVIII halftime show, delivering a high-energy set packed with his greatest hits. While fans were thrilled to see the R&B icon’s electrifying dance moves and powerful vocals, many took issue with his choice to bring out special guest Alicia Keys for a duet.


The surprise appearance from Keys, while likely intended to delight fans, was seen by many viewers as an unnecessary addition to Usher’s already incredible solo show. On social media, fans have voiced their criticism, questioning the move to include Keys alongside solo staples like Ludacris.

Why Choose Alicia Keys Over Other Guests or a Pure Solo Set?

Alicia Keys - The Tonight Show
Alicia Keys – The Tonight Show

Many fans felt that Alicia Keys wasn’t the ideal collaborator for Usher’s Super Bowl debut as a headliner. While some pushed for guests like Lil Jon or Justin Bieber instead, others thought Usher’s set didn’t need any supporting artists other than his own extensive catalog of massive hits.


One guest performer notably absent was Justin Bieber, who many fans speculated ahead of time could make an appearance for a duet of their hit, somebody to Love. Bieber was in attendance showing support for his friend Usher, prompting rumors leading up to the big show that he would walk onstage for a surprise song together. But despite fan hopes and theories that Bieber would emerge, he did not end up joining the performance, leaving some devotees of their collaboration disappointed. Here is how fans reacted: 



With chart-toppers like Yeah!, DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love, and Love in This Club, Usher certainly had no shortage of smashes to choose from for his 12-minute slot. For fans, an Alicia Keys appearance took valuable time away from the potential song selections off Usher’s eight studio albums.


Did Alicia Keys’ Appearance Take the Focus Off Usher?

Usher - Somebody to Love
Usher – Somebody to Love

In post-show critiques, many viewers called out Keys’ guest verses as disruptive to the flow of Usher’s seamless medley of favorites. Her surprise walk-on during the show’s mid-point shifted the spotlight, essentially allowing her to grab the mic on Usher’s own stage.

While Keys and Usher previously teamed up for smash collabs like My Boo, some felt her inclusion leaned too much into promoting her own headlining capabilities, rather than propping up Usher as the main event.

Could a Solo Set Have Avoided Backlash?

Justin Bieber and Usher
Justin Bieber and Usher

Based on the intense fan reaction, it seems a guest-free show may have better catered to Usher fans hoping to see the multi-platinum artist command the stage alone. Rihanna’s widely-praised solo headlining set last year set a new standard, showing that major star power and a stacked tracklist need no backup.


Ultimately, Usher staged an unforgettable performance full of his indisputable musical prowess, even if the addition of Keys didn’t land with sections of his fanbase. For his devotees, seeing Usher back on one of music’s biggest platforms, with or without accompanying acts, remained a remarkable moment over a decade in the making. But the divided responses raise an important question for future halftime show headliners: is going it alone the better path to winning over fans hungry for their idol’s greatest hits?


Written by Nivedita Dubey

Articles Published: 82

Nivedita Dubey has 3 years of extensive experience in copywriting and content writing. She has written news articles for websites like, essentially sports, Comic Book Resources, Nerdstash etc.