LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Adam Levine, the lead singer of Maroon 5, has responded to criticism regarding what many thought was a bland halftime show during the New England Patriots victory over the L.A. Rams in Super Bowl LIII Sunday.
“When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the SBHTS, I took out my pen and just wrote,” Levine said in an Instagram post. “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.”
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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. ❤️ And the list of words is… Forgive Laugh Cry Smile Share Live Endure Embrace Remember Enlighten Preserve Inspire Sweat Fight Express Give Receive Elevate Climb Unify Fortify Soften Dance Scream Dream Educate Provide Inhale Exhale Persevere Stand Kneel Overcome Love Listen
Maroon 5 performed with Atlanta rappers Big Boi and Travis Scott, who didn’t receive much stage time, prompting L.A. Lakers star LeBron James to tweet, “Soooooooo…… This halftime show though. That’s all for Travis or nah?!?!?!”
Levine was also roasted for going shirtless during the show – drawing comparisons to the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl performance.
“Super Bowl halftime nipple rules feel inconsistent,” sports personality Katie Nolan tweeted.
“Janet Jackson showed a nipple and the country went nuts,” comedian Maz Jobrani tweeted. “She had to move to Bahrain for 10 years. Adam Levine just went full on shirtless. Guess he’s gonna have to move to Riyadh.”
Even fans of “SpongeBob Squarepants” got in on the criticism. More than 1.2 million SpongeBob fans signed a Change.org petition to have “Sweet Victory” performed at the halftime show to honor SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg, who died last year. However, instead of playing the full song, only a 15-second cartoon clip was teased before transitioning into the Travis Scott’s song “Sicko Mode.”
Levine had taken considerable heat for even agreeing to perform at the big game, with other artists saying they were boycotting the game over the NFL’s own purported boycott of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. According to CBS News, both Cardi B and Rihanna turned down opportunities to perform.
“When you look back on every single Super Bowl halftime show… it’s this like insatiable urge to hate a little bit. I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy,” Levine told “Entertainment Tonight” host Kevin Frazier last week. “We expected it, we’d like to move on from it… and speak through the music.”