- 5 stars who declined to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show
If you’re here reading, you probably know that not only is the Super Bowl one of the biggest sporting events in North America (and one of the largest betting events worldwide), but it’s also one of the biggest entertainment events of the year. The length of the National Anthem remains one of the most popular props to bet on outside of the game, with musical entertainment (and puppies) a stalwart part of the festivities.
The Super Bowl halftime show is a cultural phenomenon (and a welcome reprieve during Super Bowl Sunday for those who aren’t interested in football), with performances by Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Jennifer Lopez (to name a few) making history for the impact of their performances — whether for controversy, fanfare, or both.
But what about the entertainer that forgo the halftime show? Who would turn down an opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl?
Turns out, there are at least 5. Let’s take a look at the stars who have said ‘no’ to the Super Bowl.
As much as a Rihanna appearance at the Super Bowl would excite us, the singer (and lingerie, designer, fashion designer, actress, philanthropist and overall mogul) declined to perform at the 2019 (and rumored to have also declined an appearance at 2020’s Super Bowl) due to the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick.
Reportedly, Rihanna did consider the offer, but ultimately decided against it.
- Cardi B
Cardi B declined to perform at the Super Bowl, for similar reasons to Rihanna, citing the treatment of Kaepernick in a more public forum—the 2017 MTV VMA’s, saying “Colin Kaepernick: As long as you kneel with us, we gonna be standing for you baby.” The singer was still able to nab a deal with Pepsi (the Super Bowl Halftime show’s sponsor) in 2019, so the decision clearly didn’t kill her marketability.
Although Cardi declined to lend her vocal stylings to the halftime stage, she does appear in a Super Bowl commercial for Uber Eats next to ‘Wayne’ and ‘Garth’ of the Wayne’s World franchise.
Adele made her announcement dispelling Super Bowl rumors in a similarly public way, but with a decidedly British take on the performance request from the NFL, telling an audience at the Staples Center in 2016 “First of all, I’m not doing the Super Bowl. I mean, come on, that show is not about music. And I don’t really—I can’t dance or anything like that. They were very kind, tey did ask me, but I did say no.”
The NFL released a joint statement with Pepsi that denied they ever asked the singer, saying “The NFL and Pepsi are big fans of Adele. We have had conversations with several artists about the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show. However, we have not at this point extended a formal offer to Adele or anyone else. We are focused on putting together a fantastic show for Houston and we look forward to revealing that in good time.”
Despite performing the national anthem at the Super Bowl in 2017, P!nk’s team was apparently unable to negotiate terms for a halftime performance. When asked about declining the opportunity, P!nk had this to say In an interview with Billboard, “I’d probably take a knee and get carried out.”
Like others on this list, Jay-Z made his intention to leave the halftime shows to wife Beyonce pretty publicly, rapping in ‘Apeshit’ “I said no to the Super Bowl/You need me, I don’t need you/Every night we in the endzone/Tell the NFL we in stadiums too.”
Guess that sums up his feelings on appearing in the halftime show, but not working for the league entirely—in 2019, Jay Z’s company Roc Nation signed a deal with the NFL to produce entertainment for the NFL, including the Super Bowl halftime show, and overall work towards change in the league alongside the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.
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