The countdown is on to Sunday’s Super Bowl in Las Vegas, and here’s what we do know: Usher will take the stage for the halftime show, and he won’t do it alone. The superstar told Vogue that the night has been “specifically curated in my mind to have R&B take the main stage,” and that surprise performers will represent the R&B genre. “Not just R&B music,” he said. “But R&B performance, R&B connection, R&B spirit.”
The performer also said that he wanted to use his moment in the spotlight to pay homage to Black artists who laid the foundation for stars like him to have successful music careers, Us Weekly reports. “I think about what our country has kind of represented for Black artists,” he said during an appearance on Good Morning America. “[Those artists] having to at some point go through kitchens to even be able to perform for an audience, but they had to leave back through that same door, fear for their lives as they went to the next state to do the same thing. So I’m coming through the front door with this one.”
Usher also said he recognized he “didn’t start where I am now, and I didn’t get there by myself”; as such, he wants his Super Bowl performance to pay tribute to “everybody that has been part of [his journey].”
The Super Bowl halftime show is a mountaintop moment in a 30-year career, over the course of which Usher has collaborated with many a boldfaced name. Could Beyoncé and Jay-Z perform “Love in This Club Part II” or “Hot Tottie” with him, respectively? We doubt, thanks to Diddy and Chris Brown’s respective controversies, that they’ll join him onstage, but who knows. “With Usher saying he wants to focus on R&B, rappers like Future, Nicki Minaj, and Rick Ross could be out of the running,” Us Weekly reports.
The outlet presents these artists as likely halftime show guest frontrunners: first up, Lil Jon and Ludacris. “Usher playing Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show and not doing ‘Yeah!’ would be like the NFL not showing [Taylor] Swift cheering even once during the game,” the outlet writes, calling the duo’s appearance “a safe bet.”
Us Weekly also predicts Alicia Keys could join him for “My Boo,” and Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Brandy and Monica (“The Boy Is Mine?”—yes please!), and Justin Bieber round out their best guesses. We’ll have to wait until Sunday night to see for ourselves, but whoever it is, it’ll no doubt be spectacular.