Gigs don’t get much bigger than the Super Bowl halftime show, which not only guarantees an audience of millions but also a level of spectacle most artists would covet. Hell, Lady Gaga dropped from the dang sky when she headlined two years ago. This year’s show, however, isn’t quite shaping up to be quite as impactful. Why? Well, Maroon 5 is headlining, for one. And, according to a report from Us Weekly, they apparently can’t find anyone to join them.
That’s almost certainly due to this year’s increased politicization of the NFL, which fell under the cultural microscope when former 49er Colin Kaepernick was heavily criticized (by our president, no less) for taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice. Rihanna, for example, reportedly turned down the gig as a show of support to Kaepernick. “No one wants to associate themselves with the NFL,” says Us Weekly’s source.
It’s long been rumored that Maroon 5 wanted Cardi B to join them, as the “Bodak Yellow” singer appears on the band’s single “Girls Like You.” Last February, however, she told TMZ that she wouldn’t perform unless “they hire Colin Kaepernick back.” It appears she’s sticking to her guns, too, as Us Weekly’s source says that, though “she’s been going back and forth” on joining the band, “as of today, she’s not.”
Maroon 5 could always play solo, but they don’t have nearly the amount of cultural ubiquity that, say, Cardi does at this point. They could also drop out of the event altogether, as this petition is calling them to do, but that would likely resonate as more cynical than supportive. The organizers, meanwhile, are presumably locked in a board room somewhere, hastily scribbling “‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ reboot” on a whiteboard filled with worst case scenarios.