The band, performing on a giant M-shaped stage, then transitioned into another throwback song, “This Love,” before Squidward ― yes, from “SpongeBob Squarepants,” introduced Travis Scott to perform his hit single “Sicko Mode.”
As flames burned in the background and Maroon 5 rocked out with the rapper, a drumline appeared and lead singer Adam Levine transitioned into “Girls Like You.” A gospel choir joined him on stage to finish the song.
With one more less-than-seamless transition, Levine began “She Will Be Loved” while surrounded by audience members on the field holding glowing lanterns covered with inspirational words.
The song stopped abruptly and Outkast member Big Boi ― wearing a massive fur coat ― appeared in a car, hopped on stage and rapped “The Way You Move.”
After Big Boi finished, Levine stripped to a tank top and sang “Sugar,” a more recent hit from his group, and crowd-pleaser “Moves Like Jagger.”
Levine continued to strip, taking off his shirt as fireworks lit up the sky. The performers hugged it out on stage, bringing an uninspired show to an end at last.
The NFL announced earlier this week that Maroon 5 would not participate in a news conference to discuss the Super Bowl halftime performance.
“The artists will let their show do the talking as they prepare to take the stage this Sunday,” the league said in a statement.
The group ― along with Scott and Big Boi ― have come under fire for taking the gig. Other artists, including Rihanna and Cardi B, turned down offers to perform during the game because of the NFL’s attempts to silence player protests against police brutality and other social injustices.
“No one put more thought and love into this than I did. ... I spoke to many people, most importantly though, I silenced all the noise and listened to myself, and made my decision about how I felt,” he said.
Levine brushed off controversy surrounding this year’s performance by saying most Super Bowl performances come with some amount of contention.
“You know, I think when you look back on every Super Bowl halftime show, it is this insatiable urge to hate a little bit,” he said. “I am not in the right profession if I can’t handle a bit of controversy. It is what it is. We would like to move on from it and speak through the music.”