The Atlantic

Even Maroon 5 Can’t Avoid Controversy This Super Bowl

Halftime-show performers aren’t immune to backlash from the NFL’s most recent critics.
Source: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

There’s no bigger concert stage than the Super Bowl halftime show. Year after year, more Americans watch the game than any other TV event, and even with cord-cutting and controversy eating into NFL ratings recently, the Super Bowl still draws more than 100 million viewers from red and blue America alike. No musician would ever otherwise have that kind of audience for a single performance.

Which is why the halftime show has historically been often dazzling, often disappointing, and perpetually contested. Big-tent icons—Prince, Bruce Springsteen, —have put on defining performances. But popular culture’s fault lines have a way of surfacing, too. Janet Jackson’s “” kicked off debates about decency and double standards. In M.I.A.’s , America experienced discussion about race by punctuating Coldplay’s set in Black Panther Party couture.

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