Maroon 5 headlined the 2019 Super Bowl LIII Pepsi Halftime Show
And they will be loved!
The band — with frontman Adam Levine — opened the show with a throwback from their first album, “Harder to Breathe,” as red sparklers erupted around the stadium and the crowd went wild. Next, Levine threw off his jacket revealing a black button-down with a red racing stripe and continued the nostalgia with “This Love.”
Then a brief SpongeBob SquarePants interlude introduced Travis Scott, and Levine supported “Sicko Mode” with his guitar before he took the stage to serenade the nation with “Girls Like You” with some help from Voice of Atlanta.
Next, Maroon 5 threw it back once again with “She Will Be Loved” as the crowd looked on and released paper lanterns into the sky to spell “One Love.”
Then the third headliner, Big Boi, rolled up in a car wearing a floor-length fur coat while rapping Outkast’s classic “I Like the Way You Move.”
Afterward, Levine melted hearts once again with his rendition of “Sugar.” For it, he ditched the button-down and showed off his tats in a tank top. During the next song, “Moves Like Jagger,” he ditched the shirt altogether.
A source first confirmed to PEOPLE in September that Maroon 5 would perform during Super Bowl LIII, but Levine remained cryptic when asked about their plans in the following months.
“I’m still formulating a lot of things,” Levine, 39, told Variety in a wide-ranging interview for their November hitmakers issue.
Hinting at their involvement, Levine also joked that “whoever is lucky enough to get the gig probably is gonna crush it,” when Ellen DeGeneres asked him about the Super Bowl during an appearance on her show in November.
“It’s a rumor. I can neither confirm nor deny the truth of this rumor. It’s definitely a rumor. And the rumor is a rumor that everyone seems to be discussing,” he added.
This is Maroon 5’s first-ever Super Bowl performance. Last year’s featured Justin Timberlake (for the second time) while 2017 was Lady Gaga‘s time to shine. Other big names that have taken the stage in recent years include Beyoncé, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Missy Elliott and Lenny Kravitz.
Last year, speculation over the band’s decision to sign on for the high-profile performance brought controversy with some fans calling for them to forego the event in support Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the #TakeAKnee movement to protest racial injustices.
“No one thought about it more than I did,” Levine said during an interview with Entertainment Tonight Thursday ahead of the big game. “No one put more thought and love into this than I did.”
Many fans have opted to boycott the Super Bowl and the NFL itself in support of Kaepernick, 31, and all players who have been criticized or penalized for taking a knee.
Their feelings and voices, Levine said, would not be neglected during the performance.
“They will be [heard] — that’s all I want to say because I don’t want to spoil anything,” Levine explained.
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Just over a week before their performance, Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton told PEOPLE that the band was trying their best to just focus on giving fans the best show possible.
“I think there are plenty of people — a lot of the players, to be honest — who support Kap and also do their job for the NFL,” Morton said. “I think we’re doing the same thing. We can support being against police brutality against black and brown people and be in support of being able to peacefully protest and still do our jobs. We just want to have a good time and entertain people while understanding the important issues that are at hand.”
“You can get bogged down by those things, we’re not focusing on the negative now [while] being aware, being open, and definitely not ignoring the voices,” he added. “But we’re definitely not focusing on the things that don’t help, that are counter-productive. We’re blocking out the noise. We’re just doing what we do. We look to have a good time.”
On Tuesday morning, Maroon 5, the NFL and Interscope Records announced their decision to make a $500,000 contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America ahead of the halftime performance, which will take place on Feb. 3 this year.
Maroon 5’s decision to donate comes two weeks after Scott revealed that he had agreed to sign on for the high-profile event on the condition that the NFL would join him in a joint donation to a charitable cause. In partnership with the league, the “Sicko Mode” rapper will make a $500,000 contribution to Dream Corps, a non-profit organization that champions social justice.
Maroon 5’s 2019 Super Bowl LIII Pepsi Halftime Show aired Feb. 3 on CBS.