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Love in this rink? Usher teases roller skating and special guests for Super Bowl halftime show

Usher in sunglasses, black gloves and a cream shirt lounges before foliage.
Usher will re-create a skating segment from his Las Vegas Residency at his Super Bowl halftime show.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
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Usher is bringing his roller skates to Allegiant Stadium.

It’s just one of the tricks he’s borrowing from his two-year Las Vegas residency for his halftime performance this Sunday, when the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49ers.

Usher’s moment in the spotlight during the Super Bowl halftime show will be a legacy-defining moment not only for himself, but also for romance and R&B.

Feb. 8, 2024

“For everybody that heard about my show in Las Vegas, you’re not going to get a chance to see some of what I did here but you’re going to see the best of it because it’s in front of 60,000 people in this room and hopefully another 180 million people for the world to see,” the “OMG” singer told Apple Music’s Nadeska Alexis in an interview Thursday.

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As this year’s halftime performer, Usher succeeds Rihanna, whose performance last year drew more than 121 million viewers — a record the R&B singer might just shatter with a stellar skating routine and a guest appearance by “My Boo” collaborator Alicia Keys.

TMZ reports that Keys rehearsed her duet with Usher inside Allegiant Stadium on Thursday — making the song the first confirmed track on Usher’s newly negotiated 15-minute set list.

As for the remaining tracks, Usher told Alexis he was being “very mindful of my past” and choosing “songs I feel people know me for.”

Lil Jon and Ludacris — with whom Usher collaborated on the club hit “Yeah!” — are strong candidates for additional special guests.

Usher expressed his gratitude to Rihanna for her kind words about his Feb. 11 Super Bowl halftime show performance in Las Vegas.

Dec. 21, 2023

The R&B superstar debuted the skating segment he plans to re-create Sunday at the grand opening of his Las Vegas residency in July 2021. Joined by his dancers, he donned skates while performing “Don’t Waste My Time,” his 2019 duet with Ella Mai.

The performance went viral in 2021 as concertgoers posted footage of it online.

“Imagine how hard it is to skate and sing!” he told Essence in 2022, adding that he’s always drawn inspiration from technically skilled dancers like Gene Kelly.

“I don’t know if I could even see myself in those characters because they were white. But there was something amazing about what they were doing that made me say, one day I’ll have the opportunity to be that.”

Usher will be the first independent artist to take the Super Bowl stage, having left his record label, RCA, to self-release his new album, “Coming Home,” on Friday.

“Even though [this album] is a part of my legacy, it feels like it’s a separate start of something else that is far more about a lifestyle, a feeling, being immersed and also engaged in things outside of music,” Usher told The Times in a recent interview.

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