Just as we all predicted, the biggest star on Sunday night was a cartoon character.
SpongeBob SquarePants made a cameo in the opening minutes of the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show featuring Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Outkast’s Big Boi, providing a least one highlight in a relatively tame performance.
And if it weren’t for a popular internet meme come to life, the halftime show might not have been anything to remember at all -- much like the first half of Sunday’s game.
Maroon 5, led by frontman Adam Levine, kicked off the performance with two of their most popular -- and oldest -- hits, “Harder to Breathe” and “This Love” (both released in 2002 on the “Songs About Jane” album, just after Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl ring).
Then, footage from a SpongeBob SquarePants episode cut in, giving way (at least on our television screens) to a cartoon fireball that barreled through the roof and toward the stage at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, “landing” among pyrotechnics and revealing rapper Travis Scott, who launched into his hit “Sicko Mode.”
An online petition gathered more than 1,200,000 signatures in an effort to convince Maroon 5 to work a SpongeBob song into its halftime performance to honor the show’s creator Stephen Hillenburg, who died in November.
But why work it into Scott’s “Sicko Mode?”
That’s because of this internet meme that made the rounds last fall, syncing the Scott/Drake track with a scene from the episode titled “Band Geeks.”
The homage to Hillenburg, combined with the jump from old-school Maroon 5 to Scott’s hit, made people go wild.
Some people truly had their hopes up that Maroon 5 would play the SpongeBob song “Sweet Victory,” and they weren’t happy to see it was mostly just a tease.
After two more Maroon 5 songs, fans might have thought this show would be saved once Atlanta’s own Big Boi took the stage.
The Outkast rapper made quite the entrance, rolling in through the audience to take the stage and launching into “The Way You Move.”
But that was the only local flavor viewers saw Sunday, as Big Boi didn’t get a chance to rap another song.
Levine and Co. finished out the show with two of their more recent hits, “Sugar” and “Moves Like Jagger.”
Sorry, Adam, but people weren’t very charitable after the show.
We saw Cardi B in Pepsi’s Super Bowl commercial, but we could have seen the rapper on stage instead of Maroon 5 on Sunday night.
She was offered a chance to perform, but turned it down as a sign of support for Colin Kaepernick, according to the Associated Press.
My husband, he loves football. His kids play football. It’s really hard for him," she said. “He really wants to go to the Super Bowl, but he can’t go to the Super Bowl, because he’s got to stand for something.
“You have to sacrifice that. I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform. But there’s a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him."
Cardi wasn’t the only celebrity to take a stand in support of Kaepernick, who is out of the NFL after leading a player-protest movement to highlight police brutality and other social justice issues affecting people of color. The AP said singers Pink and Rihanna reportedly turned down offers to perform, and comedian Amy Schumer declared she wouldn’t participate in ads airing during the game.
If you want to watch the whole show (although we can’t imagine why), here’s a link: