Maroon 5 performs 2019 Super Bowl halftime show

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Maroon 5 performed at the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show amid ongoing controversy.

On Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, the “Girls Like You” hitmakers delivered big hits and a surprise SpongeBob SquarePants tribute at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., E! News reports.

At the mid-way point of Superbowl LIII, Maroon 5 kicked off their set with songs like “Harder to Breathe” and “This Love,” before rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi of Outkast joined the pop-rock group on their M-shaped stage. The hip hop stars respectively — and briefly — performed their own hits, “Sicko Mode” and “I Like the Way You Move.” As the show went on, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine crooned out tunes like “She Will Be Loved,” “Sugar,” and “Moves Like Jagger,” alongside the release of Chinese lanterns, which spelled out “One Love.”

“When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the SBHTS, I took out my pen and just wrote,” Levine presumably wrote on the Maroon 5 Instagram page following the performance, captioning snapshots of the lanterns in question. Expressing gratitude to the group’s fans and critics, he added, “Some of the words that came to me in that moment eventually made their way onto the incredible lanterns that flew high and low tonight. We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage.”

Prior to Maroon 5’s headlining gig, Levine’s wife of five years, model Behati Prinsloo, supported her man on Instagram. “Once in a life time,” she wrote alongside a photo of the band walking out onto the field. “So proud of these boys @maroon5 #superbowl53.”

Also performing at football’s biggest event was legendary singer Gladys Knight, who delivered a moving rendition of the National Anthem. However, as readers may already be aware, both Maroon 5 and the Empress of Soul have recently faced severe backlash over their decision to perform at the Super Bowl.

According to E! News, pop stars like Rihanna and Pink reportedly declined to take on the job out of support for free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was essentially blacklisted from playing in the NFL after “taking a knee” during the National Anthem in 2016 in peaceful protest of racial injustice in the United States. According to NBC News, the league later announced it would fine players who do not stand during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

A number of celebs took to social media this weekend to announce that they’d decided to boycott the game altogether over this matter while using the hashtag #ImWithKap, including Common, Nick Cannon, LeBron James, and Ava DuVernay (via Us Weekly).

As Nicki Swift previously reported, Levine, 39, broke his silence on the criticism on Thursday, Jan. 31 — shortly after the NFL decided to scrap its annual press conference to promote the halftime show. “I’m not in the right profession if I can’t handle a little bit of controversy,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s what it is. We expected it. We’d like to move on from it and … speak through the music.”

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