While we don’t yet know if the New England Patriots will be heading to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, we do finally know the answer to some of the burning questions about the big game’s entertainment. Namely, who is performing during the halftime show and who will sing the national anthem before the Super Bowl starts at 6:30 p.m. on NBC.
With New England playing in three of the last four, Patriots fans have seen plenty of big names grace the Super Bowl halftime stage. Lady Gaga performed a lengthy set at Super Bowl LI in 2017 that one Atlanta Falcons player blamed for the team’s collapse against the Patriots, while Katy Perry (with assists from Missy Elliott, Lenny Kravitz, and Left Shark) sang at Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 before the Patriots finished off the Seattle Seahawks. Last year, Justin Timberlake graced the stage for Super Bowl LII, giving one local teen his brush with fame as “selfie kid.”
For the 2019 Super Bowl, organizers have booked some major talent as well, including a couple local to Atlanta. Here’s what you need to know about who will perform at Super Bowl LIII.
Maroon 5 will be the headliner at the Super Bowl 53 halftime show, with Adam Levine and the gang making their first appearance at the big game. Unlike last year, when Justin Timberlake was the lone artist — if you don’t count backup singers and dancers, a marching band, and a giant projection of Prince, anyway — Maroon 5 will be joined by rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi.
Scott, one of the headliners at Boston Calling 2019, is riding high off of his recent #1 album “Astroworld” and its #1 single “Sicko Mode.” The show will be a homecoming for Big Boi, who helped put the Atlanta rap scene on the map in the ’90s as one half of the hip-hop duo Outkast.
— Maroon 5 (@maroon5) January 13, 2019
The “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem at the 2019 Super Bowl, marking a homecoming for the “Midnight Train to Georgia” singer.
The Atlanta native said she was “proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta” in a statement, but has faced criticism from some who believe that Knight and other artists should refuse any offers from the NFL to perform due to its treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, who chose to kneel during the national anthem while a member of the 49ers, last played in the NFL in 2016 and has filed a lawsuit accusing the league of collusion.
“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight wrote in a statement to Variety. “It is unfortunate that our national anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the national anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone. I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good — I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country’s anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII.”
“America the Beautiful”
On Sunday, the NFL announced that R&B duo Chloe X Halle will perform “America the Beautiful” before the 2019 Super Bowl. The duo, sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey, also hail from Atlanta, making them the third act performing at the Super Bowl with ATL roots. The NFL previously announced that performer and deaf activist Aarron Loggins will sign in American Sign Language both “America the Beautiful” and the national anthem on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).
Other Pregame Performances
On Jan. 28, the NFL announced that country star Tim McGraw will headline the NFL Tailgate Party prior to the 2019 Super Bowl, performing his new single “Thought About You” live on CBS’s Super Bowl LIII pregame show. The NFL also announced that singer-songwriter/rapper Aloe Blacc will perform earlier that day alongside Atlanta gospel artist David Walker & High Praise at the tailgate party, which will also air live on CBS’s pregame show.