Usher Says Justin Bieber Is "Wanting to Tell a Different Story" with Super Bowl Rebuff

"He’s gonna play the Super Bowl, I profess that over his life. He has a career that deserves it. But it just didn't happen."

Photo: Usher by Bellamy Brewster (left)

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Feb 16, 2024

Last weekend, Usher performed at the Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show in Las Vegas and, as one does, invited a number of surprise guests to join him, including Ludacris, Lil Jon, H.E.R., Alicia Keys, and Jermaine Dupri. Notably not among them was the performer's one-time protégé, Justin Bieber, who reportedly turned down the opportunity because he "just wasn't feeling it."

In a new interview on The Breakfast Club, Usher addressed the rumours about Bieber's absence, confirmed that, yes, he had reached out to the Canadian artist about joining the performance, and explained why it didn't come to fruition.

“I think that it might’ve been the fact that he’s just wanting to tell a different story right now. I understand that,” Usher told Charlamagne tha God during the radio program earlier today [via Rolling Stone]. He added that he and Bieber “are gonna do something else in the future" and that there's "no love lost or anything like that.”

When you're headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show, you pull out all the stops — and Usher admitted to having likewise put in calls to some mega-watt stars whose names he wasn't willing to reveal. “It’s a lot of pressure for the Super Bowl, obviously, so I reached out to everybody,” the artist said. “Justin wasn’t the only one I spoke to about doing the Super Bowl, but the moment was maybe for later." 

Usher continued, "He’s gonna play the Super Bowl, I profess that over his life. He has a career that deserves it. But it just didn’t happen. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to.”

Instead, Bieber watched the performance from the stadium with his wife, Hailey Bieber. Aside from playing a surprise acoustic set at Toronto's History during the NHL All-Star Weekend festivities earlier this month, the Timbiebs mastermind otherwise hasn't performed publicly since 2022, when he postponed his tour dates after being diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome — a neurological disorder that causes facial paralysis.

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