Atlanta Music Scene

Atlanta music, concerts and entertainment

Super Bowl 2019: Who should play halftime? OutKast? Elton? Take our poll


The lackluster was barely off of Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performance when Bruno Mars took to Twitter to endorse a hip-hop-themed show for next year in Atlanta.

Citing familiar local rappers including OutKast, T.I. and Gucci Mane, the recent Grammy king predicted it would “be the best party TV has ever seen.”

But considering Mars has played the Super Bowl twice – as a headliner in 2014 and with Coldplay and Beyonce in 2016 – he should have a better understanding of how the NFL operates.

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 Friday nights scores: AJC Georgia high school football results
  2. 2 TMZ: Friend who found Bobbi Kristina unconscious also dead - likely fr
  3. 3 The un-celebrity president: Jimmy Carter shuns riches and lives modest

No one cares where you’re from.

Lady Gaga brought plenty of razzle-dazzle to Houston in 2017, but she doesn't call the city home. Photo: Curtis Compton/AJC

If the league were interested in pairing Super Bowl halftime performers with their hometowns, we would have seen Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen in New Jersey (instead of Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Beyonce in Houston ( instead of Lady Gaga ) and, uh, perhaps Gloria Estefan in Miami (instead of her 1992 appearance at Minneapolis’ previous Super Bowl staging).

Heck, even this past weekend in Minneapolis, Timberlake could have been chucked in favor of a Prince-themed jam featuring Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Morris Day & The Time and Prince’s longtime friend, Sheila E.

But the Super Bowl halftime show isn’t about city synergy – it’s about money (naturally) and which act(s) will entice the highest advertisers, as well as timing.

It’s no coincidence that the past several years, the chosen Super Bowl performer has released an album either immediately before or after taking the stage and/or announced a massive tour.

That makes Atlanta’s choices a little thin if they’re seeking a mass-appeal pop or rock star to produce a spectacle (of course, OutKast COULD reunite again , but don’t expect any guest shots from Cardi B, who already announced she’ll never perform on a Super Bowl stage until Colin Kaepernick gets a job …good luck with that).

Taylor Swift has never played the Super Bowl, but will play two shows in Atlanta this summer. (Photo by MikeCoppola/Getty Images for DIRECTV)

Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Pink, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, U2 and even Harry Styles already have major outings planned for 2018, so they don’t need the publicity. It’s possible the league could look to tap a country star, though hometowners the Zac Brown Band also have a stadium tour plotted this year, while other mainstream names including Shania Twain, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are hitting the arena and amphitheater circuit.

If they indeed want to lean hip-hop, Jay-Z or Drake are possibilities, though Kendrick Lamar might be eliminated since he just played the College Football National Championship halftime.

Who else?

Kanye? Rihanna? Fleetwood Mac?

Or hey, Elton John could always add a 301st date to his lengthy farewell tour and say goodbye to one of the cities he still calls occasional home.

Follow the AJC Music Scene on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.

More from AJC