In late 2019 Rihanna told Vogue she was offered the Super Bowl halftime show that year, but turned it down. Maroon 5 got the job instead, so now that Rihanna has decided to grace us with her presence at this Sunday’s Super Bowl, does Maroon 5 have any advice for her?
“Oh, she doesn’t need our advice,” Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine laughs. “We probably coulda used her advice.”
He’s not wrong: The 2019 halftime show was mired in controversy surrounding the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Rihanna had told Vogue at the time, “I just couldn’t be a sellout … I was not about to go and be of service to [the NFL] in any way.” When Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi ended up performing, they were all criticized for accepting the invitation.
Still, James says he and the band were blown away by the actual event. “Yeah, I mean that was a pretty incredible experience,” he tells ABC Audio. “The energy that you feel while it’s actually happening is pretty special. I wish I could bottle that up.”
“I still can’t believe … we got to do that. It’s an amazing experience,” he adds. “Surreal. I use that word a lot, but a lot of these experiences, you know, there’s really no other words for it.”
As for who Maroon 5 is rooting for this year, James says he’s Chiefs all the way.
“I’m from Lincoln, Nebraska. Kansas City was the closest NFL city, the closest big city,” he says. “I’m just really impressed with [Patrick] Mahomes and what he was able to do on his ankle, especially with that last run … that put them in position to win … that was incredible. So let’s go, Chiefs.”
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