Usher just confirmed there will be special guests joining him onstage during his upcoming Super Bowl halftime show. Naturally fans immediately began speculating about who the lucky artists might be.
The public didn’t have to wait very long for answers, though. Sources close to the production confirmed to TMZ that Alicia Keys was spotted rehearsing with Usher inside Allegiant Stadium on Thursday.
Musicians often treat their Super Bowl halftime show as a 13-minute showcase of their discography, filling the set list with tracks that span the arc of their career and creative evolution. It makes perfect sense, then, that Usher may look to some of his previous collaborators to accompany him when the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. That narrows down our prime suspects to the likes of Lil John, Ludacris, Beyoncé, and Justin Bieber in addition to Keys.
The singer said as much in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, saying he believed it would be foolish not to perform his 2004 hit single “Yeah!” with the featured artists who helped make it: Ludacris and Lil Jon, both of whom are local to Las Vegas. Usher himself has been living in Vegas lately following the success of his Park MGM residency.
“I would be a fool to not play ‘Yeah!’” Usher said. “Let’s just start there. It would be foolish to make it all the way to Las Vegas—Jon is here, Luda’s here—and not play ‘Yeah!’”
During a press conference with Apple Music, Usher confessed it was “a challenge to squeeze 30 years [of music] into 13 minutes.” He also shed light on his thought process in planning the show.
“I was very mindful of my past, celebrating my present—which is here in Las Vegas—and thinking about where we’re headed in the future,” he said. “That was really the idea.”