Swift, Beyonce command conversation as Usher helms Super Bowl half-time show

LAS VEGAS – Usher delivered a Las Vegas-appropriate set heavy on glitz, choreography and nostalgia as he headlined the Super Bowl half-time show on Feb 11, but it was new music from Beyonce and the Taylor Swift cam that grabbed the most attention.

Swift was the night’s most-watched fan as she cheered on her boyfriend Travis Kelce, the tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, from a luxury box with a coterie of famous friends.

Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime to claim the Super Bowl, providing a jolt of megawatt excitement to the Vegas blockbuster and ending a week-long will-she-won’t-she saga that has dominated the lead-up to the football event of the year.

Swift’s relationship with the Chiefs star has been a boon to television ratings, her every move offering headline fodder.

At one point, she delighted the Internet by chugging a beer – she clocked in at 6.6 seconds – as the jumbotron documented the party trick.

The 34-year-old pop star’s arrival some two hours before kick-off sent an almost palpable frisson around the Allegiant Stadium. Social media rapidly filled with pictures and video footage of the singer dressed in a black top and jeans with a red jacket slung over her shoulder walking through the bowels of the stadium with celebrity friends, actress Blake Lively and rapper Ice Spice.

A punishing travel schedule in which Swift has flown from Japan to the United States and will then jet to Australia for tour commitments meant her presence was far from a foregone conclusion, and when giant television screens showed Swift for the first time, a ripple of cheers went around the still-mostly empty stadium.

Beyonce was also in attendance with her hip-hop mogul husband Jay-Z – and announced a new album during a commercial she did with telecom provider Verizon. The advertisement closes with the line: “Drop the music.”

Moments later on Instagram, Beyonce, 42, announced with another clip that her eighth studio album is due on March 29.

The post did not give a title, but simply said “Act II”. Her 2022 blockbuster album Renaissance had been branded “Act I”.

Shortly thereafter, fans of Beyonce had two new songs to listen to: the twangy Texas Hold ‘Em and 16 Carriages implied Beyonce’s new volume of work might be country-heavy, in a nod to her Texas roots.

The announcement came one week after Swift used the Grammy Awards to promote her upcoming studio album The Tortured Poets Department, out on April 19.

America’s megastars Beyonce and Swift had major summer tours in 2023, boosting local economies at every turn.

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