Three-time Grammy Award winner Maroon 5 was officially announced as the headliner for the Super Bowl LIII halftime show in Atlanta, the band and CBS Sports announced Sunday. Rapper and six-time Grammy nominee Travis Scott will perform with the band, and Atlanta native Big Boi was announced as host for the proceedings at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Maroon 5's role in the halftime show had been speculated for months, but there was no shortage of public outcry for the band to not do the show because of the controversies surrounding Colin Kaepernick and other players who have knelt for the national anthem. An online petition filed at change.org and titled "Maroon 5: Drop Out of the Super Bowl Halftime Show" has nearly 85,000 signatures as of Sunday night. The page reads in part, "Kaepernick risked his career to take a knee for equality, and the NFL punished him for it. Until the league changes their policy and supports players' constitutional right to protest, no artists should agree to work with the NFL. Join me in asking Maroon 5 to drop out of the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show."
Scott also announced that he and the NFL are making a joint $500,000 donation to social justice nonprofit Dream Corps. "I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in," Scott reportedly said in a statement. "I know being an artist that it's in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change."
According to multiple reports, Scott told the NFL he would not perform in the show without the NFL first agreeing to the donation. Nonetheless, there was no shortage of anger and unhappiness on Twitter following the announcement Sunday. Maroon 5 have sold more than 53 million albums and 48 million singles and set a record for the most No. 1 singles (nine) by a group in the 20-year history of the top-40 chart. The band's sixth studio album, "Red Pill Blues," released in late 2017, features their current hit single "Girls Like You," which was No. 1 on the charts for seven consecutive weeks. The track has become the longest-running song in the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100, and according to Nielsen Music, the band recently finished 2018 as the biggest act on U.S. radio.
Scott's No. 1 single "Sicko Mode" was nominated for a Grammy for best rap performance and best rap song, and his latest album, "Astroworld," also earned a Grammy nomination for best rap album. Big Boi is best known as a member of hip-hop duo Outkast, which has sold 25 million albums and won six Grammys. His most-recent album, "Boomiverse," was released in June 2017. Last year's Super Bowl halftime show featured Justin Timberlake in his return after he was part of Janet Jackson's notorious "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 NFL title game. The list of past Super Bowl halftime performers includes Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Madonna, Lady Gaga, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Prince, Paul McCartney, U2, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
(With inputs from agencies.)