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Usher Reveals What Easter Eggs and Nods to R&B Stars Were in His Halftime Show: 'So Many Gems You Have Yet to Unlock'

The R&B superstar opened up to 'The Breakfast Club' about what subtle nods to music legends he included throughout his Halftime Show performance

<p>Jamie Squire/Getty</p> Usher performs during the Super Bowl Halftime Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, 2024

Jamie Squire/Getty

Usher performs during the Super Bowl Halftime Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, 2024

Usher may have packed his entire career into his 13-minute Super Bowl Halftime Show, but he also made sure to give nods to R&B artists who came before him.

The R&B superstar, 45, appeared on Monday’s episode of The Breakfast Club and broke down the Easter eggs that he sprinkled throughout his Halftime Show at the 2024 Super Bowl. While he admitted that he noticed many viewers caught his Michael Jackson homage — in which he wore a single white glove for a period of the set — he said many fans have yet to uncover his references to R&B icons like James Brown, Marvin Gaye and many others.

“If you go back, it’s an entire education that’s happening right in front of your eyes," the Grammy winner teased on the iHeartRadio show.

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> Ludacris, Usher, Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri, and will.i.am on stage during the Super Bowl halftime show.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Ludacris, Usher, Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri, and will.i.am on stage during the Super Bowl halftime show.

Related: Usher in Love! Exclusive Wedding Photos from the Star's Surprise Post-Super Bowl Ceremony with Jenn Goicoechea

Usher first opened up about what sly references he included when co-host Charlamagne tha God asked him about his intention in paying homage to the late King of Pop.

“See, what you don’t realize is that there are so many gems you have yet to unlock. You only caught one. You caught Michael,” the musician (whose real name is Usher Raymond IV) responded.

“Did you catch Marvin [Gaye]? Did you catch the back leg pop for James Brown?” he continued, referring to the funk legend's signature dance move.

The “Yeah!” singer explained that they were among the many moves he incorporated into the staging, costuming and choreography. He shared that the piano moment with special guest Alicia Keys was inspired by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, taking his shirt off was meant to resemble Bobby Brown and his tank top ensemble and crooning called back to Teddy Pendergrass.

<p>Steph Chambers/Getty</p> Usher and Alicia Keys perform on stage during the Super Bowl LVIII halftime show on Feb. 11, 2024.

Steph Chambers/Getty

Usher and Alicia Keys perform on stage during the Super Bowl LVIII halftime show on Feb. 11, 2024.

Related: The Best Photos from Usher's 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Performance

There was also a sample of The Jackson 5’s “Can You Feel It” during the roller skating portion, the star noted.

Although the “OMG” singer left it to fans to go back and watch the performance again to see the references, he also listed several other artists who inspired parts of the set. “It was some [Ronald] Isley in there. It was Gap Band in there and Earth, Wind and Fire,” he admitted. “There was Zapp.”

Usher also said that he “gave a little bit of Luther Vandross.”

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The hitmaker also broke down why it was important to him to include nods to so many R&B, funk and soul icons in his Halftime Show. “All of it is who I am, but in what I have done and who I am, I recognize all of the people that have really paved the way,” Usher said. “Far too often, man, do we just forget about the people that really made it happen.”

<p>Steph Chambers/Getty</p> Usher performing during the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, 2024

Steph Chambers/Getty

Usher performing during the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, 2024

Related: Usher's Teen Sons Share Special Moments from Super Bowl 2024 as They Witnessed Dad's Iconic Halftime Show

The Confessions artist pulled out all the stops for his acclaimed headlining performance in Super Bowl LVIII by chronicling his career from his early days to his present, coming off his My Way Las Vegas residency. He also brought out a star-studded roster of guests, including Keys, 43, Jermaine Dupri, Lil Jon, Ludacris and will.i.am.

The 2024 sporting event ended up being the most-watched telecast in U.S. history, with an average of 123.4 million viewers tuning in.

Just days before he took to the stage at Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, Usher opened up about his excitement for the event in a cover story interview with PEOPLE.

“The fact that I had this opportunity and someone who was in the position chose to give me the opportunity to entertain the world and do what I love to do after having such an incredible year here, specifically in Las Vegas, it feels so amazing,” he shared. “I feel honored, proud.” 

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