Super Bowl 53: Maroon 5, guests serve up controversy-free halftime show

Despite the hand-wringing over the Super Bowl halftime performance, Maroon 5 and guests presented a controversy-free spectacle of pyro, lighted orbs and a tribute to SpongeBob SquarePants.

>> On AJC.com: Gallery of the halftime show performances

A lighted "M" – the band's logo – glowed as the band, led by heavily inked frontman Adam Levine, kicked into "Harder to Breathe." Lasers rolled through Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Levine grabbed a guitar and strolled the catwalk for "This Love" before Travis Scott arrived in a ring of fire.

Credit: Mark Humphrey

Credit: Mark Humphrey

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The rapper skittered around the stage and bounced next to Levine as he uncorked his heavily bleeped hit, "Sicko Mode."

Credit: Mark Humphrey

Credit: Mark Humphrey

Scott’s appearance was brief, as a drumline and gospel choir arrived for Maroon 5 to present a radically different version of “Girls Like You.”

Levine opted to let the band’s inoffensive music – and his pecs – do the talking as he crooned “She Will Be Loved” in the darkened stadium while glowing lanterns floated into the crowd.

Halftime’s other guest – Atlanta’s Big Boi – rolled in stylishly in a Cadillac, a fur coat draped around his shoulders.

The affable hip-hop star offered a bit of “Kryptonite” before longtime sideman Sleepy Brown joined him and Levine for Outkast’s “The Way You Move.” It was a notable spotlight for the rapper, even if both he and Scott felt like forced insertions.

Credit: Morry Gash

Credit: Morry Gash

The Maroon 5 singer donned an ATLiens jacket while singing with Big Boi, giving him the opportunity to strip it off and bare his tattooed biceps before kneeling in front of fans for the melodic “Sugar.”

For Levine’s legion of female fans, his bare-torso shimmy during “Moves Like Jagger” was likely enough for many to find the performance cheer-worthy. But critics said the band’s inherent blandness couldn’t breach even the prettiest visuals on the field.

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