Super Bowl 53: The best reactions from Maroon 5's halftime show

Maroon 5 and Colin Kaepernick

The 2019 Super Bowl halftime show was always going to be a hot topic of conversation online, thanks to the controversy surrounding this year's headliners, Maroon 5 and guest performers Travis Scott and Outkast's Big Boi.

Apparently Adam Levine led into Maroon 5's Super Bowl LIII halftime show with a heavy heart. It was eventually appealed.

Though many people were excited to see SpongeBob do a small rendition of "Sweet Victory" at half time, a lot of people wondered why he was there.

Over the last several months, more than 1 million people signed the Change.org petition to honor Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob Squarepants, with a performance of the aquatic cartoon anthem "Sweet Victory" during the Super Bowl halftime show.

If you're familiar with the original episode, it's pretty expertly done.

The performance ended after Maroon 5 retook the stage for a medley of "Sugar" and "Moves Like Jagger". During the show, a brief clip from that scene was shown and then, when fire started raining down in the SpongeBob clip, special effects made it look like a fireball was about to hit the stadium.

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Vocal criticism of their choice has come from other celebrities like comedian Amy Schumer, who didn't shy away from calling out the band, writing "I think it would be cool if @maroon5 backed out of super bowl like @badgalriri Did". Taking his cue from the opening number in the set ("Harder to Breathe"), he gave a performance that was both pitchy and timid - and it didn't get much better from there. "But there's a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him", Cardi B said of her decision to not to perform.

Amber Tablyn also scorned the "mediocre" band for playing at the Super Bowl after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick effectively lost his job for protesting the killings of black men by police by taking a knee during the USA national anthem.

#ImWithKap was trending during the day on Twitter, with celebrities such as rapper Common and Selma director Ava DuVernay among those using the hashtag. "It's not worth it". I will never forget the image of an enthroned Madonna pulled by a Roman legion, or Lady Gaga diving into the stadium like Spider-Woman, having just brought election-embittered Americans together with a medley of "God Bless America" and "This Land Is Your Land".

"I will not be a spectator, viewer or supporter of the #SuperBowl today in protest of the @NFL's racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of all its players", director Ava DuVernay wrote. R&B duo Chloe x Halle sang America the attractive.

Controversy and pay aside, there's still a major upside for the artists to performing at the Super Bowl.

"We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world's biggest stage", read a caption on the band's Instagram account, which also doubles as Adam Levine's personal Instagram. Together with Scott, the National Football League is making a $500,000 donation to Dream Corps, an organizing focused on finding solutions for social change, founded by political commentator Van Jones.

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