Maroon 5 headlines the Super Bowl 53 halftime show with help from SpongeBob

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime
Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show in Atlanta on Feb. 3, 2019. Copyright Rob Carr Getty Images
By Janelle Griffith with NBC News U.S. News
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Travis Scott's song "Sicko Mode" was introduced by SpongeBob Squarepants.


Although there were no surprise cameos by big-name stars, SpongeBob Squarepants did make an appearance during the Super Bowl 53 halftime show headlined by Maroon 5.

The band led by Adam Levine was joined by Atlanta native Big Boi and rapper Travis Scott, during the halftime performance.

A standout moment for Twitter users occurred when the SpongeBob character Squidward introduced Scott's song "Sicko Mode."

Maroon 5 agreed to headline the halftime show knowing they would be criticized because of the NFL's treatment of Colin Kaepernick and other players who took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and injustice. Some celebrities, including filmmaker Ava DuVernay, rapper Common and Nick Cannon, boycotted the Super Bowl to show support for Kaepernick.

On Thursday Levine told Entertainment Tonightthat no one thought about the consequences of performing more than he did, and he anticipated backlash after it was announced his band would headline the event.

"No one put more thought and love into this than I did,"he said. "I spoke to many people, most importantly though, I silenced all the noise and listened to myself, and made my decision about how I felt."

Other performers declined to participate in the halftime show because of their support for Kaepernick and other players who kneeled during the national anthem.

Rihanna reportedlyrebuffed an offer to headline the halftime show and Jay-Z said in his song "Apes---" with his wife Beyonce, that he would not participate.

Rapper Cardi B, who collaborated with Maroon 5 on the single "Girls LiKe You," also passed up the opportunity to perform in solidarity with Kaepernick.

Cardi, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, told the Associated Press on Friday that she felt obligated to "stand behind" Kaepernick because he "stood up" for minorities.

"I got to sacrifice a lot of money to perform," she said. "But there's a man who sacrificed his job for us, so we got to stand behind him."

Although Cardi did not perform during the halftime show, she did appear in a Super Bowl commercial.

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, has not played in the NFL since controversy arose during the 2016 season when he began kneeling to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

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