SpongeBob SquarePants and his Bikini Bottom neighbors scored the prized opportunity of a lifetime last night. The famed sea sponge fry cook and his band, conducted by Squidward Tentacles, performed at the Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show.
However, fans saw the 14-second snippet as more of a fumble than the tribute to the late SpongeBob creator that they petitioned for in December.
The cast took to the stage after Maroon 5’s performance. Squidward introduced the band of fish, SpongeBob did one of his signature dance moves, and the bandmates blared their horns as if to begin playing “Sweet Victory” to the packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
To fans’ dismay, the appearance was an opener for Travis Scott instead of a performance of the ‘80s rock anthem written by David Glen Eisley and produced by Bob Kulick.
Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi of the rap duo Outkast continued the show, performing many of their hit songs. The rock group didn’t even turn their “M” stage upside down for Wumbo!
A shirtless Adam Levine of Maroon 5, fire, paper lanterns, a drum line, a gospel choir, and a convertible car could not appease fans. They took to Twitter to express how bad they believed the performers soiled it, with many claiming that the NFL and the performers missed the point of including the cartoon performance.
Although the brief appearance didn’t satisfy fans, it opened up the floodgates to gems like these across Twitter:
— Jamie Roche (@JRoche_1000RR) February 4, 2019
— Edd❁ (@edw0rp_) February 4, 2019
— Severa L. (@Osirssassin) February 4, 2019
— caitlin🦜 (@WitchBitch_jpg) February 4, 2019
Despite fans’ disappointment, Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi rocked out to a screaming audience. Hopefully, they weren’t too sad later on when the Rams handed the Patriots their sixth Super Bowl win.
Adam Levine responded to critics of the performance on Instagram, saying, “We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage. We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better. One Love.” Levine did not directly address the SpongeBob controversy.
More than 1.2 million SpongeBob fans petitioned to have the band perform “Sweet Victory” from the iconic 2001 episode “Band Geeks.” The fans launched the petition to honor creator Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away in November 2018 following his battle with ALS.