Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine is responding to critics of the band's performance during the Super Bowl 2019 Pepsi Halftime Show. In a post on Instagram, Levine wrote in part, "we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better."
"When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the SBHTS, I took out my pen and just wrote. Some of the words that came to me in that moment eventually made their way onto the incredible lanterns that flew high and low tonight. 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 wrote.
The show, which also included, featured some of Maroon 5's hits like "Harder to Breathe," and "Sugar." But it fell flat with some fans on social media.
Levine was also criticized for taking his shirt off, drawing comparisons to the 2004 halftime show, when Justin Timberlake removed part of Janet Jackson's top, baring her breast. CBS, which aired that Super Bowl, was fined $550,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for the incident, but the fine later was overturned.
"Why is it okay to see Adam Levine'[s] boobs and not Janet Jackson's," tweeted actress and host Aisha Tyler.
"Super Bowl halftime nipple rules feel inconsistent," tweeted ESPN host Katie Nolan.
Levine. Reports surfaced that Rihanna and Cardi B turned down the opportunity, in a show of solidarity with . The former San Franicsco 49ers quarterback before games in 2016 to protest racial injustice.
A Change.org petition was started asking Maroon 5 to drop out of the show, and the controversy reportedly made it difficult to book guest artists. Before the game, Levine told "Entertainment Tonight co-host Kevin Frazier he "expected" the backlash.
"When you look back on every single Super Bowl halftime show… it's this like insatiable urge to hate a little bit. I'm not in the right profession if I can't handle a little bit of controversy," Levine said.