What’s poppin? Not Jack Harlow’s Thanksgiving halftime performance

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Nov 24, 2023 at 12:39 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

Hey, Jack Harlow, what in the world happened to you during that Thanksgiving halftime show? In what might go down as one of the most cringe-worthy performances in recent memory, the American rapper emerged from a makeshift igloo, belting out ‘WHATS POPPIN’ while a rather peculiar hype man gave an unconventional performance behind him.

Navigating his way from the igloo onto the field, Harlow treated viewers to renditions of ‘Industry Baby’, ‘First Class’, and ‘Lovin On Me’. However, what could have been a significant exposure opportunity for the young artist turned into a hotbed of criticism. Social media erupted with disapproval, with viewers quick to label it the “worst halftime show ever.”

@overtimeszn

That was interesting 🙂 (via @NFL) #thanksgiving #jackharlow #football #nfl #halftimeshow #lions #greenbay #packers

♬ original sound - Overtimeszn

The set design bore the brunt of the mockery, with many describing it as “cheap-looking” and comparing it to something out of a middle school play. Even former NFL player Chris Long couldn’t resist poking fun at the budget, sarcastically suggesting: “This Jack Harlow set budget was like 36 dollars.” ESPN’s Pat McAfee chimed in, highlighting the challenges posed by the set design.

As if the performance wasn’t bizarre enough, confusion ensued over the identity and abrupt exit of the hype man within the first minute of Harlow’s act. Critics questioned the decision to feature an up-and-coming rapper, suggesting that NFL fans might not be familiar with him.

Unlike Harlow, Dolly Parton dazzled fans at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium during the Thanksgiving halftime show for the Cowboys vs. Washington Commanders game. The stark juxtaposition between Harlow’s performance and Parton’s iconic presence only intensified the scrutiny.

Amid the fallout, Harlow took to social media, expressing his honour at performing at the venue. Yet, the cringe factor lingered, leaving fans and critics alike to ponder what went wrong during a performance that will probably be remembered more for its awkwardness than its musical prowess.

“On some real sh*t the main thing that pushed me to say yes to this Thanksgiving halftime show aside from the opportunity itself is how much family I have in Detroit and all the times I spent growing up visiting the city,” Harlow wrote on Instagram.

In the end, as Harlow left the field, the Lions suffered a 29-22 loss, leaving viewers to wonder if the halftime show had, in fact, ‘ruined Thanksgiving’ for those who tuned in.

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