What can be said about Usher that hasn’t already been said? He’s set the standards for all the R&B males that have come after him. From his breakthrough album My Way to the diamond- certified Confessions and to this day with his upcoming album Hard II Love, Usher sets the trends. Nowhere is this more evident than in his critically acclaimed performances. Whether he’s killing it on the dance floor or delivering powerhouse vocals, Usher knows how to put on a show. Check out nine of his best performances below.
9. “What’s Your Name” and “Yeah!” (Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2008)
While many performers feel like an afterthought at the yearly Victoria’s Secret showcase (thinkEd Sheeran being stranded on the back of the stage sadly playing guitar), Usher undeniably became at centerpiece on the 2008 runway, flirting with supermodels such as Adriana Lima and Heidi Klum and even turning a filler track like “What’s Your Name” into a great performance.
8. “Love in this Club” (BET Awards 2008)
After a four-year break from music, this performance marked Usher’s return to the award show stage. While his comeback could have faltered like so many before him, Usher’s opening
performance showed that he could still rock moves both new and old.
7. “OMG (Grammy Awards 2011)
While technically a performance of his protégé Justin Bieber, Usher brought his A-game to this performance of his 2010 dance hit.
6. “U Don’t Have To Call” (BET Awards 2002)
Still fresh on the scene, Usher delivered a solid performance. From recreating the bed scene of the hit’s music video to performing on an elevated platform encircled by fire, Usher proved that he was here to stay.
5. “You Rock My World” with Michael Jackson and Chris Tucker
(Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, 2001)
It’s not often that you get to meet your idol, let alone perform with them. Here a young Usher performs the classic “You Rock My World” with Michael Jackson. Comedian Chris Tucker alsojoins in on the fun.
4. “Bad Girl” with Beyoncé (Live from Puerto Rico, 2005)
What really needs to said about this performance? The two stars have always been the greatest performers of their generation and it’s great to see them perform together on stage.
3. “Superstar” (The Oprah Winfrey Show, 2005)
While best known for his dance moves, Usher also has an undeniable voice. His talent was front and center in this tribute to Luther Vandross several months after the legendary balladeer passed away. Usher had previously covered “Superstar” for Confessions, but his voice truly shines in this live version.
2. “Gone Too Soon” (Michael Jackson memorial service, 2009)
While many people poured their hearts out for the late Michael Jackson at his memorial service, Usher’s tribute, while simple, stood out for the combination of Usher’s heavenly vocals and the poignant lyrics. The moment Usher lays a hand on Jackson’s casket could melt a frozen heart.
1. “Confessions” & Yeah!” (MTV Video Music Awards 2004)
Usher wasn’t holding back when he opened the 2004 Video Music Awards, the clear highlight of that night’s events. Opening up on Usher in the rain performing the hit “Confessions”, the performance recreated Usher’s dramatic shirt removal from the song’s video before transitioning to the club anthem “Yeah!” featuring Ludacris, Lil Jon, and an all-out dance party. The performance was the cherry on top after Usher’s absolute domination of the year.
What are your favorite Usher performances?
Usher released his eighth album Hard II Love on September 16, 2016