Body Language Expert Tells Us If The Spark Between Usher & Alicia Keys Was Real At 2024 Super Bowl

Usher's former protégé Justin Bieber didn't join him on stage during his Super Bowl LVIII halftime show, but Bieber was at the game to watch his "Somebody to Love" collaborator perform with H.E.R., Ludacris, Lil Jon,, and Alicia Keys.

Usher briefly ceded the spotlight to Keys so that she could perform a snippet of her solo hit, "If I Ain't Got You," which was a fitting intro since Usher was featured on a remix of the song. She looked regal in a glittering red catsuit and cape, and she was seated at a gleaming piano of the same color. Keys flashed a beaming smile at Usher when he joined her. He casually leaned against the piano and crossed his ankles, looking like a dashing bachelor about to chat up an attractive single lady seated at a bar. Oh, and said single lady definitely looked receptive to his attention.

As Keys shed her cape, Usher began serenading her with their 2004 duet "My Boo." He kept his eyes glued to her as they sang together, and he gently caressed her hip at one point. As they concluded their performance, Usher stood behind Keys and held her in a long embrace. The two singers oozed sensuality, but what was really going on as they glided across the stage? Jess Ponce III, body language expert, communication coach, and author of "A.W.E.S.O.M.E.," exclusively spoke to Nicki Swift about the story their bodies were telling.

What we were seeing was likely friendly fire

Alicia Keys' performance with Usher set the internet ablaze, with some viewers suggesting that Keys' husband Swizz Beatz was not going to like it. But no, that girl wasn't really on fire when Usher gently touched her and gazed deeply into her eyes. According to Jess Ponce III, what viewers at home were seeing was just the companionable chemistry of two close pals who know how to put on a show. 

"A closer look at their faces revealed the genuine joy of two dear friends enjoying a fantastic time together," says Ponce. "It's heartwarming to witness such a compelling and complementary connection between two individuals." Keys told ThisisRnB that she and Usher were both just 14 when they first met, so they really do go way back.

According to Ponce, the pair's special connection and genuine affection for each other was especially evident when Usher wrapped his arms around Keys at the end of their performance. "Her eyes spoke volumes, conveying that she was truly having the time of her life with a dear friend," the body language expert says. He also believes that this is one of the moments from Usher's halftime show that will stick with viewers. However, fans will just have to settle for a showmance between the singers — not only is Keys married, but People reports that Usher and his actual boo, Jennifer Goicoechea, got a marriage license right before the Super Bowl.