Nothing is off limits when it comes to Blake Shelton and Adam Levine‘s longstanding love/hate relationship.
During The Voice finale on Tuesday night — which crowned Team Kelly Clarkson’s Chevel Shepherd as the winner — the country star seemed to make a subtle joke about how the Maroon 5 frontman is rumored to be headlining the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show with his band.
Shelton, 42, mentioned how Levine, 39, prefers the brand Pepsi over Coke at one point during the show, which was likely a reference to the halftime performance, as it has long been sponsored by Pepsi.
A source previously confirmed to PEOPLE in September that Maroon 5 would perform at the halftime show, but if the band officially signs on for the high-profile performance it would come amid a storm of controversy. More than 75,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking them to back out of the event to support Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the #TakeAKnee movement to protest racial injustices.
“Kaepernick risked his career to take a knee for equality, and the NFL punished him for it,” the petition reads. “Until the league changes their policy and support players’ constitutional right to protest, no artists should agree to work with the NFL. Join me in asking Maroon 5 to drop out of the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show.”
“Colin Kaepernick has sacrificed his NFL career to call out violent racism in America, and players across the country have followed his lead,” the petition continues. “Maroon 5: Americans look to artists and celebrities as leaders, and you have huge opportunity to use your influence to take a stand.”
Whenever Levine has been asked about the band’s plans for the show in the past few months, he has kept his answers cryptic.
“I’m still formulating a lot of things,” Levine, 39, told Variety in a wide-ranging interview for their November hitmakers issue.
Levine previously spoke only in hypothetical terms — joking that “whoever is lucky enough to get that gig probably is gonna crush it” — when Ellen DeGeneres asked him about the Super Bowl during an appearance on her show in November.
“It’s a rumor. I can neither confirm nor deny the truth of this rumor. It’s definitely a rumor. And the rumor is a rumor that everyone seems to be discussing,” he said.
Levine’s bandmates James Valentine, Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, PJ Morton, Matt Flynn and Sam Farrar have not commented on their involvement or the mounting controversy, either.
With the performance scheduled to take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, many fans are hoping the group brings out rapper Cardi B, who is featured on their single “Girls Like You.”
“Cardi B is in negotiations to perform,” TMZ reported in September. “The main issue being discussed is whether or not she gets a solo set.”
But earlier in February, she told TMZ that if the NFL asked her to perform during halftime that she would only do so “when they hire Colin Kaepernick back.”
Rihanna reportedly turned down the opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl. “Yes, they asked her, and yes, she declined,” a source told PEOPLE in October, noting that her choice was likely intended to support Kaepernick.
This would be Maroon 5’s first ever Super Bowl performance. Last year’s show featured Justin Timberlake (for the second time) and 2017 was Lady Gaga. Other big names that have taken the stage in recent years include Beyoncé, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Missy Elliott and Lenny Kravitz.
The band’s sixth and most recent studio album, Red Pill Blues, was released in November 2017. They released their debut album Songs About Jane in 2002 and have gone on to win three Grammy Awards.
The 2019 Super Bowl halftime show airs Feb. 3 on CBS.
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