Review: Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show takeover

By Carolina Maciel and Jocelyn Reyes, Feb. 21, 2023

Nine-time Grammy winning artist Rihanna, performed at the 57th annual Super Bowl after seven years of not performing. The highly anticipated halftime show took place on Sunday Feb. 12 during which the artist revealed their second pregnancy.

The game was held at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, . with the Kansas City Chiefs playing against the Philadelphia Eagles.

During the 13-minute performance, Rihanna illuminated the big stage, performing a snippet of her most popular hits. The set list included “Bitch Better Have My Money,” “Where Have You Been,” “Only Girl (In The World),” “We Found Love,” “Rude Boy,” “Work,” “Wild Thoughts,” “Pour It Up,” “All of the Lights,” “Run This Town,” “Umbrella” and “Diamonds.”

Her performance was one of the highest streamed Super Bowl halftime shows, gaining a total of 118.7 million views. Earning more views than the actual Super Bowl itself, which only had a total of 113 million views.

In the previous Super Bowl halftime shows, performers have brought out a special surprise guest. But Rihanna shined like a diamond and delivered a great show all by herself. Only she did have a surprise special guest. During the performance she revealed her second pregnancy just soon after giving birth to her first child last year in May, whom she shares with rapper A$AP Rocky. Rihanna alluded to her pregnancy with a subtle rub of her stomach.

The announcement of her performance came as a surprise to many following a 2019 interview with “Vogue” where the artist refused the NFL’s offer to perform at the halftime show. She was one of the many high-profile artists who turned the NFL down. It was reported she took the stance after Colin Kaepernick was blacklisted from the NFL for taking a knee during the national anthem back in 2017.

In a recent interview with “British Vogue,” Rihanna explained felt she would have a greater impact as an artist through her representation of the urban community. As last year’s performers Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Doggand Mary J. Blige represented the hip hop community.

Looking flawless, the artist turned makeup mogul promoted her Fenty Beauty line by fixing her look mid performance. Strutting in a bright red jumpsuit, a plastic corsage with matching shoes and sporting a ponytail with braids. Unlike many performers in years past, Rihanna’s performance only included one outfit. This made it even more iconic, knowing that the outfit she was wearing was made for her personally by luxury labels Loewe and Alaïa.

The visuals for the show were a great work of art, including blue LED lights which lit up the crowd. Her army of 80 dancers were dressed in all white puffer jackets with matching pants. The performance included a floating stage, where the performer floated up and down on. Fireworks lit up the sky throughout the show with a visual that resembled an American flag.

Despite the excitement of many, Rihanna received backlash for the simplicity of her performance compared to other previous headliners. But the biggest night in the NFL belonged to Rihanna as she closed out the show with “Diamonds.” Riri gazed across the 72,000 fans in the stadium with satisfaction, knowing she delivered an amazing performance.

Feature image courtesy of Bogomil Mihaylov

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