Review: Rihanna shines bright during halftime show



Rihanna performs during the halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl 57 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

No special guests. Just Rihanna. 

After five years of hiatus, having her first child, and building her brand, Rihanna took center stage at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, for Super Bowl LVII’s halftime show. In 13 minutes, she performed 12 snippets of her most well-known hits with dancers dressed in white that reflected every one of her moves on the stage. 

Rihanna’s last album, “Anti,” was released in 2016, and many fans, including myself, believed that she would start making new music after her Super Bowl performance. Instead, she asserted that she was pregnant with her second child and had an off-stage private life to return to.

Dressed in a bright red jumpsuit and a coat, a tribute to Andre Leon Talley, Rihanna opened her 13-minute set with “B*itch Better Have My Money. Although the song never made it into a proper studio album, this is Rih’s most well-known hit, so it doesn’t surprise me that she started with it. She was restricted in her movement since she was limited to only the platform, but she didn’t overdo the dancing. Instead, she held a strong court in the middle of the crowd of more than 100 dancers, participating in their moves but never outdoing them.

Rihanna then performed her hits “Where Have You Been,” “Only Girl,” “Diamonds,” and “We Found Love” The crowd seemed to enjoy the song selection as they cheered and sang along. During these songs, there was less dancing and more flashing lights. However, for her song “Rude Boy” and “Work,” the vocals were short-lived in favor of a dance routine, with an array of backup dancers around Rihanna as she called the moves to them.

As the melody and beat of “All of the Lights,” a decade-plus-old collaboration with Ye (formerly Kanye West), echoed through the arena, backup dancers came out from the fields under the platform where she was. Rihanna took a compact from the outstretched hand of one of her dancers with her right hand and applied two dabs of powder, a nod to Fenty Beauty. She followed that song immediately with “Run This Town,” another collaboration with Ye (and Jay-Z).

To conclude her performance with her inspirational hit “Diamonds.” She performed this with minimal dancing and standing solo on stage with a puffy red coat. The entire stadium surrounded her with lights, and she was the center of attention. 

While the minimalistic approach and the fact that she will not have new music coming out was a little disappointing, it’s impressive that she performed solo and returned to the big stage. 

Overall I give it a 9/10.