REVIEW: Rihanna delivers captivating Super Bowl performance


Courtesy NFL via Youtube

Rihanna and her backup dancers strike a pose before transitioning into singing “Run This Town.”

Arielle Chin, Assistant Opinion Editor

The Philadelphia Eagles were up ten points against the Kansas City Chiefs (24-14) at the Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12. Moments later, nine-time Grammy award winning artist, Rihanna, took the State Farm Stadium stage for the halftime show and performed a setlist of 12 songs, her first public performance since the 2018 Grammys.

Rihanna had thirteen and a half minutes to perform her songs for almost 190 million viewers. Accompanied by over 100 backup dancers, spectators watched as they seamlessly performed impressive choreography while several dancers were elevated above ground at around 15 to 60 feet high. 

Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime setlist included the following songs: “B**** Better Have My Money,” “Where Have You Been,” “Only Girl,” “We Found Love,” “Rude Boy,” “Work,” “Wild Thoughts,” “Birthday Cake/ Pour It Up,” “All of the Lights,” “Run This Town,” “Umbrella” and “Diamonds.”

One of the most exciting parts of the performance was when the backup dancers broke out in a dynamic choreography after Rihanna performed the song, “We Found Love.” All of the backup dancers were so in sync throughout the entire performance, but it was most noticeable during the 30 second transition to her fifth song, “Rude Boy.”  

Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show encompassed many visually pleasing elements. From the neon floating stage to the fluidity of her backup dancers, her performance definitely caught my attention. New Zealand choreographer Parris Goebel certainly showcased the talents of her backup dancers through his choreography. However, Rihanna’s performance alone did not seem to be as over the top compared to past halftime show performers such as Lady Gaga (2017) and Beyoncé with special guests Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams (2013). 

My favorite part of the performance was when Rihanna performed her last song, “Diamonds,” because the whole stadium was filled with flashlights from spectators’ phones. As she sang the song, you couldn’t help but notice all of the lights “shining bright like a diamond” behind her. 

Dressed in an all red outfit, Rihanna debuted her baby bump which confirmed speculations that she is pregnant with her second child after giving birth to her first child, a boy, in May 2022 with her partner, A$AP Rocky. 

Rihanna was not the only star with an incredible performance at the halftime show. Justina Miles, a 20 year old nursing student at HBCU Bowie State University, caught national attention after signing an electrifying ASL interpretation of the Grammy award winning artist’s performance while she was performing on stage. She has made history as the first ever deaf African American woman to perform at the Super Bowl. 

Rihanna’s latest album “Anti” was released in 2016. Since then, she has launched two successful businesses, Fenty Beauty in 2017 and Savage X Fenty in 2018. However, many of her fans are left wondering if she will be releasing a new album in the near future as she has not been active in the music industry for the past six years.

Despite these questions surrounding Rihanna’s current involvement in the music industry, she was able to come back and perform live, delivering a captivating “concert” during the Super Bowl LVII halftime show.