Rihanna’s Return: Superbowl Halftime

Alicia Kilian, Staff Writer

Since 1967, the NFL has been holding a halftime show in between the four quarters of their Super Bowl match. Each year, a new artist is selected to be the main performer, usually accompanied by guests of their choice. The artists only get 13 minutes to perform, and many have gone above and beyond to make their mark on halftime history, using insane stage props, costume changes, and surprise guest appearances. This year’s performance was done by none other than Rihanna, but has been the subject of controversy ever since its premiere. 

Rihanna has been taking a hiatus from performing her music for a few years now. Her last concert tour was in 2016 to promote her new ANTI album, and her most recent televised performance was at the 60th Grammy Awards in 2018. As the date of her Super Bowl appearance grew closer, many fans speculated what songs she would chose to perform. Ultimately, Rihanna’s setlist included many of her famous early 2000’s hits, such as “Umbrella,” “We Found Love,” and “Where Have You Been.” However, not everyone was satisfied with her picks. Many fans spoke about songs they thought deserved to have been played, such as her debut single “Pon de Replay,” and “Shut Up and Drive,” a song off of her Good Girl Gone Bad studio album. This is not the only complaint fans seem to have, as Rihanna also did not bring out any guests for her performance, or so we thought.

Rihanna had sent out a tweet prior to her show hinting at a guest, and while many speculated it would be Drake or Jay Z, it was her indirect pregnancy announcement! Emerging with skin tight red attire, many flew to Twitter to speculate whether or not she was indeed pregnant. After her show was over, it was confirmed she was about 5-6 months pregnant by her representative. This will be her second child with her boyfriend A$AP Rocky, her first being born in May of last year. Many people are praising her for taking on such a time-consuming and high-effort task when pregnancy is already difficult enough on its own. Twitter user Raena Joy tweeted, “May Rihanna remind moms everywhere that we don’t have to “do it all.” No guests, no dizzying choreo, and no wardrobe changes and it was still enough.” However, some are blaming her for performing pregnant, saying that she shouldn’t have taken on such a responsibility when she could have been expecting another child, as it made her performance lack in certain aspects.

In regard to her actual halftime show, Rihanna not only emerged on, but also performed about half of her performance on a suspended platform ranging from 15-60 feet in the air. On said platform, she was in the middle of four other platforms, each including two of her backup dancers. Below her, a red stage was set up to match with her red jumpsuit and coat, where her backup dancers were adorned in all-white Fenty attire. Once she descended onto the stage, she performed with the dancers, moving across the stage in various formations, including ripples and trails. She finished off her performance by being lifted up in the sky while singing her hit song “Diamonds” and lighting up the sky with fireworks. 

We cannot wait to see who will cover the Super Bowl halftime show next year!