Rihanna’s performance shines bright at the Super Bowl Halftime Show

Eliana Wolf, Reporter

Americans across the country anticipate the Super Bowl halftime show for months leading up to the big event. Some years have been exciting, like Katy Perry’s 2016 “Left Shark Performance,” or the Weeknd’s 2021 apocalyptic show that reflected a time of great national stress. This Sunday, at Super Bowl LVII, was the first time Rihanna performed since the birth of her baby boy in May 2022. While she delivered a radiant performance, it was not as radiant as the usual standard of Rihanna’s performances. 

The performance’s biggest surprise was that Rihanna confirmed that she was pregnant with her second child. While there were no guest performers, there was a lot of excitement around Rihanna’s pregnancy and the manner in which she revealed it. 

Rihanna began the show singing, “B**** Better Have My Money,” with a strong debut in her electric red outfit, which served as a dramatic contrast to her white costumed dancers. Her dancers were all uniformly dressed in puffer coats and sunglasses. There was a lot of excitement and energy in the beginning, with hope for successful costume changes and exciting sets. 

Rihanna performed a record number of 12 songs at a halftime show, however, she only previewed around one minute of each song. Some of the performances included songs from her older albums, such as “Talk that Talk” and “Good Girl Gone Bad.” There were only 13 minutes to perform, which was not enough time for the viewers to fully appreciate the entirety of the song. The heavy electronic additions to each song gave it more of a nightclub feel, instead of a nostalgic tour of her music from the early 2010s. 

Rihanna’s dancing was minimal as she was pregnant, with her backup dancers doing most of it. The coordination of the dancers was off the charts, with aerial footage of red against white showing intricate formations. The dancing intensified her performance by making the drum beats especially prominent to the sharp dance movements. 

Rihanna’s performance ended with her elevation out of the stadium as she sang “Diamonds,” that left the audience hanging on for more. As she was being elevated on the platform, the message of “shining bright like a diamond” was an uplifting message for her grand finale. She topped the song off with fireworks that glistened like diamonds, giving the song a visual representation of what “diamonds in the sky” looks like. Despite this engaging energy and imagery, it was disappointing that there was no guest appearance. 

Overall, this halftime show fell short, with no costume changes and minimal set modifications. In previous halftime shows in the past, there were guest appearances and multiple different segments of full songs with a different feel to each song. Rihanna’s performance on Sunday night was entertaining for the first five minutes but left viewers wondering why there wasn’t more.