Rihanna Shines Bright At The Super Bowl Halftime Show

She brought a career-spanning medley of hits (and a surprise announcement) to high-rise platforms dozens of feet above the field at State Farm Stadium

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles have made for a nerve-wracking Super Bowl tonight (February 12). But Rihanna is the moment everyone will be talking about.

Taking the stage at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona for her first musical performance in more than five years, Rihanna reminded us why patience is vital. She opened the inaugural Apple Music halftime show with her 2015 hit “Bitch Better Have My Money,” arriving on the floating stage wearing a red trench coat with matching leather pants.

As the stage platforms descended from the air onto the main part of the field, the track quickly transitioned to her revved-up Calvin Harris-produced ”Where Have You Been” from her 2011 album Talk That Talk. Ad-libs from the album’s fan-favorite “Cockiness (Love It)” could be heard.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 12: Rihanna performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It was then when fans noticed a baby bump, leading them to theorize that she is pregnant with her second child — which was later confirmed by her rep to The Hollywood Reporter.

Next, she smoothly transitioned to “Only Girl (In The World)” from her 2010 album Loud, then quickly took us era by era.

“We Found Love” came next, as she owned the stage, surrounded by a dance crew clad in puffy white coats that never missed a beat. Within moments, she took us back to the dancehall grooves that first introduced us to the Barbadian superstar. She didn’t perform any of the singles from her first two albums, Music of the Sun and A Girl Like Me; however, hearing “Rude Boy” and “Work” felt like a trip down memory lane.

Shortly after, she sang her verse from “Wild Thoughts” — her 2017 collab with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller — giving the Navy the solo version of that song they’ve always wanted.

Of course, Rihanna always has to keep it saucy, so she took it a level up with some of her raunchier anthems. The beat to her Talk That Talk interlude “Birthday Cake” connected to her strip-club anthem, “Pour It Up.” She kept this portion of the performance fairly SFW, but sat in the center of her twerking dancers.

Shortly after, she applied a bit of her Fenty Beauty makeup before singing the chorus of her beloved 2010 Kanye West collab, “All of the Lights.” Hearing the song performed at the Super Bowl reminded why it was so monumental upon its release and why it still holds up nearly 13 years later — especially with Rihanna solo bringing it to shining life.

Maintaining the triumphant momentum, Rihanna then sang the chorus of “Run This Town,” her triumphant 2009 collaboration with Jay-Z and West. Shortly after, she took us back to where her pop reign began, with her 2007 breakthrough hit, “Umbrella.”

As the performance came to a close, she ascended back up into the air on one of the floating platforms, ending with an emotional performance of her Unapologetic hit “Diamonds” backlit by glimmering lights that could be seen throughout the stadium.

With eight albums in her arsenal and 14 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s to her credit, she managed to encapsulate the best parts of her game-changing eras in an epic 12-minute performance. Over the years, Rih’s musical hiatus — which capped off with her giving birth to her first child in May 2022 — has been felt among the Navy, as well as within the pop landscape. While she’s maintained an omnipresence in the realms of beauty and fashion, her finally taking to the stage after so long felt like such a novelty and a reclamation of a throne.

It’s clear that in her long absence from music, her vocals have become more polished, and her captivating stage presence tonight sets up more anticipation for her rumored tour. We’ve learned in the past not to hold our breath for new Rihanna music, but after tonight, it’s safe to say a new era of Rihanna is upon us.

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