Call her the comeback kid.
After virtually abandoning her music career for six years, Rihanna made her highly anticipated return to the stage Sunday in the grandest way possible.
The multi-hyphenate headlined the halftime show — and announced her second pregnancy — at Super Bowl LVII, where the Kansas City Chiefs went on to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Perched on a glass platform that levitated above the field, Rihanna, 34, kicked off her set with “Bitch Better Have My Money” while dressed in a red jumpsuit with a glossy bandeau above her baby bump.
The Grammy winner then ran through hits including “Where Have You Been,” “Only Girl (In the World),” “We Found Love,” “Work” and “Umbrella” from her celebrated catalog. She concluded her 13-minute, firework-filled performance with “Diamonds.”
The high-energy, Apple Music-sponsored production marked the beginning of what was supposed to be Rihanna’s long-awaited comeback, though her pregnancy may delay any plans she had.
She has not released an album since 2016’s “Anti” and wrapped up her most recent tour in November of that year.
During her extended hiatus, Rihanna only dropped one solo single, “Lift Me Up” from the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soundtrack, last October.
The chart-topping superstar spent the rest of her time off building her billion-dollar Fenty empire of beauty products and lingerie. She also became a mom, welcoming a son with her rapper boyfriend, A$AP Rocky, in May 2022.
Super Bowl 2023
Rihanna’s decision to perform at this year’s Super Bowl came after she turned down an offer to do the 2019 show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL player who caused a stir in 2016 when he knelt during the national anthem in a peaceful protest against police brutality and racial inequality.
“I couldn’t care to do [the halftime show]. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people,” she later explained. “I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within [the NFL] that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
But after Jay-Z, who discovered Rihanna in 2005, partnered with the NFL in 2019 to begin co-producing the league’s live performances, the “Love on the Brain” singer changed her tune.
Jay-Z, 53, therefore had the honor of announcing last September that his onetime protégée had signed on for the 2023 halftime show.
“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn. A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment,” the “Empire State of Mind” rapper said in a statement.
Rihanna joins an exclusive list of Super Bowl performers, including Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Prince and Madonna.
She was rumored to have a tour in the works for later this year, but it is unclear whether her pregnancy news will affect the plans.