Rihanna Super Bowl 2023 halftime show: No gimmicks, just hits

When Rihanna took the stage at Super Bowl LVII Sunday night, she gave her illustrious catalog the spotlight it deserves.

No gimmicks, just hit after hit after hit.

Sure, some may argue the performance was one-note. After all, the singer-turned-renowned fashion icon forwent costume changes, and her production elements were few and far between.

But sometimes less is more.

In 13 minutes, Rihanna managed to run through a whopping dozen songs, each one bigger than the last, reminding football fans why she has dominated the music industry for nearly two decades.

She took on solo smashes like “Umbrella,” “We Found Love,” “Diamonds” and “Bitch Better Have My Money” in addition to three of her most beloved features, “Wild Thoughts,” “All of the Lights” and “Run This Town.”

Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance featured all hits, no gimmicks.
Getty Images

All the while, Rihanna was in lockstep with her backup dancers, hitting one choreographed move after another — even when she was way above the field at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on a death-defying floating platform.

The Grammy winner has never been known to be a dexterous dancer, but the swagger she brings to her performances is indescribably intoxicating and makes it easy to forgive any technical skills she may lack.

The singer did not have any special guests but did announce her pregnancy.
The singer did not have any special guests but did announce her pregnancy.


At the end of the day, Rihanna has the power to entice the world simply by being herself — unlike past halftime acts The Weeknd, who let fun-house mirrors and bandaged dancers distract from his killer vocals in 2021, and Maroon 5, whose 2019 show descended into chaos with a “SpongeBob SquarePants” reference and puzzling guest stars.

Rihanna, 34, was smart to make her comeback performance all about the music, as any halftime show should be. Even her pregnancy reveal was subdued, with countless viewers taking to Twitter to ask, “Is she or isn’t she?” (Turns out, she is. Her rep confirmed the news during the game’s third quarter.)

So let’s cut the Fenty Beauty founder some slack. Her music has been the soundtrack of our lives since 2005, and she gave us exactly what we came for: a good time.

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