- Damaris Chanza
Was Rihanna's Halftime Show The Amazing Comeback We Were Hoping For?
Rihanna just dominated the Super Bowl stage with decade-old bangers in the most nonchalant way, or did she?
Everyone was excited when Rihanna was announced as the halftime show performer for Super Bowl LVII. Fans prepared for her momentous return to music after years of hiding from the pop stardom that started her celebrity.
Rihanna has not released an album since 2016's Anti and hasn't performed since the 2018 Grammys. There have been brief teasers of new music, but nothing was released or formally announced. Instead, Rihanna focuses on her fashion, lingerie, and cosmetics brand, Fenty. She's also a new mother to her son, who she shares with rapper A$AP Rocky.
Donning a monochrome red jumpsuit, opened to reveal her baby bump, Rihanna started her performance on an LED-lit platform above the stage. A blink-and-you-’ll-miss-it moment where she touches her belly revealed the special guest of the performance, her unborn child. It was so quick that her agent had to confirm the pregnancy after the performance.
Surrounded by dancers dressed like futuristic Michelin Man in a way that's comparable to the mannequin head meme, she performed a medley of some of her greatest hit songs, including Bitch Better Have My Money, Where Have You Been, Only Girl (In The World), Rude Boy, Work, Wild Thoughts, Pour it Up, All of the Lights, Run This Town, Umbrella, and Diamonds.
Despite all the anticipation behind the performance, many were underwhelmed.
There were no outfit changes, guest appearances, over-the-top set décor, political or social statements, or even a moment where an audible "WOW" was required.
The pace felt slow and rushed all at the same time. Rihanna's low-energy performance has been attributed to her signature ease and nonchalant style, but it felt a little lazy even for her. Could it be because she's far enough along in her pregnancy to show potentially preventing movement or stamina? Could it be because she's a little rusty after seven years without performing? Regardless, each song on the set list was worth a head bop and sing-along that I'm sure brought audience members to their feet.
Rihanna's halftime show would have been considered decent if it were a concert in the middle of a tour but disappointing for her grand comeback on arguably the biggest stage in music.
The entire thirteen minutes she was on stage could be considered an extension of the famous Super Bowl commercials. In another blink-and-you-'ll-miss-it moment, she took a make-up pallet from one of her dancers, put on two dabs of powder, and quickly handed it back. This small moment has led to an unbelievable increase in searches for Fenty Beauty.
More importantly, these thirteen minutes acted not as a comeback but as a reminder. Even in its inferiority, the show has been labeled as iconic and the best halftime show of all time. Just the conversation around her attendance at the show garnered so much media attention. She didn't bother to announce a new project in or outside of music. She showed up on a stage resembling the Super Mario Bros background, lip-synced to a bunch of beloved old songs, and it was over. Instead, she announced precisely why she wouldn't be returning to music, her upcoming child.
Rihanna used this performance to remind us that she doesn't need to come back to music; she already has other, more important things to do. So much so that she couldn't be bothered to make the showstopping halftime show that the Super Bowl is synonymous with. Even with minimal effort, she has raving reviews. Maybe it's the nostalgia, but this performance reminds us that she would obliterate the music industry if she felt like it. Rihanna's halftime show was the epitome of "don't act like you forgot."