Ready for Rihanna? Here’s what to know about her 2023 Super Bowl halftime show
Rihanna is ready to take on the 2023 Super Bowl for her much-anticipated comeback, years after her last live performance.
On Sunday, the Grammy winner will shine in the spotlight once again for a set she has described as a “celebration of my catalog.” Like her fans, the “Umbrella” singer knows it has been a hot minute since she’s performed for a live audience, but the new mother said she and her team have put in the work (work, work, work, work) to orchestrate an “almost impossible” set.
“The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world so as scary as that was, because I haven’t been on stage in seven years, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all,” the singer said Thursday in a pre-show interview with Nadeska Alexis for Apple Music. “It’s important for me to do this year.”
From the set list to potential guests, here’s everything we know about Riri’s Super Bowl performance:
When and where will Rihanna perform?
The “Lift Me Up” singer will headline the halftime show at Super Bowl LVII, which will take place Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will battle it out for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Pacific.
As implied, Rihanna will perform her set at the midway point of the Super Bowl — or after the second quarter, for those who don’t know much about the sports-ball.
In her Apple Music interview Thursday, the singer said she will perform on a stage that will be built and then broken down by “three to four hundred people” in a matter of eight minutes.
How can I watch the performance?
Fans looking to see Rihanna’s mini-concert will have to tune in to Super Bowl LVII. The football game will air on Fox.
Viewers without cable can watch the game on the NFL+ mobile app. Streaming platforms including Hulu, fuboTV and Sling also offer live-TV streaming.
What will she perform?
Rihanna’s catalog boasts more than a decade of hits ranging from 2005’s “Pon de Replay” to 2016’s “Love on the Brain.” But not all of them will make the Super Bowl performance, the singer said.
“[The halftime show is] going to be a celebration of my catalog in the best way that we could have put it together,” she told Apple Music. “You only have 13 minutes. That’s the challenge. You’re trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes.”
Rihanna said she and her team came up with dozens of versions of the set list before settling on the current arrangement — which is the 39th. While some fans might miss some songs, Rihanna said “that’s going to be OK.
“I think we did a pretty good job at narrowing it down.”
Among the Barbados-born artist’s most popular songs are “Umbrella,” “We Found Love,” “Only Girl (in the World) and “S&M.”
Will she have any guests?
Rihanna has kept many specifics of her Super Bowl halftime show under wraps, including whether she’ll bring any guests on stage with her.
Former collaborators Jay-Z and T.I. are heavily rumored as expected cameo appearances, according to TMZ. The website reported Thursday that A$AP Rocky, who welcomed a baby boy with Rihanna in May, is also rumored to be joining the singer.
In recent years, the Super Bowl show has featured numerous guest cameos. In 2022, 50 Cent joined headliners Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar.
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, who headlined the 2020 halftime show, brought out Bad Bunny and J Balvin.
That said, it’s likely that Rihanna will bring out some special guests. But even if she doesn’t, viewers are already winning with a Riri solo show.
Has she performed at the Super Bowl before?
Sunday will be Rihanna’s first time taking the Super Bowl stage.
But in 2019, the Fenty Beauty founder told Vogue it was “absolutely” true that she turned down the opportunity to perform at at the annual game.
Rihanna, and fellow celebs including Ava DuVernay and Cardi B, boycotted the Super Bowl that year in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who has protested against police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem.
“I couldn’t dare do that. For what?” she said. “Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler. There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”
So, why is Rihanna headlining the Super Bowl now?
Over the years, it seems the singer has come around to the Super Bowl (to some fans’ dismay), but that’s not all that has changed.
Going into Super Bowl Sunday, Rihanna now is more than just a singer and businesswoman — she’s a parent. She told Apple Music that being a mother prompted her to perform.
“When you become a mom, there’s something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world, you could do anything,” she said.
Preparing for the “jam-packed show” took a toll on her postpartum body, Rihanna said, but “it’s important for my son to see that” ambition.
Additionally, she said the Super Bowl halftime show is about “representing immigrants, representing my country Barbados, representing Black women everywhere.
“It’s a long way from home, it’s a beautiful journey that I’m on and I could have never guessed that I would have made it here,” she said. “So it’s a celebration of that.”
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