Rihanna “Rihturns” at the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show


Rihanna returned to the stage after a seven-year hiatus from music. (Courtesy of Instagram)

During this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, nine-time Grammy winner Rihanna made a comeback performance for the first time since the 2018 Grammys. In a 13-minute mashup medley of 12 of her most popular songs and features, Rihanna delivered an entertaining performance and a surprise pregnancy reveal with baby number two. 

Kicking off the long awaited, highly anticipated show was the iconic “B**** Better Have My Money” followed by various remixes of other hits, including “Where Have You Been?,” “Only Girl in the World,” “We Found Love” and “Work.” Also included in the spectacle was some of the artist’s best features like Jay Z’s “Run This Town,” Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” and DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts.” 

With consistent album releases from 2005 until 2016, when she released her record “ANTI,” Rihanna’s return to music has been chalked up for years amongst fans on social media. Especially because her last album was so successful, it was painful not knowing when the next release would come. That was until recently, when she was featured on the soundtrack for Marvel’s latest project “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” With the movie’s release came two singles by the singer, a beautiful ballad “Born Again” and the track “Lift Me Up.” However, with the pregnancy revealed at the Super Bowl, fans went back to joking about how we may never see her next album. 

Regarding the halftime show itself, Rihanna wore an all-red jumpsuit and puffy coat while her entourage of dancers wore puffy all white sets and sleek black sunglasses. The performance began on a set of rising and falling platforms over a long stage that covered the middle of the field. As the show progressed and the question of her pregnancy lingered in all viewers’ minds, it was hard to blame her for the lack of extravagance that normally accompanies a Super Bowl-level performance. The show featured a lot of silly dance moves that obviously have become trends and have been recreated on Twitter and TikTok, but nonetheless it was a fun watch. People also accused Rihanna for the clear lip syncing that occurred during the set, as some points showed the microphone nowhere near her face, yet it’s not unusual for singers to have a back track during huge performances like this one. 

My personal favorite part of the night was finally seeing the opening song after the many theories on TikTok. It’s always fun when the internet gets collectively excited about something like this and there’s tons of content about it on every platform. In the week leading up to the game, I might’ve seen at least 10 theories a day of fans debating how Rihanna would be dressed and what opening note would stun the stadium. And while that was half the fun, it certainly wasn’t the only surprise of the night. 

When Rihanna appeared on our screens, I bet most people all had the same thought: Is she pregnant? In those first five minutes of the performance I had been preparing a spiel about how it is totally normal for a woman’s body to retain weight after pregnancy and that speculation about a woman’s body is never really okay, although extremely normalized. Further into the show however, it was becoming abundantly clear that she was nodding to her baby bump through her dances and the unzipped jumpsuit that put emphasis on it. I’m sure many of us were running to Twitter to see what people were saying, and most fans online had the same thoughts. After the performance was over, many verified accounts and even some news outlets had somewhat confirmed our suspicions and declared that the singer is in fact pregnant. 

Rihanna closed out the night by singing “Diamonds,” as she thanked the stadium with fireworks lighting up the sky. Now again, this was no crazy Super Bowl display like we’ve seen before with Lady Gaga’s extravaganza in 2017 or the incredible collaboration between Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Coldplay in 2016. However, it was just good enough to get people talking about her again, even without having to release an album in seven years.