Rihanna’s halftime show wasn’t disappointing

Otis Mazurkiewicz, Staff Writer

Like a diamond in the sky, Rihanna spent much of her halftime show in the air. Rihanna knows what it takes to hype people up, let alone a crowd of around 24,000 people. While many argue that her Superbowl show was lackluster, I believe the complete opposite.

Over the past few decades, the majority of halftime shows have been heavily pop and rock-based. But over the past few years, we have begun to see a shift in music categories for halftime shows. Take 2022’s halftime performance for example, where icons like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Mary J. Blige delivered a Rap/R&B performance. 

Critics of the 2023 show argued that Rihanna shouldn’t have been in the show due to her lack of time in the music industry. I find these critiques quite ironic, given the fact that so many of the halftime shows in the past couple of decades feature icons like Lady Gaga and the Weeknd, who received massive praise for their performances. Neither of these artists have been in the music industry as long as Rihanna has been, yet they received more praise for their performances than Rihanna did. She sang just as well as Lady Gaga and The Weeknd, if not better.

Rihanna’s halftime show at the 57th Superbowl wasn’t the greatest, but it also wasn’t terrible either. She used her halftime performance to announce her pregnancy, rubbing her belly at the beginning of her performance, to show the world her baby bump. Despite being pregant, Rihanna did not let her baby bump define her as a performer. This was clear through her intense choreography and challenging vocals during her performance.

Regarding singing, Rihanna gave it her all as per usual. Throughout her career, Rihanna has shifted from a lighter soprano voice to a much richer, mezzo-soprano voice. This shift in vocal tone was very noticeable in her performance. Her richer vocal style allowed her to project more during the halftime show. 

True, there were occasional times where Rihanna allowed the backtrack to take over her performance; however she used these times to keep up with challenging choreography. It’s quite unrealistic to expect someone to sing their hearts out while simultaneously giving their 100% when dancing. Rihanna impressively balanced the two aspects of her performance, which I believe made her performance memorable.

Not often do we see performers singing their hearts out in the air, let alone on a cable-suspended platform, but we did see that at the halftime show this year. Rihanna knew exactly how to put on a show, which is exactly what she did. With her unique ways of incorporating dance into her show and the abstract set design. At some points in the show, she fearlessly stepped onto the suspended platforms, whereas the other times, she boldly walked the ground-ridden platform where most dancers were situated. It’s clear that a lot of effort was put into this show, and that effort paid off big time. 

Rihanna’s show may not have been the most intense halftime show, but it was arguably one of the best in the past couple of decades. Given the fact that she is pregnant, there was only so much Rihanna could do.