7 biggest talking points from Rihanna’s epic 2023 Super Bowl halftime show


Rihanna has finally returned to the live stage with an explosive halftime show at the 2023 Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl (13 February) took place in Glendale, Ariz in State Farm Stadium and pulled in celebrities from around the world to watch the spectacle including Jay Z, Blue Ivy, Adele, Cardi B and Cara Delevingne.

And after months of secrecy around her setlist and guest appearances, global pop star Rihanna took centre stage to perform a career-spanning selection of her greatest hits.

The show-stopping performance collected the best from her 17-year catalogue, ranging from timeless classics such as “Umbrella” through to a crowd-rising rendition of her hit song “Diamond.”

After a nearly six-year hiatus, the halftime show has set Rihanna’s musical comeback off with a bang; and even more impressively, she has also now made history as the first pregnant woman to headline the event.

Rihanna performs during Super Bowl halftime show (Getty)
Rihanna performs during Super Bowl halftime show (Getty)

This halftime show, Rihanna promised to celebrate “immigrants, Barbados and Black women everywhere”, kicking it off with a stirring Apple Music video set in her home town Saint Martin.

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And with Abbot Elementary‘s Sheryl Lee Ralph starting the entertainment on a pitch-perfect note with a rendition of the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, there was no doubt that it would be a night to remember.

So with the hopes of music lovers everywhere on her shoulders, here are the biggest talking points from Rihanna’s halftime show.

1. The pregnancy reveal

Rihanna began her set by revealing a very special guest appearance: a second pregnancy.

This wouldn’t be a grand and triumphant return to music without at least one surprise. The explosive news, which has since been confirmed by representatives, comes nine months after the birth of her son with A$AP Rocky.

Fans everywhere flocked to social media to share their reactions as she went onto deliver a jaw-dropping live performance. Talk about a mic drop moment.

2. Another iconic maternity look

It is undeniable that the fashion and beauty entrepreneur will always wow with her looks, but her Super Bowl outfit took it to a whole new level.

The singer donned a head-to-toe red outfit dressed up with a plastic breast plate and a sweeping floor-length jacket which she used to dramatic effect. Not only did she effortlessly pull the outfit off but she ensured that all eyes were on her in a sea of white-outfitted back-up dancers.

Having established a reputation as a maternity fashion icon during her first pregnancy, we have no doubt she will bring that same trailblazing ‘bump-first’ style back again.

Rihanna stuns in red maternity get up. (Gregory Shamus/Getty)
Rihanna stuns in red maternity get up. (Gregory Shamus/Getty)

3. Casually promoting Fenty mid-performance

Alongside being a musical icon, Rihanna is also a business mogul, building her fashion and beauty brand Fenty Beauty into one of the most well-known beauty brands today.

During her long hiatus from the music world, she has been busy innovating in the beauty space – and she is not about to let fans forget it. The singer’s halftime performance featured a three second interlude to allow the star to touch up her make-up with a trusty Fenty Beauty palette.

Suffice to say the delightfully nonchalant promo was enough to leave everyone impressed at her entrepreneurial prowess.

4. The transcendent performance of “Diamonds”

It wouldn’t be a Rihanna comeback without a rendition of one of her most famous hits, “Diamonds”, and her Super Bowl setlist did not disappoint when she performed the song in the finale.

And what a closer it was. Rising high above the stadium on a floating platform, Rihanna became the standout jewel in a sea of lights as the crowd belted out: “We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky”. A moment in musical history.

Rihanna shines bright like a diamond. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty)
Rihanna shines bright like a diamond. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty)

5. Reminding everyone that she only delivers hits

Of course when it came to Rihanna’s song choices, there we no misses. Although the pop star had to go through 39 versions of the setlist, the final curation was near perfection.

After kicking off with the classic “B***h Better Have My Money”, RiRi ran through a rousing selection of her greatest hits, including “Where Have You Been”, “Only Girl (In The World)”, “We Found Love”, “Rude Boy”, “Work”, “Wild Wild”, “Blow it Up”, “All of the Lights”, “Run this Town”, “Umbrella” and, of course, “Diamonds”.

It was a true odyssey through her almost two decade career and a clear statement that she has and always will deliver number one hits.

6. Every celebrity showing their support

Rihanna truly is a celebrity among celebrities and tonight proved it more than ever as A-listers around the globe rallied for her Super Bowl performance.

As she took to the stage for the first time in five years, the crowd included Adele (who instantly became a meme), Cara Delevingne (wearing a custom made Rihanna t-shirt) as well as Jay Z and Blue Ivy.

Meanwhile, stars such as Kerry Washington (wearing the aforementioned shirt), Shakira, Janelle Monae, Katy Perry and more all took to social media to support the singer in the lead up to her performance. We’ve not seen celebrities united like this since Britney’s comeback last year.

7. Rocking those floating platforms

The halftime show was brought together by a number of iconic floating platforms which raised Rihanna up to her rightful place in the sky – and they caused quite the reaction.

Some stood in awe of the fearless way she sang, danced and swished her jacket on the wobbly stages – all while being pregnant, too.

While others shared the discerning similarities with the Nintendo design for Super Smash Bros. Yes, really.

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