On Feb. 12, Rihanna truly was the only girl in the world.
After a seven year hiatus from music, the singer returned to the stage to perform at the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show, the first to be sponsored by Apple Music instead of Pepsi, where she pulled out all the stops.
Rihanna’s absence from live performances has given her plenty of time for other ventures, such as her Fenty beauty line, which she slyly referenced during her performance. One of her backup dancers handed her a Fenty makeup INVISIMATTE setting powder to touch up her face during her performance; Rihanna is a business woman first and performer second.
Another title she has taken on in the past seven years is mother, giving birth to her first child in May 2022 with partner A$AP Rocky. Not only was it impressive for Rihanna to give this large-scale performance only 8 months after giving birth, but the queen herself did it while pregnant for the second time, which a representative from Rihanna’s team confirmed minutes after she stepped off the stage.
As much as the world missed Rihanna and needed this performance, her second pregnancy hints at the fact that she will not be returning with new music just yet. Nonetheless, it was a gift to see her on the stage again.
Rihanna began her set with the hit, “Bitch Better Have My Money,” as she floated down on a platform suspended in the air wearing a red jumpsuit. This singer was surrounded by backup dancers that had a strong resemblance to the Michelin tire man with their white large jumpsuits. The singer then sang “Where Have You Been,” which felt very fitting, as this is all that fans have been wondering of her for the past seven years.
She then continued to sing fan favorites, “Only Girl (In the World),” “We Found Love,” “Rude Boy,” and “Work,” among a few others. Rihanna has had more than 60 songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100, so this set list must have been daunting to compose. She admitted that she revised the setlist 39 times.
Because Rihanna’s songs themselves are so widely loved and well known, she didn’t need any special effects or special guests to make this performance memorable. Her backup dancers did most of the choreography as she strutted back and forth on the stage (remember, she’s pregnant).
The stage was lit with strobe lights, but the most notable part of her performance was the finale. Rihanna floated to the middle of the stadium, solo. Standing alone on this platform in the air, the lights dimmed, Rihanna sang, “Diamonds.”
With the phone flashlights of those in the audience surrounding her, Robyn Rihanna Fenty truly was a diamond in the sky.
This performance by the artist and beauty mogul was everything fans wanted and more, and one can only hope there won’t be another seven year hiatus before we see Rihanna again.