Did Rihanna Run This Town?: Halftime Show Review


rawpixel.com / U.S. Department of Defense (Source)

Rihanna sings during The Concert for Valor in Washington, D.C. Nov. 11, 2014. Original public domain image from Flickr

Joie Evar, Staff Writer

Just as many of us are recovering from the intense 2023 Super Bowl, many of us are also still recovering from its nostalgic halftime show. For those of you who aren’t familiar with yard-lines and endzones, and pretty much just watch the big game to see your favorite celebs up on the screen during halftime, I’ll be the first to admit that I am with you. Halftime shows are when your favorite stars sing all of their greatest hits and give their performance of a lifetime. As for this year’s show, I have never seen more mixed reviews on a halftime performance in my life. Let me just start by saying that a review of a halftime performance is not a review of the actual artist. Rhianna’s leadership in pop culture, business, and, of course, music speaks volumes within itself. However, as a viewer of this year’s show, my take is not exactly in the Rhi Rhi “stan” category, as I was extremely underwhelmed.

Yes, there are many things to be said about what Rhianna did on stage on Sunday. What was impressive was that she embodied how most male artists perform; instead of doing a stereotypical all-out performance, she remained mostly still while her dancers danced around her. This further enhanced the boss girl image of Rhianna and how she differentiates herself from many other artists. She’s not afraid to do less and she’s especially not afraid of heights, and even more so while pregnant! For these reasons I definitely admire her for the performance, but on the other hand, there are many reasons why it didn’t exactly “work” for me.

If you’re going to go with the “less is more” idea, you have to make sure you’re giving it your best version of “less” you can. However, Rhianna didn’t play her most famous song, deceiving a ton of the audience members. Did she think she was just not going to sing “Needed Me,” “Please Don’t Stop the Music,” and “Disturbia” and just… get away with it? I think not. Additionally, there were no surprises within the show, no outfit changes, no special guests, or any movements on a horizontal level. All we got was a Fenty feature? The whole time, I was waiting for the moment where I wasn’t sure what was coming next, but instead I found it to be extremely predictable. For instance Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and even the controversial Super Bowl performer Justin Timberlake all sang their hearts out with a burning passion, but I did not grasp that same drive from Rhianna. 

Considering Rhianna’s many crowd-pumping songs and her authentic creativity, I just felt that there was so much more that could have been done. Unfortunately, there is not much I will be remembering or taking away from her performance. With that being said, she did “shine bright like a diamond” and will always be an icon of mine, just as she is for so many others. I can’t wait for next year’s show and next year’s performer! My money’s on Drake!