Over the Top or Underwhelming?

Following one of the most anticipated Super Bowl halftime shows in history, many are juggling if Rihanna’s performance was overdone or not done enough.


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Singer, songwriter, and 2023 Super Bowl Halftime performer Rihanna.

From jokes like “Rihanna concert interrupted by a football game. Weird but whatever” printed onto t-shirts to memes of the incoming dancers in their white suits, the Super Bowl halftime show is annually one of the more pivotal moments in pop culture. 

For Rihanna fans, this was one of the most anticipated Super Bowl halftime shows of all time considering that Rihanna hasn’t released a new album in over seven long years. To some, it was more than what was needed, to others, it was subpar. 

The performance started off with Rihanna and her dancers on what looks like levitating platforms above the field.  She stared intensely out into the crowd and camera, building up to the excitement of her performance, the beginning might not be what people wanted.

The opening song “B- Better Have My Money” an infamous hype up song to set the tone of the performance, followed by her most popular songs from her vast discography, including hits like “Only Girl in the World,”  “We Found Love,”  “Work,”  “Wild Thoughts,”  “Umbrella,” and “Diamonds,” just to name a few. 

These songs were paired with elaborate dance routines by the backup dancers, but many feel as if Rihanna wasn’t putting in nearly as much effort as her dancers. While they moved fast paced  from one side of the stage to the other, Rihanna stayed in a more centralized area to perform. 

Reasons as to why she didn’t put in as much effort as the typical Riri performances have been linked to the fact that she is pregnant with baby number two, after giving birth to baby number one in May of 2022 to famous rapper A$AP Rocky. 

Others however believe that the dancing was provocative and too much for the Super Bowl. Dancers wore large, puffy white suits with their hoods up and glasses on, many people watching didn’t understand the significance of outfits. 

The dance moves of the dancers were more suggestive than what has been normally choreographed for the Super Bowl, which lead to viewers being offended by that. 

The music selection also made heads turn. Die hard Rihanna fans were disappointed by the selection, feeling like she didn’t use the right hits that represent her and could get the crowd moving more, for example “Pon De Replay”, her first big hit single, was one that was excluded from the line up. 

On the other end of the spectrum, critics thought her music choice, especially her opening song “B- Better Have My Money,” was too raunchy for a program seen by millions of people. That mixed with the more provocative dancing left the more conservative viewers to be more angry. 

My whole opinion about the whole performance was that it was a great performance that had to fit into a short amount of time. People are very easy to be critical over things that they themselves wouldn’t even have the courage to do. 

To judge for yourself, go to the Super Bowls official Youtube page to view the full performance.