She calls the shots! Rihanna didn’t bring out any special guests during her 2023 Super Bowl halftime show performance despite several of her collaborators being in the stadium for the game.
The Barbados native, 34, made a major entrance at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday, February 12, performing live for the first time in years. The set included a mix of Rihanna’s biggest hits — including “We Found Love,” “Umbrella” and more — and a team of dancers who appeared on floating stages.
Halftime show producer Jesse Collins shared behind-the-scenes insights about how the pop star prepared for the huge career milestone, explaining why Rihanna chose to appear solo.
“I think it was just her wanting to make the statement that she could carry this thing and she did,” Collins told Entertainment Tonight after the NFL championship. “People just want to see her and so she had to give ’em a show and she did. We haven’t seen her dance like that in a long time and I thought it was just spectacular. … [I’m] just really happy to be a part of it.”
While details of the performance were kept under wraps before Sunday night, many fans wondered whether any other A-listers would join Rihanna on stage. Jay-Z, Drake and DJ Khaled — all of whom have recorded hits with the “Shut Up and Drive” singer — watched the 13-minute show from the sidelines.
“She has a massive catalog [and] not a lot of time,” Collins noted, adding that what viewers saw on Sunday was “version 39” of the gig. “She wasn’t gonna be ready until it was absolutely perfect. … It was a lot of work.”
The medley was the first time a halftime performer has been “primarily in the air for 40 percent” of the show. According to Collins, the Fenty Beauty founder didn’t let her fear of heights get in the way of creating a once-in-a-lifetime vision. “We were like, ‘You can only do this much on the field,’ and [her team was] like, ‘Well, we’ll just put it all in the air,’” he said, teasing that Rihanna felt more in her element “all the way up at the top.”
The “Pon de Replay” singer may not have included any celebrity cameos, but she still had a serious surprise for fans on Sunday night. Rihanna unveiled her baby bump mid-performance, announcing that she and ASAP Rocky have their second child on the way. The couple, who were first linked in 2019, welcomed a son in May 2022.
“They wanted another baby and were trying, but the pregnancy came sooner than expected!” a source exclusively told Us Weekly after the big reveal, adding that Rihanna and her beau, 34, were “surprised” by how soon they conceived. “Rihanna and ASAP are so thrilled to be parents again. They love their family and are so happy to be adding another member.”