Rihanna slays at the halftime show

The baby bump seems to have overshadowed the stunning performance

MORGEN WHITE, Evergreen columnist

Rihanna put on a near-perfect halftime show at 8.7/10, only losing points for lack of creativity when it came to the show’s visual elements.

The Super Bowl halftime show is usually an iconic moment for Americans, although some years are more momentous than others. Some even fuel large controversies. But this year’s headline was Rihanna’s subtle pregnancy announcement.

The baby bump left onlookers confused and intrigued by Rihanna’s bump. Only minutes into the halftime show, TikToks, such as @frenchinoklahoma, and other social media content were made about Rihanna’s baby status.

Many new moms online were hoping that this would shine a light on embracing the postpartum belly bump, but it turned out that Rihanna was indeed pregnant with her second child.

Much of the content on social media is aimed at Rihanna’s baby bump rather than the show itself.

Rihanna started the set with “Bitch Better Have My Money” on a raised platform held by cables. The artist wore all red, with a shiny red breastplate underneath her jacket. The look reminded some of Kanye’s Donda album release in 2021, which sparked controversy and criticism of Rihanna as the rapper made anti-Semitic comments at the end of last year.

Rihanna continued her performance with “Where Have You Been,” “Only Girl (in the world)” and “We Found Love.” “S&M” was teased in the background track before she moved on to “Rude Boy.”

“Rude Boy” is where things got more interesting choreography-wise as the background dancers got the main focus of the camera before revealing Rihanna in an interesting butt-grabbing pose.

The focus stayed on the background dancers who danced for Rihanna as she transitioned to ‘Work,” “Wild Thoughts” and “Pour It Up”

Many of the memes spawned from the transition to “All of the Lights” due to the marshmallow-like appearance of the backup dancers. The song belongs to artist Kanye West and featured Rihanna.

The backup dancers wore puffy white outfits, which some have compared to marshmallows. They ran toward the stage with their arms outstretched.

The artist transitioned into “Run This Town,” a song that belongs to Jay-Z featuring Rihanna.

Generally, artists close their shows with their most iconic songs. Rihanna did not disappoint as she launched into “Umbrella,” which was followed by “Diamonds” to end the set.

The set list made a lot of sense and the choreography was superb, but what didn’t hit the mark was the visuals.

“Umbrella” is arguably one of Rihanna’s most iconic and well-known songs. The song has cemented its legacy through other formats of use, such as Tom Holland’s lip sync battle performance.

There were no rain or water visual elements during the show.

Holland’s performance of the song, as well as the official music video released in 2009, depict water of some sort, which is the main reason the visuals did not stack up to the song’s iconic history.

As Rihanna transitioned into “Diamonds” the crowd behind her held their camera flashlights up, which was a cool effect, but quite bland for the finale.

The fireworks were not super astounding either as they did not depict anything specific, just your everyday yellow/white-hued fireworks.

Although the visual elements were lacking, you cannot deny Rihanna’s vocal ability. Rihanna’s voice did not falter during all 13 minutes of her performance.