Rihanna halftime show at Super Bowl: what songs did she play, what was the full setlist?

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Rihanna performed during the halftime show of Super Bowl 57

Rihanna made her long-awaited comeback last night on the biggest possible stage: the Super Bowl halftime slot.

The Barbadian singer, 34, has not performed live since 2016 and her 13 minute set at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona was highly anticipated. Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles are competing for the Lombardia Trophy on Sunday (12 February).

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However for many fans across the world, Rihanna’s halftime show was the big draw - along with the adverts and movie trailers which debuted throughout the night. It was broadcast live on ITV and Sky Sports in the UK, with both channels showing the singer’s performance.

Rihanna performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona (Getty Images)Rihanna performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona (Getty Images)
Rihanna performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona (Getty Images) | Getty Images

What was the setlist be for the halftime show?

The details on Rihanna’s performance were tight lipped ahead of time, with plenty of surprises on the day. It was the first time Rihanna has performed live in seven years, meaning we don’t have a lot of recent evidence of setlists to look to for hints of songs to expect.

Here are the songs she performed in a medley:

  • Bitch Better Have My Money

  • Where Have You Been

  • Only Girl (In the World)

  • Diamonds

  • We Found Love

  • Snippet of S&M was played

  • Rude Boy (remix)

  • Work

  • Don’t Stop the Music

  • Wild Thoughts

  • Pour It Out

  • All of the Lights

  • Run This Town

  • Umbrella

  • Diamond (reprise of earlier track)

Prior to the game, Rihanna admitted the “biggest challenge” ahead of the show was forming the setlist from her extensive back catalogue – having written 39 separate lists as of the Thursday before the show. “That was the hardest part,” she said.

“Deciding how to maximise 13 minutes but also celebrate it. That’s what the show is going to be, it’s going to be a celebration of my catalogue in the best way that we could have put it together. You only have 13 minutes, that’s the challenge, so you’re trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes so it’s difficult – we know some songs that you have to lose because of that.

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“But I think we did a pretty good job at narrowing it down.” She added that every minor change to the performance, including instrumental cuts, had resulted in the creation of a new setlist.

Rihanna performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Rihanna performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Rihanna performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Were there any special guests?

The rumours were that Rihanna was to be joined by guests during the halftime show, but she played it solo. Super Bowl performances regularly feature special guests, from 50 Cent joining Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar on stage last year, to Bad Bunny and J Balvin supporting Shakira and J. Lo in 2020.

Since 2010, only The Who, Lady Gaga and The Weeknd have not been joined by special guests. The names of any guests who could join Rihanna on stage have been kept closely under wraps.

However USA Today reports that Jay Z and Drake had been among the favourites ahead of the show. But they didn’t feature. Even though Rihanna played Run This Town, which is a Jay Z song - he did not appear.

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What has she said about the halftime show?

Despite only lasting 13 minutes on the night, weeks of planning and preparation have gone into Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show. The Barbadian singer said up to 400 people had been involved in the production process, and almost 40 setlist iterations created for the highly anticipated performance.

Speaking at the Apple Music pre-game press conference, the singer said she had been so focused on the show that she had forgotten about all other upcoming events including Valentine’s Day and even her own birthday.

“It’s literally like 300 to 400 people breaking the stage down and building it back up and getting it out in eight minutes. It’s incredible. It’s almost impossible,” she said.

Rihanna, who welcomed her first child last year, said the physical training and preparation for the show had been “immense for many reasons”. “I haven’t done the show in a minute,” she said.

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“You’re just running around for 13 minutes trying to put a two-hour set into 13 minutes, and… from the time it starts it just never ends until it’s the very last second. It takes a toll on your body, it does.”

But Rihanna stressed the importance of being personally involved with every aspect of the show, whether or not it “flops or flies”. “My name has to stand by that, and so I really get involved with every aspect of anything that I do, whether it’s a Super Bowl, whether it’s a makeup product, whether it’s Savage lingerie – whatever I do,” she said.

“I’m that annoying girl who’s going to talk about everything. I want to see the copy on the website, I wanted to name every lipstick that I made. I care about it and love it. I really do.”

Rihanna also said that her performance was “important” for representation and that she was excited to bring her homeland of Barbados to the world. “Representing for immigrants, representing for my country Barbados, representing for black women everywhere… I just think that’s really important, (it’s) key for people to see the possibilities, and I’m honoured to be doing this,” she said.

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“It’s a long way from home. It’s a beautiful journey that I’m on, and I could have never guessed that I would have made it here. So it’s a celebration of that. I’m excited to do that and I’m really excited to have Barbados on the Super Bowl.”

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