Top quality performance or just another half time show?

Dimitri N (Year 11)

Just over a week ago (at the time of writing this article) the 57th American NFL Superbowl occurred, ending with a relatively narrow win for the Kansas City Chiefs. But perhaps the most notable event from this year’s Superbowl, like many before it, was the half-time show, headlined by Rihanna. Right now, the quality of this half-time show is up for much debate, and it is that debate that will be the subject of this article.

To start with, it is important to discuss Rihanna’s situation coming into this year’s halftime show. What situation you may ask? Rihanna had her first baby only roughly nine months before. She also had not released an album since 2016. And finally, most notably, during her performance Rihanna was pregnant with her second child.

The problem that many found with the pop phenomenon’s performance was the lack of energy from Rihanna herself. Whilst this can be explained by her pregnancy, many still found the choreography boring and the star unenergetic and almost stiff in her movements. It seemed that the Superbowl’s way to make up for this was by adding a plethora of dancers who, as one unenthused fan claimed, all were dressed up to look like marshmallows. The other feature of this performance was the floating platforms that both Rihanna and a few dancers were placed on. These moved up and down to fit the dance and theme of the song.

The New York Times claimed that despite the short amount of time the half-time show took up, it still felt slow stating there was ‘little variation of tone or energy’. The overall feeling from the complaints was that visually, this year’s half-time show was less than impressive.

On the other hand, there seemed to be much fewer complaints, musically. In fact, many took Rihanna’s impressive vocal performance in the half-time show to indicate that she might be coming back into the music industry, perhaps with another album. Rihanna’s song choice was also generally well received, with her finishing the performance off with snippets of her big hits, Umbrella and Diamonds. There were also some, somewhat questionable, song choices within the ranks. These being the two songs that she had previously released in collaboration with Kanye West. Due to recent controversies, the topic of Kanye West has been a big ‘no-go’ in almost all situations. However, it seems that Rihanna did not care, perhaps as a show of support for the antisemitic views or maybe just because she liked the songs and wanted to sing them.

Whilst there seem to be a lot of complaints about the halftime show of the Superbowl, there were an equal number of those who loved it. The Rolling Stone publication is now calling Rihanna the ‘Super Bowl queen’. Many are very happy to see Rihanna back on the stage, whether it’s for just this single occasion or for more to come. So, whether you enjoyed the half-time show or not, or if you don’t care at all, I think most of us can agree that this Superbowl half-time show was probably one of the least controversial of its kind.

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