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Pregnant Rihanna makes spectacular Super Bowl comeback

February 13, 2023

Popstar Rihanna returned to the stage at the 2023 Super Bowl halftime in Arizona. Her pregnancy attracted as much attention as her performance.

Super Bowl 57 Halftime Show Rihanna
Rihanna at the Super Bowl 2023Image: Brendan Mcdermid/REUTERS

Rihanna emerged on stage wearing a puffy, bright red jumpsuit with a bustier and bodysuit underneath that fueled speculation that the singer was pregnant. Her representative later revealed that the singer was indeed expecting her second child.

The popstar was singing during the halftime break in the annual playoff game of the US National Football League (NFL) between the teams Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.

Rihanna and her dance troupe, including performers wearing white puffy suits, danced on rectangular platforms that hovered over the audience.

Fans waiting for a musical surprise were disappointed. Instead, the singer's performance was a nostalgic tour of her past hits.

She sang her most popular songs, including "Diamonds," "Umbrella," "Wild Thoughts," "Run this Town," "Bitch Better Have My Money" and "All of the Lights." She also delivered smash hits "Where Have You Been," "Only Girl in The World" and "We Found Love."

Rihanna surrounded by dancers
Rihanna surrounded by dancers at the halftime showImage: Gregory Shamus/AFP/Getty Images

RiRi returns to Superbowl

Rihanna, or RiRi, as she is popularly known, had turned down the Super Bowl in 2019 after former quarterback Colin Kaepernick was ousted from the NFL for kneeling in protest about systemic racism and police brutality. "I just couldn't be a sellout," the star said to Vogue at the time.

But the Barbados-born singer said she was accepting the coveted slot this time because it was "important for representation" and because she wanted her son to see her perform there, AFP reported.

The 34-year-old gave birth to her first child with boyfriend, rapper A$AP Rocky, last year in May.

Speaking before her performance on Sunday, Rihanna told US media that motherhood ultimately inspired her to perform at the show.

"When you become a mom, there's something that just happens where you feel you could take on the world — you can do anything," she said. "And the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world, so as scary as that was … there's something exhilarating about the challenge of it all," she said.

Rihanna's last album, "Anti," was released in 2016 and the star has taken a break from recording since then, other than performing occasionally and recording music for the movie "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which is nominated for several Oscars this year.

Big payoff

According to Forbes magazine, the singer will not be getting paid for her performance at Super Bowl 2023, with NFL sponsors including Pepsi and Apple footing a large share of the bill for her act.

Super Bowl halftime shows usually cost upwards of $10 million, according to Forbes, and while A-listers usually don't get paid for their performances, most benefit hugely from their presence at the show.

In the past, singers like Shakira, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez have added hundreds of thousands of followers to their social media accounts while sales of their merchandise skyrocketed.

In Rihanna's case, her luxury beauty lingerie brands, Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty, are expected to score big from the spectacle, especially with Valentine's Day being just around the corner.

mg/sb (AP, AFP)