Rihanna’s triumphant return to the stage did not disappoint – and after much speculation on social media, the pop star's representative confirmed she performed the Super Bowl halftime show while pregnant with her second child.
She opened the show suspended in the air on a floating platform with "B**** Better Have My Money" and sang several of her other mega hits, such as "We Found Love," "Rude Boy," and "Work" as a handful of dancers stayed floating above her on the shifting planks.
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 Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The baby bump that was visible in the tight clothes she wore under her baggy red jumpsuit during the show set off a wave of social media speculation that she might be pregnant again.
The performance was the 34-year-old's first live event in seven years, and her first since becoming a mother nine months ago to her child with rapper A$AP Rocky.
Details weren't made public yet about when the singer is due.
Deciding what songs to include was the biggest challenge, said Rihanna, who’s won nine Grammys.
"That was the hardest, hardest part. Deciding how to maximize 13 minutes but also celebrate — that’s what this show is going to be," she said ahead of the show.
Her "jam-packed" Super Bowl halftime show showcased hit after hit – 12 to be exact – from her impressive collection.
There were none of the instant costume changes, scene shifts or guest appearances (except for baby #2) that have been a constant at other Super Bowl halftimes.
The theme — and the color scheme — stayed the same throughout her set, with red lights bathing the long stage.
Fireworks went off and lights sparkled from the stand as she was raised alone back into the air and sang "Diamond" — with its refrain of "shine bright like a diamond" — as the set closed.
Rihanna performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on February 12, 2023. (Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)
While most artists use a Super Bowl halftime appearance to launch a new album, Rihanna has been adamant that her follow-up to 2016’s "Anti-" is not finished.
She didn’t even perform "Lift Me Up," her contribution to the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" soundtrack, which is currently nominated for an Oscar.
Rihanna joins a list of celebrated entertainers who have played during Super Bowl halftime shows, including Beyoncé, Madonna, Coldplay, Katy Perry, U2, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and The Weeknd. Last year, hip-hop was celebrated with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar all performing.
The singer had previously declined to perform in the 2019 halftime show out of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. But she has said that the timing and circumstances this time around were right for her. Her friend and mentor Jay-Z’s Roc Nation also partnered with the NFL on the halftime show.
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Apple Music this year replaced Pepsi, which sponsored the show for the past 10 years. Terms were not announced, but analysts had expected the league to get at least $50 million per year for the rights.
This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.