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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

Rihanna, please don’t stop the music

Much to my surprise, this year’s Super Bowl halftime show had various opinions surrounding it. People argued that it wasn’t flashy enough, that they weren’t a fan of the choreography or that they thought Rihanna lacked the enthusiasm it takes to go down as a memorable Super Bowl performer. Personally, I was hypnotized. The halftime show is the only reason I watch the Super Bowl (sorry diehard football fans), and I felt that while some things could’ve been better, ultimately, Queen RiRi did not disappoint. Here are my thoughts – the good and the bad – on the 2023 halftime show.

The presentation was flawless.

If strobe lights and swarms of top-tier background dancers weren’t enough to capture your attention, maybe the floating platforms that soared through the air were. The gravity-defying stages were the perfect way to enhance Rihanna’s performance without taking away from her incredible vocals. And to top it all off, she was able to throw in a quick makeup touch-up to promote her brand in between dancing, singing and somehow not completely overheating in her dazzling layers of red. 

The setlist under delivered.

I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that Rihanna’s halftime performance reminded me of just how many songs she has that I know and love. Unfortunately, most of my favorites didn’t quite make the cut for RiRi’s return to the stage. Where was “Disturbia?” “Pon de Replay?” “SOS,” anyone? We barely got to hear her tease “S&M” in the middle of “We Found Love.” Now, I may be biased as strictly a throwback Rihanna kind-of-girl, but I think those would’ve been a much better fit for Super Bowl 57.

The choreography was mesmerizing. The costumes? Not so much.

Rihanna’s little minions delivered a stellar performance and didn’t miss a beat of the intricate choreo. While their poofy marshmallow costumes really made RiRi’s striking red outfit pop, I couldn’t help but laugh as the straight-faced dancers attempted to look cool while doing little hops and creepily crawling across the stage behind our pop princess.  

Ri’s solo performance was the right move

Let’s get one thing straight: We needed 13 minutes of just Rihanna. To all the people claiming she should’ve interrupted her stellar performance and shared the stage and screen with someone else, I strongly disagree. No other surprise guests were necessary, but in the end, we got one anyway with the pregnancy reveal of all pregnancy reveals.

All in all, this year’s halftime show had me singing along to some of my forgotten favorites and watching Rihanna in awe as she flew through the air. This may not have been what some people were hoping for, but no matter what Rihanna chose to do for her time on the field, she was not going to make everyone happy. The haters are always gonna hate – but I certainly won’t be one of them. 

Julianna Thurs

Wisconsin '26

Julianna is a freshman at UW-Madison studying Communication Arts. She spends her free time finding new music, reading sappy romance books and writing any chance she gets. She is so happy to have the opportunity to share her voice through Her Campus!