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Rihanna didn't announce a new album but a new pregnancy

Rihanna didn't announce a new album but a new pregnancy

Rihanna exudes a cool vibe effortlessly, akin to how breathing comes naturally to us mere mortals. While her fans never truly forget her, the musician-turned-beauty-and-fashion-mogul has been in the public eye for everything but her music lately, causing some to overlook her extensive talent and her nonchalantly confident performance style. However, her recent triumphant return to the stage at Super Bowl LVII - her first live performance since the 2018 Grammy Awards - was a prime example of Rihanna's signature style of awe-inspiring, understated greatness.

With a level of charisma that surpasses even the usual Super Bowl halftime performer, the 34-year-old singer brought a refreshing clarity and energy to everything from her wardrobe choices to the stage design, without any need for surprise guests - except for one. As soon as Rihanna appeared on stage, fans began speculating about the possibility of her being pregnant again, following the birth of her first child with A$AP Rocky on May 13, 2022. After the show, one of her representatives confirmed to the press that she is indeed expecting her second child.

While there were instances of intricate choreography, such as during her performance of "Wild Thoughts," the majority of the show relied on Rihanna's innate ability to captivate the audience. Over the past decade, halftime performers have often included at least one unexpected guest, with Beyoncé's Destiny's Child reunion being a particularly notable example. Other acts, like Maroon 5 and Coldplay, have tried to compensate for lackluster performances by bringing out numerous big-name stars. Despite having the option to choose from an impressive roster of potential co-stars, including Jay-Z and Paul McCartney who were both in attendance, Rihanna was a force to be reckoned with on her own.

Rihanna's performance struck a balance between refined and unrefined, completely devoid of any excessive sentimentality, a feat that is difficult to accomplish when performing for an audience of over 200 million viewers. As she emerged on a stage that was reminiscent of legendary levels, Rihanna donned a Loewe boiler suit and breastplate, incorporating designs by Loewe, Jonathan Anderson, and Alaïa, as reported by WWD. The vibrant red hue, set against the fluffy white costumes of the dancers, brought to mind a bold and minimalist style. What’s more, despite potential backlash from strict NFL censors, Rihanna boldly kicked off her set with "Bitch Better Have My Money" (but with the bitch part omitted). This 2015 hit established the tone for the rest of the night, as Rihanna skipped over some of her more saccharine tracks we all know very well. She also performed a segment of Rude Boy and gave a subtle nod to her song titled S&M during her rendition of We Found Love.

The performance may have been a letdown for R9 truthers who were hoping for at least a new music debut, or better yet, a release timed around her first performance in seven years. Rihanna predominantly featured hits from the early and mid-2010s, such as Work and "We Found Love," with the most recent track being 2017's Wild Thoughts. While briefly showcasing her collaborations with Kanye West, she caused some viewers to become anxious as she sang the anthemic chorus of "All of the Lights".

Finally, Rihanna's decision to conclude the show with "Diamonds" was a brilliant one, especially as she transformed it into a breathtaking, climaxing ballad. Whether Rihanna utilizes her Super Bowl performance as a launchpad to regain her status as a pop music leader, or if she concentrates on expanding her billion-dollar empire and growing family, she reminded us that, in addition to her immense talent, she's one of the coolest A-listers we have. If Rihanna opts to withdraw from the public eye once again, her set would undoubtedly be an unforgettable mic-drop moment.

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March 17, 2023
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