This Is Why Rihanna Didn't Have Guest Performers In Her Super Bowl Halftime Performance

After seven years of being away from performing, Rihanna returned to the stage for the Super Bowl LVII halftime show. Aside from serenading fans with hits such as Umbrella, We Found Love, Wild Thoughts, Where Have You Been, Rude Boy, and Work, the Grammy winner also proudly revealed that she is expecting her second child with partner A$AP Rocky.

Rihanna is far from the only celeb to perform pregnant, but she also surprised everyone by choosing to do the entire halftime show solo. As many know, a lot of artists prefer to bring in other acts to perform with them (although both Lady Gaga and The Weeknd performed solo in the past too).

But not Rihanna. Instead, she performed for 13 minutes straight and owned every moment.

Rihanna Agreed To The Halftime Show Shortly After Welcoming Her First Child

Rihanna may not have been thinking about going to music at that time, but the stage came calling for her.

"When I first got the call to do it again this year I was like, 'Are you sure? I'm three months postpartum'," the singer recalled during an Apple Music press conference ahead of her halftime show.

She also revealed that motherhood essentially inspired her to perform again.

"When you become a mom there's something that happens where you feel like you can take on the world and can do anything," Rihanna continued.

"The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world. As scary as it was, because I haven't been on stage in seven years, there's something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. It's important for me to do this year. It's important for my son to see that."

A$AP Rocky also convinced the singer to perform this time around after she previously turned the NFL down in support of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who were protesting racial inequality.

"I couldn't dare do that. For what? Who gains from that? Not my people," Rihanna even told Vogue in 2019.

"I just couldn't be a sellout. I couldn't be an enabler. There's things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way."

Here's Why She May Have Decided To Perform Solo

And while some may have expected Rihanna to have other performers at her halftime show (Super Bowl LVI's halftime performance featured Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Snoop Dogg), it seems that going solo was the only way to go for the Grammy winner.

For one thing, Rihanna already had a hard time narrowing down her 13-minute setlist.

"That was the hardest, hardest part. Deciding how to maximize 13 minutes, but also celebrate. That's what this show is going to be. It's going to be a celebration of my catalog and the best way that we could have put it together," the singer explained.

"You only have 13 minutes. That's a challenge. You're trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes, so it's difficult. You know, some songs we had to lose because of that and that's going to be okay, but I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing it down."

While developing the show, Rihanna also ended up changing her set list multiple times.

"She has a massive catalog [and] not a lot of time," Super Bowl halftime show producer Jesse Collins said.

"She wasn't gonna be ready until it was absolutely perfect."

Eventually, Rihanna went with "version 39." Every version, however, also necessitated more changes. "I mean, every little change counts," she explained.

"Whether I want a guitar cut out, something muted, something added or just put in a whole new song or take out a whole song. Every time I make a change, something has to be updated and that's a new version."

Rihanna Also Had To Perform Mid-Air Amid Her Fear Of Heights

Unlike other halftime shows in the past, Rihanna spent a lot of time performing midair on floating stages that were suspended several feet above the football field.

And for the singer, committing to a performance like this took some serious guts (even though she says she was inspired by Beyoncé).

"She's scared of heights, but she got it together for this and I have to give the credit to her creative director, Willo Perron," Collins said.

"He came up with that idea along with our choreographer Parris (Goebel) and it was just unbelievable.


Perhaps, what's also unbelievable is that there was also a practical reason behind keeping Rihanna in the air for most of her performance. As it turns out, the turf at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona cannot handle too much weight. So, there was no way that stages could be placed all over the field, just like in the past.

This time around, they were dealing with Tifway 419 hybrid Bermuda grass that cannot take too much weight. That said, Super Bowl production designer Bruce Rodgers pointed out to Rihanna's team that the stadium features Brunel trusses that have enough strength to "carry a freight train." That's when they decided that Rihanna would be "primarily in the air for 40 percent" of her show.

In the end, everything went without a hitch and Rihanna even enjoyed performing "all the way up the top. She loved it at the top." She may have also just set the bar higher for all halftime shows to follow.

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