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A graphic advertising Rihanna‘s Super Bowl halftime show. Photo courtesy of NFL.

REVIEW: 2023 Super Bowl halftime show doesn’t quite ‘shine bright like a diamond’


Households across the U.S. tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs square off against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Sunday Feb. 12. Did I watch any of it? Nope. However, I did start paying attention when the halftime show began and Rihanna replaced the football players on the field. I found the halftime show a bit lackluster, but still enjoyable.

Rihanna’s singing and the set list was what made the show for me. The performance included songs I easily recognized to ones I didn’t — though this may be because I realized I don’t listen to nearly as much Rihanna as I thought I did. The set list included songs like “Work,” “Run This Town” and “Diamonds.”

My favorite had to be when she began singing “Umbrella,” and I had flashbacks to Tom Holland performing the tune on the show “Lip Sync Battle.” I have to say, he might have outperformed her, or, at the very least, had a much better outfit. The outfits that Rihanna’s backup dancers donned during the halftime show were a letdown and have been gloriously made fun of all over social media.

My friend’s comment about the outfits summarizes what made them so hilariously bad: they all looked like giant marshmallows. This would have been an odd outfit choice for a halftime show generally, but especially in Arizona: those poor dancers were probably sweating so much. However, what they lacked in visual appeal, they made up for in dance moves.

Rihanna herself didn’t do much in terms of dancing; her dancers were moving all around with impressive choreography. But the dancing, along with the outfits, have not escaped the trap of being made fun of on social media. I have seen a range of jokes focusing on their ski jacket-esque outfits all over my TikTok “For You Page.”

Rihanna’s all-red number, though, was brilliant and the most fashionable outfit featured during the halftime show. Although, I did expect an outfit change that ultimately never came.

Lack of outfit changes aside, there was still lots of spectacle during the performance, including several floating platforms that held the dancers and Rihanna far over the crowd. The platforms were something that made the halftime show worth watching, mostly because I was trying to figure out where in the ceiling of the stadium they were attached.

To finish off the performance, Rihanna rose above her dancers alone on one of the platforms: it was a terrifying act as the platform was quite high up and could be seen swaying in the wind. The singer seemed unfazed, though, as she belted out lines of songs and brought the show to a nice, confident conclusion.

Overall, it was a nice halftime show: not my favorite (Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s halftime show holds that spot in my heart) but still good, even if some of the costuming choices were a little goofy. Still, it was a good enough performance that even got me to watch a bit of the Super Bowl after the show was over.

Elizabeth Secor is the multimedia editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @esecor2003

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