By Mikayla Silcox
Elm Staff Writer
On Sunday, Feb. 12, diehard fans and casual viewers alike are expected to tune in to the apex of the football season: the Super Bowl.
This year, pop singer and Fenty Beauty founder Rihanna is making a long-awaited return to the stage to headline the night’s halftime show. According to Billboard, the star’s last live performance was in 2018.
With a music career like Rihanna’s — which includes 14 number-one songs, nine Grammy awards, and over one billion views on YouTube — Super Bowl viewers are in for a spectacle.
While her set list is not yet known to the public, Rhianna has a number of iconic songs that we would love to hear during the big game. Here are eight predictions for what we hope Rihanna might perform during her State Farm Stadium takeover.
First released in 2007, Rihanna’s hit song is ever-present in pop culture, from Tom Holland’s mega-viral lip sync battle to “Just Dance” to “Glee.” Because of its staying power, the tune is likely to be a forefront of the singer’s performance, with the promise of extravagant dance routines and elaborate props.
“Only Girl (In the World)”
Rihanna’s 2010 Billboard-topping number is a timeless piece of power and emotion, showcasing the singer’s passionate, belting voice.
If the otherworldly ambiance and flashy outfits from the music video are any indication of how extravagant this track would be on stage, then it would be a mistake to exclude this banger from the setlist.
“What’s My Name”
Released alongside “Only Girl (In the World)” on her fifth studio album, “Loud,” the pop-heavy beat and catchy chorus of this song are sure to prompt at-home audiences to sing and dance along.
A performance of “What’s My Name” would also raise the question of whether Rihanna would invite her on-and-off beau, Drake, to perform with her. As America’s most-streamed Spotify artist of 2022, a cameo from the Canadian rapper is likely to pull in more viewers.
This Rihanna staple has the potential to make fans go wild for the all-out light show and dance that the number calls for.
“Disturbia” is one of Rihanna’s most story-driven songs, giving the singer the opportunity to present a that would make her halftime show as big of a performance as she is a star.
“Lift Me Up”
Rihanna’s newest release, which is a tribute to actor Chadwick Boseman who lost his life to colon cancer in 2020, is a must for this halftime show. Featured in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the song’s powerful message would play well as a stadium-wide tribute to Boseman, who empowered audiences across the globe.
Lady Gaga proved with her 2017 halftime performance of “Million Reasons” that a slow ballad has the potential to completely elevate a halftime show. Featured on her 2012 album
“Unapologetic,” the yearning vocals on “Stay” have the power to touch every audience member, regardless of whether they are a Rihanna fan.
“Love on the Brain”
Inspired by soul-pop artists like Amy Winehouse and Prince, this tune would serve as an opportunity for Rihanna to exhibit the power and control in her voice that initially put her at the top of the charts. Even listeners who are not yet on the Rihanna train can appreciate the raw talent that “Love on the Brain” would highlight.
“Don’t Stop the Music”
With its high-energy chorus, this number has the power to put audiences back into game mode, sustaining the hype to keep audiences vitalized throughout the end of the three hour-long game.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Photo caption: Known for her colorful outfits and sharp dance moves, Rihanna became a bona fide pop sensation after releasing her first single, “Pon de Replay,” in 2005.