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5 Songs We Hope Rihanna Performs At The Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show

5 Songs We Hope Rihanna Performs At The Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show

If you haven’t seen Rihanna’s meteoric rise to being a global music superstar, ‘Where Have You Been?!’ Since getting her first record deal in 2005, Riri has become one of the best-selling artists of all time and ventured into entrepreneurship with her Fenty fashion label and makeup brand. She’s a versatile artist, a style icon, an empowering role model, and even an ambassador of education, investment, and tourism in her home country of Barbados.

And on the American scene, one of the biggest achievements a musical legend could reach is playing the prestigious Super Bowl Halftime Show. So it’s no surprise that Rihanna has officially been booked to play the Apple Music-sponsored set in 2023! We haven’t seen Rih onstage in years, nor have we gotten an album since 2016’s ANTI, and we’re absolutely buzzing to see what she’s prepared for us. This will also be her first performance since giving birth to her adorable son in May 2022!

It feels like it could have only been now. I mean, when I first got the call to do it again this year, I was like, “Psst, you sure?” I’m three months postpartum, like, should I be making major decisions like this now? Like I might regret this. But when you become a mom, there’s something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world, you could do anything. And the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world. So as scary as that was because I haven’t been on stage in seven years, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. 

Rihanna To Apple Music and Nadeska Alexis

For the Super Bowl Halftime Show, our faves tend to go all-out to put on a show that fans worldwide can enjoy, whether it’s in person at the stadium or through clips on videos and online. And nothing’s really off-limits – see Lady Gaga jumping off the stadium roof at the start of her 2017 set and Katy Perry singing on top of a moving lion statue. Anything can happen, and we’re never sure what to truly expect, but no matter what goes down, we’re gonna get an incredible setlist.

One problem, though: when you have a legend like Rihanna taking the stage, there’s physically no way she can perform every single one of her biggest hits. She’ll have to handpick the boldest and brightest songs to create a medley of sorts, walking us through her career and reminding the world just how monumental her time in the spotlight has really been. 

The set list was the biggest challenge. That was the hardest, hardest part. Deciding how to maximize 13 minutes, but also celebrate. That’s what this show’s gonna be, it’s gonna be a celebration of my catalog in the best way we could have put it together. And you only have 13 minutes, that’s the challenge, so you’re trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes. So it’s difficult. You know, some songs we have to lose because of that, and that’s gonna be okay. But I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing it down.

Rihanna To Apple Music and Nadeska Alexis

The perfect Super Bowl setlist has to include an artist’s biggest hits while also celebrating the lesser-known facets of their work that made fans love them in the first place. So, for example, The Weeknd’s 2021 show included well-known anthems like ‘Blinding Lights’ and ‘The Hills,’ but it also included ‘House of Balloons’ as an interlude to pay homage to his mixtape days and the longtime listeners who have watched him grow to Super Bowl-level. Chris Martin of Coldplay, who played in 2016, explained the Setlist Phenomenon well:

I think it’s the most wonderful Trojan horse in a way in the world, because in the middle of this quite masculine, gigantic, beer-drinking thing, you put all these artists and exposed them to a lot of people who would never be interested in Prince or in us, or in Katy Perry, or whoever. So the right set list is key. 

Chris Martin to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1

We definitely don’t envy whoever had to work with Rihanna to narrow down that list! She’s currently the most-certified female artist of the digital age and has collabed with everyone from Paul McCartney to SZA. There are definitely a few songs we have our fingers crossed to hear on Sunday night, so here are some we’re hoping will make the cut… in chronological order, since the idea of trying to condense all of Riri’s hits into one setlist, honestly stresses us out a bit.

‘Pon de Replay’

Rihanna came in hot on the scene with ‘Pon de Replay’ in 2005, and it was certainly a debut to remember! It hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart, letting everyone know that she was poised for stardom. This would be a perfect choice for Riri’s Super Bowl setlist to celebrate how far she’s come!

‘Only Girl (In The World)’

This song was truly inescapable, and we don’t know anyone who doesn’t know every lyric by heart! It was so iconic that One Direction even covered it during their X Factor days, showing how much of a hit it became even across the pond. As far as we’re concerned, this is one of the only songs in the world and deserves a shining moment at Super Bowl!

‘We Found Love’ With Calvin Harris

Rihanna and Calvin Harris are an unstoppable duo when it comes to dance-pop earworms, and it was nearly impossible to choose which of their collabs to feature here! But we had to go with their first team-up, ‘We Found Love.’ There’s a reason this is still such a banger eleven and a half years later, and it set the tone for an iconic reunion with ‘This Is What You Came For!’


If we don’t get to see Rihanna sparkling onstage while singing ‘Diamonds,’ would it really be a proper Super Bowl setlist? We think not! We could picture it now: Riri standing there in a one-of-a-kind sequin outfit and singing, “so shine briiiiiight, toniiiiiiight…” with a dazzling spotlight on her.

See Also

Okay, I really enjoyed recording Loud and ‘Diamonds.’ I was on the road for both of those albums when I created them. I was touring one album, making the next, and then I came back and toured that album and made the next.

Rihanna To Apple Music and Nadeska Alexis


This fan-favorite from ANTI had a moment on TikTok over the past few months, so we’d love to hear ‘Woo’ live this weekend! It’d be a fun way to nod to its recent viral success while showcasing how Rihanna’s music truly transcends time – not many other artists could have a song from 2016 suddenly spike in popularity years later, but Riri did it without lifting a finger. Her impact is incredible!

ANTI was the first time that I took my time making an album while not being on tour. And that frustrated my fans a bit, and here I am doing it again to them. But ANTI, for sure, top favorite album I’ve ever made.

Rihanna To Apple Music and Nadeska Alexis

Which songs are you hoping were under ‘Consideration’ for Rihanna’s Super Bowl setlist? Will you be tuning in for the big night? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter



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