Rihanna’s Halftime Show is now just three sleeps away and today is the day – it’s press conference day, which is happening at 6pm in Arizona. This will be the first time we’ve seen Rihanna in a few weeks, and certainly since she’s been in final preparations for her concert on Sunday. There’s been so much buzz about this event and I feel, at least in my world, that the conversation about Rihanna has been louder than the conversation about the other event that’s happening around her 12-14 minute set.
For starters, there are all the rumours about whether or not she’ll be announcing a tour. It came up a few days ago, with The Sun reporting that RiRi will hit the road this year. Which I didn’t quite buy at the time because, well, it’s The Sun. But then Page Six jumped on it and said that something is definitely in the works. Last night Rihanna was trending in Brazil because there was word out of there that she’d be in Brazil in the fall.
So that’s for sure a question that reporters will want to ask. I don’t know if it will come up in the amount of time that’s been allotted to the presser but there has to be at least one journalist who has that question on their list. And it’ll be interesting, if it comes up, how she responds to it.
When it was first announced that she would indeed be the halftime show performer, many people assumed that it meant that new music is coming. She contributed two songs to the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack (and has been nominated for an Oscar) but beyond that, there’s been no fresh material and she said herself in November that “Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans?”
Can she tour without a new album though? Well, of course. Think about her catalogue. We would pay just to hear her play from her own catalogue. That’s also the reason why the setlist on Sunday is such a talking point, with people taking bets on what songs will be included. And also having arguments on which songs should be included.
Still, it’s unusual for artists like Rihanna, at this point in her career, to tour without a new album to support. So if there is actually going to be a tour announcement, will there also be an album announcement to accompany it? Personally, my bet is that there will NOT be either, no tour, no new music. But I’ll be happy to be wrong. I will also be broke if I’m wrong. Because I’ve already seen Adele this year, and I have Beyoncé and Madonna tickets. These queens are coming for our cash!
Back to the setlist though and how impressive Rihanna’s is – as Nora Princiotti wrote in The Ringer this week:
“Rihanna is the most successful singles artist of this century, and by singles, I mean hits. She has had 14 no. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, the fourth most of all time, trailing only the Beatles, Mariah Carey, and Elvis Presley.”
That’s 14 no. 1 songs and 31 top 10 hits… which means there’s A LOT to choose from. Many are saying that she’ll lead with “Don’t Stop the Music” – makes sense, I get it. I’m taking a swing though and going with “What’s My Name”. Rihanna hasn’t performed live since 2018. The theme of the first commercial for the halftime show was all about how long it’s been, this music hiatus she’s been on:
If they’re leaning into that idea, that this is a long, long, LONG-awaited comeback, imagine the hype when the first bars we hear will be…
“Oh na na, what’s my name?”
Even if she just sings that part of the song. And then goes into another song. People’s heads will explode. Mine will. They’ll be able to hear me from 20 blocks away…