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Super Bowl LVII

How does Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show compare to past performances?

After the long-awaited performance, let’s see how Rihanna’s show compares to past halftime performances.

How does Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show compare to past performances?

Rihanna briefly returned to the stage for the first time since 2016 with her Super Bowl halftime show. The performance was praised and featured over 200 backup dancers, an electrifying use of lights and floating platform stages, and finally, her jaw-dropping pregnancy announcement, which was incorporated into the routine.

However, Rihanna isn’t the first solo artist to perform a Super Bowl halftime show alone. Let’s take a look at how Rihanna ranks with previous iconic halftime shows.

Michael Jackson

Starting with the late pop icon Michael Jackson’s 1993 halftime performance, which is remembered as one of the most significant performances at the Super Bowl of all time. Thrillist media describes the performance as a turning point for the game, bringing the halftime show from simply a break in the sport into an event in itself worthy of tuning into.

“[He] helped turn the halftime show into the Holy Grail gig it is today. He made the halftime show America’s preeminent platform for reaching the masses,” the media outlet recalls.

Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and others

Five years later, Michael Jackson’s sister Janet Jackson took on the Super Bowl stage alongside Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, P. Diddy, and Nelly. The 2004 show is remembered as the most controversial show to this date.

For approximately half a second during the performance, Janet Jackson suffered a wardrobe malfunction caused by Timberlake. The incident immediately led to a widespread crackdown and discussion on indecency in broadcast television.

Despite apologies from CBS, MTV, Timberlake, and Jackson herself, the incident negatively impacted the trajectory of Jackson’s career. Janet Jackson was banned from the Grammy Awards as a performer soon after.


Finally, considered one of the best solo female Super Bowl performances of all time, is Beyoncé's 2013 show featuring Destiny’s Child. The 13-minute performance is hailed for its use of intricate choreography, optical illusion visuals, and strong vocals.

Beyoncé is known for her high-energy performances and her Super Bowl show was no exception. The performance is also praised due to her surprise guests, fellow members from Destiny’s Child.