Rihanna calls Super Bowl performance 'exhilarating, almost impossible'

Super Bowl LVII halftime show performer Rihanna speaks at a news conference Thursday at the Phoenix Convention Center. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 5 | Super Bowl LVII halftime show performer Rihanna speaks at a news conference Thursday at the Phoenix Convention Center. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

PHOENIX, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Rihanna is "exhilarated" for an "almost impossible" Super Bowl LVII halftime performance, which will last just 13 minutes, but feature music from her 17-year career, she said at a news conference Thursday in Phoenix.

"I've been so focused on the Super Bowl, I totally forgot that my birthday is coming up," Rihanna said in a ballroom at the Phoenix Convention Center.


"I totally forgot about Valentine's Day. I am just like Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl."

More than 200 million people are expected to tune if for Super Bowl LVII on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. The game -- contested between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles -- will kick off at 6:30 p.m. EST and air on Fox.

Rihanna won't need an Umbrella for her showing at the roofed State Farm Stadium, but she says she is well prepared. She also was tightlipped about details of her song choices or potential cameos from other artists.


"It's a lot of preparation," Rihanna said. "This is the week that everything is being tested. Everyone is just tightening up. Everybody's dialing in. Everybody's tuning up.

"It's literally like 300 to 400 people breaking the stage down, building it up and getting out in eight minutes. It's incredible. It's almost impossible."

Rihanna said the 39 current versions of the setlist will be narrowed down to the one fans hear Sunday. The We Found Love and Diamonds singer was announced as the Super Bowl LVII halftime headliner in September, signaling an end to her seven-year stage hiatus.

She welcomed a baby boy in May with rapper A$AP Rocky and said motherhood was a motivating factor in her reason to accept Sunday's challenge.

She also plans to incorporate elements of Caribbean, immigrant and Black culture within her performance.

"When you become a mom, there's something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world. You can do anything. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world. So as scary as that is, there's something exhilarating about the challenge of it all.

"It's important for me to do this. It's important for representation and for my son to see it."


Country artist Chris Stapleton, R&B legend Babyface and singer/actress Sheryl Lee Ralph will headline pregame performances for Super Bowl LVIII.

Babyface will perform America the Beautiful. Ralph will perform Lift Every Voice and Sing. Stapleton will sing the national anthem.

"The national anthem is not an easy song," Stapleton said. "It could go horribly wrong. Many times, it has, Hopefully, that won't happen to me. But ya know, if you're going to do it, this is the place to do it."

Ralph will be the first person to sing Lift Every Voice and Sing -- often referred to as the Black national anthem -- inside a stadium at a Super Bowl.

"To me, that shows a major effort by the NFL to be truly inclusive," Ralph said. "It says we're going to represent all people, on a day -- Super Bowl Sunday -- with 200 million people coming together to sit and experience. What a time. What a way to bring us all together."

The U.S. Navy will commemorate 50 years of women flying with a flyover during the national anthem, with women aviators in the formation of an F-35C Lightning II, two F/A-18F Super Hornets and an EA-18G Growler.


"This is riding on me," Rihanna said. "There are a lot of people who are part of this show and a huge part of the reason why this show is going to be as incredible as it is.

"I couldn't have done it without them, but you know what, at the end of the day, if it flops or it flies my name has to stand by that. So I really get involved with every aspect of anything that I do."

The Super Bowl LVII halftime show also will stream on Apple TV+. Rihanna shared a trailer for the performance in January.

Super Bowl halftime shows through the years

Britney Spears sings at Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Fla., on January 28, 2001. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the New York Giants 34-7. Photo by John SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

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