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Super Bowl 2023 halftime show: who’s performing?

Few spectacles are as big, as (over)hyped, as grand as the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Never mind that every NFL game seems to try to turn halftime into some sort of 5-minute concert starring someone you might not have ever heard of (that’ll depend on your age, of course).

The Super Bowl Halftime Show is for everyone. And while every halftime show is great, some are better than others. This year? It’s going to be good. Really good. You’re absolutely going to want to watch Super Bowl 2023 on February 12 not just for the game — it’s Eagles versus Chiefs, by the way — but for the performances.

Rihanna in a promo shot for the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show.

Who is in the Super Bowl 2023 halftime show?

The headliner for the Super Bowl 2023 halftime show is none other than Rihanna. That in and of itself is a pretty big deal — the woman knows how to put on a show. And she’ll be able to do so in the sort of way that we’ve come to expect from the biggest game of the year. It’ll be accessible, with songs you’ve undoubtedly heard before. And it’ll be mostly family-friendly, because this is the NFL, of course, and the game is on broadcast TV.

The halftime celebration also will be available on Fox in 4K resolution and in HDR, so you’ll get RiRi in all the stunning detail she deserves.

But it’s also Rihanna we’re talking about, so there will be a bit of an edge to the performance. Dare we say it’ll probably have just the right amount of sex appeal.

There’s another major character affecting this year’s Super Bowl halftime show — and that’s Apple. The show itself has always had a main presenting sponsor, and this year it’s Apple Music. So it’s officially the “Apple Music Halftime Show.”

And that means we’ve got a top-tier performer and a top-tier sponsor — neither of which are known to put out something half-baked. And judging from the teaser the two put out on January 13, it’s going to be quite the spectacle.

“Run This Town” - The Road to Halftime Starts on Rihanna Drive | Apple Music

Rihanna gave us a little preview as to what’s coming too, in an interview with Nadeska Alexis three days before the event. “We’re excited to do the Super Bowl,” Rihanna said during the live event streamed on YouTube and Apple Music, among other places. “We’ve been working on it for a while, and every day it just gets closer and closer to the finished product.”

The Super BowlHalftime Show also marks Rihanna’s return to live performances after a number of years and the birth of her son in May 2022.

“I haven’t been on stage in seven years,” she said. “There’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. It’s important for me to do this this year. It’s important for representation. It’s important for my son to see that.”

Expect some of RiRi’s greatest hits, but there’s simply too much music to cram into a halftime show — even one that happens during the biggest sporting event of the year.

“The setlist was the biggest challenge,” she said. “That was the hardest, hardest part — deciding how to maximize 13 minutes, but also celebrate. That’s what the show’s gonna be — it’s gonna be a celebration of my catalog in the best way that we could have put it together.”

Apple Music Radio will have special halftime show programming too, including Halftime Hype Radio — a 10-part series “reflecting on some of the most notable Super Bowl halftime performances of all time.” (The best, of course, is Prince.)

We don’t know exactly what time the halftime show will happen, since this is a live sporting event we’re talking about. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 12 (that’s 3:30 p.m. on the West Coast). The game will be broadcast on Fox. Figure at least 90 minutes to get through the first two quarters, but it’s always better to tune in earlier rather than later, just to make sure you don’t miss anything.

And besides, you don’t want to miss all the great Super Bowl commercials! And, ya know, the game itself.

Who else is in the halftime show?

Rihanna is big. The best, even. But she’s not the only star we’ll see during the game. Consider this: The show is being produced by Roc Nation. And when you hear Roc Nation, you also hear Shawn Carter. Does that mean we’ll see Jay-Z on the stage with Rihanna? We wouldn’t put money against it? How about someone else from the Roc Nation roster? Absolutely possible.

No matter what, everything is going to be covered as tightly as possible. Fox says it has 94 cameras on hand. Forty-four of them are game cameras, another 18 for pregame festivities, and 16 robotic cameras. And that’s in addition to all the still photographers on hand.

Who is performing the National Anthem?

The NFL announced some of the pregame entertainment, and it’s big. Headlining the pre-halftime performances is Chris Stapleton, with the winner of eight Grammy Awards, 15 Country Music Association Awards, and 10 Academy of Country Music Awards performing the national anthem. Arizona native and actor Troy Kotsur (you’ll remember him from the Apple TV+ film CODA) will perform the song in American Sign Language.

And note that this is all on Fox proper, and not NFL Sunday Ticket.

Following that up is R&B legend Babyface, who will sing America the Beautiful. And Emmy-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph will sing Lift Every Voice and Sing.

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Phil Nickinson
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