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Super Bowl 2023: Stunning Rihanna Halftime Show, Brilliant Music Ads & More

13 February 2023 | 3:54 pm | Emma Whines

From Rihanna's Halftime Show to Jack Harlow's new inspiration, here are all the surprises from the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl has been and gone, with the world tuning in to watch a very small amount of football and mostly just gush over the half-time show.  

This year Rihanna was the artist who delivered a wildly short 15 minutes of pure ecstasy, joining a wealth of artists who have been before her, such as Katy Perry, The Weeknd, Shakira, and Jennifer Lopez. It was the first performance by the pop star in seven years. 

Before the players took to the field, Sheryl Lee Ralph kicked off the musical element of the day, singing a beautiful rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing, followed by R&B star Babyface (aka Kenneth Edmonds), who sang America the Beautiful, accompanied by a pimped out acoustic guitar. Lastly, soulful singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton delivered a soulful, gravelly rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.

Sadly, we had to watch a bit of football to get to the main event, but I'm sure other music lovers would agree that it provided the perfect time to get settled and snacked up before Rihanna took to the stage. 

And really, it was worth the wait. Making a grand entrance on a floating disk in the middle of the field, Rihanna jumped straight into her hit Bitch Better Have My Money, and it felt like the music icon had never left. 

Racing through her catalogue of bangers, RiRi, performed mashed-up hits of Where Have You Been, Only Girl (In The World), We Found Love, and Rude Boy, before embarking on her collaboration with Drake Work. Sadly the rapper didn't make an appearance, but the backup dancers more than made up for it, adding to an already incredible show. Joining her backup dancers, Rihanna jumped into Wild Thoughts and Pour It Up before tackling her Kanye West collaboration All Of The Lights. Finishing the show with Run This Town, Umbrella and Diamonds, it's safe to say Rihanna gave a dazzling performance that left us all wanting more. 

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Many speculated that RiRi might drop an album after the show. Instead, she announced that she was pregnant with her second child, alleviating the already swirling rumours. 

While the Halftime Show was definitely the highlight of the day, the super bowl ads are also an event in themselves, with companies paying up to 7 million dollars a pop to get a slot in the prime time. Each year, we see companies get creative with their usually vanilla commercials, adding in new tunes, unique marketing and loads of celebrities. This year, many of the commercials featured some major musical talent. 

Marvel released The Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 trailer, a franchise known for its unbeatable soundtracks. This year, the trailer featured only one song, Since You've Been Gone by Rainbow. A little underwhelming, but if the soundtracks for the other films are anything to go by, die-hard fans have nothing to worry about. 

Keeping in theme with the movie trailers, the 10th Fast and Furious movie, Fast X, also dropped it's trailer featuring a repurposed Biggie Smalls track, Let's Ride. Adding in a bunch of cinematic swoops and some extra rappers (YG, Ty Dolla $ign, Lambo4oe). The song is unrecognisable compared to the original, with the exception of its hook sequence "Let's Ride". 

Uber enlisted Diddy to push their campaign “One Hit for Uber One”, which shows the rapper set aside his reluctance for jingles to audition versions of Montell Jordan’s This is How We Do It, Donna LewisI Love You Always Forever, Ylvis’s What Does the Fox Say? and Haddaway’s What is Love

John Travolta also makes an appearance in a T-Mobile ad promoting their home internet prices. Alongside actors Zac Braff and Donald Faison, the three of them whip up an entertaining musical to the tune of Grease's Summer Lovin'. 

A favourite commercial of the day came from Doritos, who recruited Jack Harlow to promote their tasty chips. Featuring Harlow in the studio experiencing a major writer's block, he suddenly gets inspired by the triangle-shaped chip, picking up the triangle instrument and creating one of his new biggest hits. Taken over by the beauty and creative pull of his new favourite tool, Harlow quits his rap career to pursue a new career mastering the triangle. Who knew a chip could be so inspiring?

However, nothing beats the commercial thought up by Workday - a software giant - who recruited an all-star roster of musicians, including Ozzy Osbourne, Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Gary Clark Jr and Paul Stanley, to stop the corporate desk jockeys from calling themselves rockstars.