Upcoming Super Bowl performances excite fans of both R&B and country music


Chris Stapleton performs during his “A Concert for Kentucky” on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff file photo

Jennifer Sadler, Reporter

Super Bowl Sunday is approaching, which for many means chicken wings, great commercials and cheering for whichever teams are still left in the competition. 

For me, and I’m sure many others, the halftime performance is what keeps me engaged. 

Sporting events leave little to be desired, but seeing my favorite singers and performers put together an ensemble of their best songs for the entire nation to view — now that’s entertaining.

This year is no exception. Rihanna is scheduled to perform in the Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 12, which is thrilling for her fans who haven’t seen the who haven’t seen the artist return music until recently. Prior to her 2022 single “Lift Me Up,” Rihanna had not performed or released music since 2016.

During her performance, Rihanna is expected to play some songs like “Umbrella,” “Don’t Stop the Music” and “We Found Love” as well as some other hits from her discography.

As with most Super Bowl Halftime Show performances, Rihanna is expected to bring out some kind of musical guest to accompany her, but she has yet to release any hints as to who she might bring on stage with her. 

From Jay-Z to Britney Spears, Rihanna has ties to many artists in the music industry who are speculated to make an appearance. Some fans are anticipating an A$AP Rocky appearance given the pair’s public relationship and the recent birth of their son.

Though I think the addition of another artist would be entertaining, I believe Rihanna as a stand alone act would be best. She has many hits and few notable features, and given her success but recent absence from the stage, seeing her back and better than ever would be a perfect reintroduction for audiences as she makes her foray into the music scene again.

Despite the mystery surrounding Rihanna’s performance, it is exciting to see an artist who had such an impact on pop music in the 2000s and 2010s make a comeback at the Super Bowl, a crowning achievement for artists of all genres.

Another artist gaining attention for his Super Bowl debut is none other than Chris Stapleton. Recently, the NFL announced Stapleton would be singing the national anthem at the event.

As a Kentuckian, this addition to the Super Bowl roster is very exciting. Though not a big country music fan, I do appreciate Stapleton’s unique sound and his contribution to local issues, including his recent “Kentucky Rising” benefit concert that raised nearly $3 million for Eastern Kentucky flood relief.

However, not everyone is on the same page with this decision. Despite his eight Grammys, 10 ACM Awards and 14 CMA awards, many people are unfamiliar with the country artist and are dreading his performance.

One comment left on the NFL’s post read, “This seems miserable,” in response to the singer’s performance, leaving many fans of Stapleton unhappy.

One fan wrote, “Too many people sleeping on Chris Stapleton. Educate yourselves people,” in response to the negative feedback.

Regardless, Stapleton has proved to be a great vocalist and performer, and to his fans there is no doubt he will deliver at this year’s Super Bowl. 

Either way, his performance is not as anticipated as Rihanna’s, given both her elusiveness and popularity.

The show is expected to have some surprises in store and excite fans of Rihanna, who have been missing out on her music since the singer’s hiatus. 

Until Feb. 12, fans can only guess what surprises from these performers await them.