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Was Rihanna’s Halftime Performance Classic or Low-Energy?

With no superstar guests or costume changes, Rihanna’s long-awaited, hit-packed comeback at last week’s Super Bowl Halftime Show relied entirely on her own music — and her singular stage presence and swagger. And as always, the performance, complete with an understated pregnancy reveal, prompted endless online discourse.

In the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, Tomas Mier — who liked the show, but saw it as a low-energy letdown compared to halftime spectacles from Lady Gaga and Katy Perry — debates its merits with Mankaprr Conteh, who saw it as a triumphant, high-gloss expansion of Rihanna’s signature performance style. (To hear the episode, press play above, or find it here at the podcast provider of your choice.)

The discussion also touches on the future of the Super Bowl Halftime Show — will Bad Bunny ever play it? Are Taylor Swift, Drake, and Ariana Grande next?


Also in the episode, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. responds to criticism of this year’s Grammy ceremony in an interview with host Brian Hiatt.

Download and subscribe to our weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts). Check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Carey, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Taylor Hawkins, Willow, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Questlove, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Charlie Puth, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, Gary Clark Jr., and many others. Plus, there are dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.

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