Rihanna Studied Beyonce's Super Bowl Halftime Show to Prep for Her Performance

Rihanna studied from the best before she takes the stage at State Farm Arena for her Super Bowl LVII halftime show performance. The "We Found Love" singer said she studied Beyonce's Super Bowl halftime shows to prepare for her own. Rihanna will play a 13-minute set between the second and third quarters of the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I watched Beyoncé's halftime performances a couple of times. She is a beast and a whole other level. Just to be inspired, really," Rihanna said on Sunday's episode of The Process with Nate Burleson podcast.

Beyonce headlined the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show in February 2013. She was joined by her former Destiny's Child bandmates, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. Beyonce ran through nine songs during the set. In February 2016, she joined Coldplay and Bruno Mars for the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.

Rihanna watched other past halftime shows featuring female performers for inspiration, she told Burelson, notes E! News. She checked out Madonna's performance at Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, Janet Jackson's appearance at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, as well as Whitney Houston's famous performance of the National Anthem before Super Bowl XXV in 1991.

Elsewhere in her interview with Burelson, Rihanna said the most challenging part of the halftime show was putting together her setlist. "You're trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes, so it's difficult," she said, via PEOPLE. "Some songs we have to lose because of that, and that's gonna be OK, but I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing it down." During her press conference last week, Rihanna said she went through 39 versions of the setlist before settling on one.

This is also the first time Rihanna has played a full concert since the 2016 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and her first time on stage at all since the 2019 Diamond Ball in New York City. "I miss it," Rihanna of performing. "But to come back from zero to the Super Bowl, like that's kind of nuts. I didn't know what to think. It's going to be a challenge and that gets me excited and I think that was the real push for me. I just want to put on a great show and I want to enjoy it. I don't want the pressure to succumb me."

Rihanna also teased a surprise guest. Unannounced performers have become a staple of recent Super Bowl halftime shows, with The Weeknd's Super Bowl LV show in 2021 being a rare exception. Last year, 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak joined the announced performers – Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar – for a celebration of hip hop.