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The Music Fan’s Guide to Super Bowl LVII

Chris Stapleton and Rihanna. Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photos: Getty Images

Music’s biggest night will be held in early February. No, we’re not talking about the 2023 Grammys, which are, to be fair, also going to be held in early February. We’re talking about the Super Bowl, baby! Although the performances are interrupted by a pesky game of American football, it’s a guarantee that two of the biggest live performances of the year will be shown within just a few hours of each other: the singing of the national anthem and the halftime show. In order to help all you music fans out there get what you want and need out of this famous day, we’ve created a music fan’s guide to Super Bowl Sunday, because it may be the 57th Super Bowl, but it’s the first Rihanna Halftime Show.

Who’s performing at the pregame show?

The NFL TikTok Tailgate will be headlined by Jason Derulo and the Black Keys. Derulo rode a wave of pop hits in the late aughts to early 2010s with the middle-school dance classics “In My Head” and the Gossip Girl soundtrack song “Whatcha Say.” As of late, he got into a catfight on a Vegas escalator after someone mistook him for Usher and cursed at him. The Black Keys, on the other hand, dropped their 11th album, Dropout Boogie, last year. They’re known for their early-2010s blues-rock tracks “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy,” though member Patrick Carney has recently been in the news for his dramatic split with Michelle Branch. Big night for millennials.

Fans can tune in on @NFL on TikTok. Portions of the show will be televised in the Fox pregame show.

Who’s singing the national anthem?

The night kicks off with rootsy king Chris Stapleton singing the national anthem. Stapleton is a rockish-country veteran with a whole slew of Grammy Awards to show for it. He’s known for being among the country stars who spoke up in support of Black Lives Matter. “That’s what I stand for,” he told Vulture at the time. “If you don’t stand for those things, that’s okay. You have that right in this country and in the world in general. I think that’s important. That’s all I can really say about that.”

The Super Bowl (correctly) decided to get in on the Sheryl Lee Ralph–aissance. Ralph will be singing the Black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” ahead of kickoff, and anyone who watched her Emmy Award acceptance speech (or knows she was the original Deena in Dreamgirls) is positively quivering in anticipation.

And the lineup doesn’t stop there. Babyface will be singing “America the Beautiful” at the ceremony. Known for being a producer and a singer, as a performer, he’s got multiple top-ten hits to his name, including “It’s No Crime,” “Every Time I Close My Eyes,” and “Someone to Love.”

The sign-language category of the evening is just as packed. Oscar winner for CODA Troy Kotsur will sign the national anthem in American Sign Language. Colin Denny, who is part of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, will sign “America the Beautiful,” and Justin Miles is set to sign both “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and the halftime show.

Who’s performing at the halftime show?

At halftime comes Rihanna. This elusive chanteuse hasn’t released an album since 2016’s ANTI, but she did release two songs last year as part of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack and promptly earned her first Oscar nomination for “Lift Me Up.” (What? Nothing for Battleship?) Little is known about Rih’s grand return to live performance other than that it does not mean an album is coming. America could do with a little “Sex With Me,” don’t you think?

How do I watch?

The Super Bowl cycles through the majors networks each year, and this year’s winner for those who have yet to cut the cord is Fox. But if you’re off the antenna-train, you can still watch. Streaming services like YouTubeTV, Hulu+ Live TV, or SlingTV all have access to Fox. Or you can just stop into your local sports bar and grab some wings.

When is the Big Game?

The Super Bowl is Sunday, February 12, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. ET. However, the non–halftime show performances are before kickoff, so hop on a little early to hear Stapleton, Ralph, and Babyface belt it out. The halftime show is, appropriately, held at halftime. Given the unwieldiness of live sports, there’s no way to know exactly when it will start, but if you want an indicator, listen for when the screams at the screen change pitch.

The Music Fan’s Guide to Super Bowl LVII