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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! Though 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 then 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 Super Bowl?

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.”

Then, 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?

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.

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 on 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