WINNER. BEYONCE. In the All-Star audience. Jay-Z is lucky lucky lucky man.
LOSER. RIHANNA. Admittedly The Unabashed not all that familiar with her complete repertoire. But is she ever convincing in a live setting? First, the Grammys, then the ASG. Minus the studio enhancement – just not that impressive. Her performance, not that impressive. The signing portion of her performance, not that impressive
Rihanna+Leniency= All-Star Game Halftime Show
Last night, Rihanna performed at the NBA All-Star Game in L.A. Before she went on, I had tweeted, “Am I wrong for laughing at her and she’s not even out yet?” Clearly I wasn’t wrong. From the moment the strings started playing, it was evident that the show would be a big spectacle to mask Rihanna’s mediocrity.
She opened the show with her most successful single, “Umbrella,” which proved to be a struggle for her. The song is nearly 4 years old. One would think that she would have mastered performing the song by now. Such was not the case. Surprisingly (or not?) she kept singing ahead of the music. She has nobody to blame but herself for that. If you can’t handle live instruments, then don’t use them. It further proved that Rihanna is more of a recording artist than a performer. I’m guessing that the audio crew knew this too, because her mic was turned down embarrassingly low. Most would have considered it necessary due to her lack of vocal talent. Every other note was flat or wavering, and what’s humorous is that Rihanna most likely thinks that her live singing is admirable in an era when lip syncing is the norm. Someone who loves her needs to inform her that her vocal cords are NOT the business, and she needs to keep her singing to herself.
She then segued into “Only Girl,” which left me dumbfounded. Songwriter Makeba Riddick once said about writing for Rihanna, “it is important to consider that Rihanna has a unique, low tone and doesn’t do a lot of technical vocals. So write a song that’s straightforward without rhythmic acrobatics.” This should have been taken into account. Rihanna is notorious for releasing songs that she can’t pull off live. The performance of “Rude Boy” which followed was the perfect example. Then again, it was being performed by someone who smokes a cigarette before every performance to get her voice raspy. Incredible, right?
The saving graces of the halftime show were Drake and Kanye. Drake switched up his “What’s My Name” verse to wish Rihanna happy birthday, which was cute. Their onstage chemistry is really strong, and I think he helped bring out the best in her, because she showed the most charisma during that performance. It would have made more sense for Rihanna to have saved that song for last, because she sure was outshined by Kanye in their performance of “All Of The Lights.” The order of the songs made it seem like she was being put in her rightful place as a hook singer. Those types of songs are where Rihanna seems to flourish the most, which is a damn shame for someone who’s had 5 albums out since 2005.
At this point, shouldn’t we just give up on Rihanna? There has been no growth whatsoever in her performing skills. her stage presence is -____- and her vocals are O_o, to put it in layman’s terms. The Rihanna phenomenon is actually quite interesting, though. She sells singles effortlessly, then struggles to sell albums and tickets to see her on tour. Most of her money comes from touring, but as we saw both last night and at the Grammy’s a week ago, her live performances aren’t worth the money. It doesn’t seem like she’s worth keeping around as an entertainer. Sure, she can put out a good song, but none of that is due to her input. People are beginning to see through her façade, and if Rihanna hopes to continue performing live and touring, she’ll either have to invest in some singing lessons or just give up and lip sync. In Rihanna’s case, I wouldn’t be mad at all if she chose the latter.