Despite Beyoncé performing at two Super Bowls in the last 10 years, Stephen A. Smith wants her back.
Out of nowhere, Stephen A. Smith has shared some remarks about Rihanna’s upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show performance that are sure to inspire a litany of headlines, not to mention tweets from disgruntled fans.
During an appearance on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show Sherri, the ESPN First Take personality was asked whether he was “excited” about Rihanna’s rightfully hyped-up performance at next month’s game.
“I don’t wanna say I’m not excited,” he said in response, with the ensuing moments including audible reactions from the audience. “She’s fantastic. That’s not where I’m going with this. Ladies and gentlemen, she’s a lot of things. She’s spectacular, actually. And congratulations on new-momma-hood. There’s one thing she’s not. She ain’t Beyoncé.”
From there, Smith elaborated on his assessment, although one could very (very!) easily argue that comparing the two artists serves no tangible purpose at all.
“Hold on. … The only reason I brought up Beyoncé is because Beyoncé recently performed at the Super Bowl, with and without Bruno Mars and Coldplay,” he said, referencing Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performances in 2013 and 2016.
Shepherd pushed back, noting that Beyoncé has “had her time” with the Super Bowl format and that it’s now Rihanna’s moment. But Smith continued, at first applying the same argument to the realm of television by placing Shepherd in a league of her own while noting that doing so still allowed room to appreciate the “greatness” of others, all while acknowledging “levels” within the field.
“Rihanna’s music is fantastic,” Smith said. “She’s great. She’s a sister. I love her dearly. I listen to her music. I’m gonna support her until the cows come home. I’m just telling you: for me, there’s Beyoncé and there’s everybody else. Just like there was Michael Jackson and there’s everybody else.”
See more from Smith below. Deeper into the video, he points out the impossibility of Rihanna being “bad” in her performance due to her being “too great not to be good.”
Rihanna’s headlining Super Bowl Halftime Show performance is set for Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.