Rihanna has said that before last month's Victoria's Secret fashion show, which finally aired last night on CBS, she was "shitting bricks." She has also said that, luckily, "there was lots of tits and ass to distract me." No bricks were shat in the performances, which also featured Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars, but lo, the tits and ass did abound.
The Unapologetic singer kept her poise on "Diamonds" and then brought the party on the occasion-appropriate "Fresh Out the Runway," a rap-inflected hard-hitter in the vein of Lil Wayne's "A Milli," Kendrick Lamar's "Backstreet Freestyle," or Nicki Minaj's "Come on a Cone." Likewise, Bieber sat on a stool for an acoustic "As Long as You Love Me," then danced/ogled during "Beauty and a Beat" (Nicki's verse was pre-recorded). Bruno Mars stood at a remove with his band, punching up the Sting-stung "Locked Out of Heaven" and piano ballad "Young Girls" from his Unorthodox Jukebox.
As with last year's show starring Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Minaj herself, it was far removed from the weirdness of Bob Dylan's Victoria's Secret TV commercial in 2004, and the performers didn't get much chance to display personality outside of the songs (unless maybe Bieber was auditioning potential girlfriends in that chummy backstage footage). This is just part of the job description for "Top 40 pop star" now. Not bad work if you can get it, but not particularly noteworthy from a music listener's perspective, either.