For all the tabloid-grade controversy Rihanna appears to delight in delivering, once she’s up onstage, the mega-selling pop star is a seasoned professional. Right on cue, TMZ reports that Rihanna took the highly unusual step of skipping the dress rehearsal for her musical guest appearance on Saturday Night Live over the weekend, citing illness. True, she certainly didn’t look ill in her performances on the show, though she didn’t exactly look to be in need of more rehearsal time, either. (She had the crotch-patting totally down.)
Which was all the more impressive considering the opulence of her stage setups, whether backed by spiderwebs and laser lights for a steamy medley of Talk That Talk‘s “Birthday Cake” and title track, or chilling out in an ancient Egyptian setting for the album’s latest video selection, the rave-pop “Where Have You Been.” When it counted, Rihanna was right there — courting scandal, perhaps, but an unfortunate remix or two aside, rarely forgetting to entertain. But did she forget that we all love Shy Ronnie? A digital short starring Rihanna and her dorky sidekick would have been a welcome relief on the Eli Manning-hosted dud of an episode.