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Why Did Taylor Swift Reportedly Turn Down The Super Bowl Halftime Show?

Swifties experienced whiplash Friday afternoon (September 23) when conflicting reports surfaced, over whether Taylor Swift had been tapped as the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show performer. We now know that Rihanna will headline at halftime, but what actually happened with Swift?

Fan theories initially ignited the rumor mill that Swift was the Super Bowl headliner simply because Apple Music was revealed to be replacing Pepsi as the official sponsor at midnight. Variety reported “three sources close to the situation” confirmed that Swift at Super Bowl LVII was “happening,” but later Friday afternoon, TMZ provided more reported clarity.

“Sources with direct knowledge of the Super Bowl halftime show tell us … Swift was approached months ago by SB honchos, asking if she’d headline,” TMZ relayed. “We’re told Taylor was clear … she didn’t want to perform until she finished rerecording all of her first 6 albums.”

The 11-time Grammy winner set out on her quest to re-record (and regain ownership of) her first six albums when Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings purchased Big Machine in June 2019, which included the rights to Swift’s previous recordings. The situation got messier in November 2020 when it was reported that Braun sold Swift’s masters, and Swift claimed that Braun wanted her “to sign an ironclad NDA.”

Swift’s first re-recorded release was Fearless (Taylor’s Version) in April 2021, followed by Red (Taylor’s Version) last November. The latter housed “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]” and made way for the Swift-directed, 15-minute All Too Well: The Short Film starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink. All Too Well: The Short Film was crammed with Easter eggs, as is anything Swiftian, so it’s only right that the video indirectly facilitated our key (and falsely interpreted) Swift-Super Bowl Easter egg. When Swift accepted her award Video Of The Year at last month’s 2022 MTV VMAs, she announced that her “brand-new album comes out October 21st” and promised to reveal more at midnight.

As promised, she later shared online that her 10th studio album is titled Midnights. Swift is unveiling the track list one-by-one through a TikTok series called Midnight Mayhems With Me. So far, we have “Question…?,” “Vigilante Sh*t,” and “Mastermind.”

So, to recap: Midnights is exclusive to Swift, but announcements made at midnight are not, and Super Bowl LVII will be Rihanna’s highly anticipated musical return while Swift continues to work toward total musical autonomy.

Super Bowl LVII will kick off on February 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.