There was no need for Sheryl Lee Ralph to think twice when she was offered the opportunity to sing at Super Bowl LVII. The “Abbott Elementary” star was tapped to perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before the big Sunday night game on Feb. 12, and she tells ET it was a no-brainer to accept.
Recalling the moment she got the call, Ralph shares that she had “a moment of like, ‘What me? They want me to sing at the Super Bowl — a song that has never been a part of the opening ceremonies? Me? Yes!'”
Ralph’s pregame performance will occur alongside Chris Stapleton, who will sing the national anthem, and Babyface, who will perform “America the Beautiful.”
In addition to the all-star lineup, Troy Kotsur, Academy Award winner and “CODA” star, will sign the national anthem on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in ASL. Colin Denny, a deaf Native American, will sign “America the Beautiful”, and deaf performer Justina Miles will sign alongside Ralph during her “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performance.
“I’ve been saying through the whole awards season, ‘It’s about the nomination,’ and for me this is a nomination,” Ralph tells ET. “So to be there with those great singers, artists, performers, I’m going to accept what it says about me ’cause they would not have chosen me if they did not feel I could not deliver. And I’m ready to deliver!”
And Ralph isn’t the only one sure that she’ll deliver. The award-winning star reveals that her “Abbott Elementary” co-stars have been showing her a lot of love since the announcement. It’s particularly poignant since the Philadelphia-based hit ABC comedy regularly shows love to the Eagles who will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs at this year’s Super Bowl.
“Philly is on a wonderful high with ‘Abbott Elementary’ being based in [the city],” Ralph shares. “They see this as the wonderful last chapter of a new book that’s gonna be written… or maybe it’s the first chapter as we go into the third season of ‘Abbott Elementary’.”
It helps that Ralph will be in the perfect place to watch Rihanna‘s highly anticipated halftime performance later that night. The actress, who was previously featured in Rihanna’s “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4” show, has made no secret that she’s a huge fan of the singer.
“Let me tell you that was one of the greatest 60 seconds of my whole life,” Ralph previously recalled of the fashion show to ET. “I was like, ‘You betta strut, Mama!’… I’m gonna have that forever, and I love the way people are trying to do my choreography!”
When asked if there was a chance fans could see RiRi pop up on “Abbott Elementary”, the actress played coy.
“Who knows?” Ralph said. “You never know. Stranger things have happened. It could be a wonderful thing.”
“I am so thrilled about all the wonderful things happening for her,” she added of Queen Ri. “The baby, the relationship, everything is good and I’m glad I’m going to join her with the slayage.”
Despite her nerves about getting back onstage, Rihanna has been good! A source told ET in January that the singer is “the happiest she’s ever been” as she spends time with her family and works on her highly anticipated show. She’s even getting her family involved in the process, with the source sharing that A$AP Rocky and their son — born back in May — have attended her rehearsals.
“Rihanna is so excited. She is really focused on work and wants to wow her fans,” the source added. “She’s putting her all into it. She has been on a strict diet ahead of her halftime performance and trying to eat clean and be healthy.”
Rihanna hasn’t released an album since 2016, and although her fans regularly rib the singer for focusing on her other profitable sources of income, there’s no doubt they’ll have their calendars marked for the big game.
Super Bowl LVII airs Sunday, Feb. 12 on Fox.
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