Why Everyone’s Talking About The Weeknd’s Super Bowl Halftime Show
The Grammys may have snubbed him but Abel Tesfaye—more famously known as The Weekend—showed them what they’re missing out on. The Canadian singer pulled off an amazing Super Bowl Halftime Show at Florida’s Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night amid a global pandemic, which meant that for the first time in the game’s 55-year history—there was hardly an audience.
Due to social distancing measures, the R&B star couldn’t be on the pitch just like in previous years’ Halftime Shows so he performed before a ‘live’ audience of cardboard cut-outs in the stands.
The 12-minute performance included most of his chart-topping hits, including Starboy, The Hills, Can’t Feel My Face, I Feel It Coming as well as a medley of House of Balloons and Blinding Lights for the finale.
Halftime Shows usually involve a variety of expensive and over-the-top gestures and gimmicks to give the audience a wild time, but that didn’t happen this year due to coronavirus restrictions. This meant that the 30-year-old singer, who was dressed in a crystal-embroidered Givenchy jacket (which took 250 hours to make by hand) designed by the maison's creative director Matthew M. Williams, made his singing the focus of the show but he made up for the lack of grand gestures with a spectacular stage modelled after the city in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and had an army of dancers wrapped in bandage.
The National Football League (NFL) doesn’t pay its performers for Halftime Shows but they do cover production costs; however, Tesfaye invested US$7 million of his own money on the production—making it very clear that he was serious about putting up a real performance even if his fans couldn’t be present.
And just like Lady Gaga, The Weeknd didn’t include any special guests with him onstage, which led many disappointed fans to start tweeting about it and caused ‘Daft Punk’ to trend on Twitter.
The super bowl half time was amazing... but when you drop two songs involving Daft Punk, I was Lowkey praying for them to make an appearance.... pic.twitter.com/69XEc5suOO— ?????? (@MayhemMero) February 8, 2021
The Super Bowl Halftime Show is widely regarded as the most-watched show of the year for US television. It pulls in millions of viewers from across the country, with the bulk of them tuning in for the game.
Artists who perform at the show inadvertently gain a lot more exposure afterwards, and Tesfaye was well aware of this, considering how he has just dropped his greatest hits album, The Highlights. And it has already become the most-streamed album of all time on Spotify.
Watch the full performance below