The Weeknd’s Halftime Show Performance


Avari Wang, Staff Writer

Some viewers of the Super Bowl watch it to support their favorite NFL football teams, but some others watch it for the famous spectacular halftime show that happens after the first half of the game every Super Bowl Sunday. The 2021 Super Bowl game’s halftime show was expected to be rather different compared to previous years’ because of COVD-19, and Abel Tesfaye, better known as R&B artist “The Weeknd”, was invited to perform this time. 

Unlike previous halftime shows, Tesfaye was the sole performer in this one, but still managed to pull off an amazing and captivating act. In 12 minutes, he sang a total of nine songs, including his 2015 number one hit song “I Can’t Feel My Face” and Grammy-award winning track “Starboy”. These songs were chosen from various albums, from both old and recent ones. In recent interviews, Tesfaye claimed to have taken inspiration from both Diana Ross and Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl performances and incorporated them into his own. However, without the usual gimmicks such as stunts, marching band interludes, and other guest stars, The Weeknd let his music truly steal the spotlight.

According to Vrittie Rashi Goel from CBS News, “The Weeknd spent $7 million of his own money — above what the NFL shelled out — to produce the halftime show.”

Tesfaye’s backup dancers were wearing some questionable attire as well. They were featured in identical red blazers, black dress pants, and most importantly: face bandages. This concept was actually explored by The Weeknd in a few of his music videos that were released not long before the Super Bowl. 

Tesfaye himself stated that, “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrities and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.”

Some of his audience members considered the performance to be creepier and less cheerful-feeling than what is usually expected at the Super Bowl halftime show.

However, many celebrities, including Timothee Chalamet and Dionne Warwick, tweeted congratulations to The Weeknd for his show, while some other people quickly made memes on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms utilizing his unusual use of props, concepts, and dance moves as the basis for numerous jokes and puns.

The production crew behind this show reported that the preparation for The Weeknd’s 12 minutes on stage was extremely tedious because they had to maintain safety as their number one priority. Daily nose swabs and constant hand washing regulations were implemented while they worked to preserve the health of everyone involved.

A dazzling combination of golden mirrors, fireworks, immaculate dance choreography, and chaotic camera work helped The Weeknd to make 2021’s Super Bowl’s halftime show one-of-a-kind and exceed everyone’s expectations of a typical singing performance.


Photo courtesy of ROLLINGSTONE.COM