Excitement Over The Weeknd: Thoughts on the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show


A picture of The Weeknd at at previous performance. “The Weeknd, Oslo Spektrum 2017” by NRK P3 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Asha Brown, Co Editor-in-Chief

On Sunday, February 7, 2021 the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL held the 55th Super Bowl. COVID-19 made many things different for this year’s Super Bowl, however, the show must go on…and it did.

Abel Tesafaye, better known by his stage name, The Weeknd, was chosen to perform at this year’s Super Bowl LV Halftime show. He wore his go-to outfit; all black, leather gloves and an oversized red blazer—this time bedazzled. He was accompanied by a choir, band, and a plethora of dancers that resembled a bandaged character that has made multiple appearances since the release of his latest album, After Hours. The dancers’ bandages were strategically placed so that they were able to wear white face masks. His stage differed from all other Super Bowl performances in that it was set up in the stands.

The show opened with a rendition of his song Call Out My Name, while The Weeknd was high up in the stadium. It was followed by his hit songs Starboy and The Hills. Next was ERHS Junior Kyle Luff’s “favorite part of the halftime performance,” when The Weeknd was in a mirror maze performing Can’t Feel My Face. This part quickly became a source of endless memes on social media.

He then performed I Feel it Coming and Save Your Tears, one of his newer songs featured on After Hours. Next up an orchestra accompanied him while he sang his Grammy award winning hit Earned It, a song that made The Weeknd mainstream. He and his army of bandaged dancers moved to the field while his song House Of Balloons/Glass Table Girls played. When Makayla Thomas, a senior at ERHS, was asked what her favorite part of the segment was she responded with “when they were dancing on the field.” That was how The Weeknd ended the show with his chart topping song Blinding Lights with him and his bandaged doppelgangers dancing like nobody’s watching.

Both Luff and Thomas do not consider themselves fans of The Weeknd. When asked if they were entertained by the performance Luff responded with “I wasn’t entertained because he isn’t my preference as an artist or entertainer.” Thomas, however, “was definitely entertained.”
The Weeknd is one of the few halftime show performers who did not have any special guest(s). Luff agreed with this choice because he feels that “artists who headline a superbowl performance should perform by themselves…because it should be their time to shine.” Thomas thinks that a special guest “would have made the show better.”
Naturally, opinions will always differ when it comes to entertainment. Art is and will always be subjective. The Weeknd succeeded in putting on a show during these bizarre times. Performing during the halftime show with a whole bunch of empty seats can’t be easy; with that respect and congratulations to The Weeknd.