To the delight of longtime fans around the country, popular R&B singer The Weeknd dazzled Super Bowl viewers on Sunday night with his exciting halftime performance. In this time of social distancing, where concerts are no longer a common occurrence, pulling off an exciting show to entertain millions of viewers is no simple feat. The Weeknd made it look easy.
The Weeknd emerged wearing a glittery red suit jacket that shone in the bright lights of the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, home of the Super Bowl LV champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started the performance in an empty section of the stadium rather than on the field as performers usually do. He stood in the spotlight of center stage, with a large choir and band behind him standing among a dark but glowing cityscape.
In contrast with many past halftime performances, The Weeknd kept his fairly intimate, with the camera often shooting close-ups of his face. Instead of large, extremely choreographed numbers, the performance was focused on The Weeknd himself, singing his chart-topping hits.
The pop star started his set off with his hit “Starboy,” then moved on to “The Hills.” Both of these songs focused clearly on his vocals, and there were no extravagant gimmicks to go along with his performance.
He then grabbed a camera and disappeared backstage, walking through what seemed like a maze of mirrors and lights, singing his debut hit “Can’t Feel My Face” with his face in the fisheye lens for a fun take on his solo performance. During this song, he was joined by dancers clad with face bandages, a look The Weeknd has been wearing for his most recent album. The dancers were mesmerizing and allowed The Weeknd to be swallowed among them as they moved around through the mirrored hallways clumsily. The performance of this song was enthralling and brought a chaotic energy that isn’t usually found in Super Bowl performances.
The Weeknd moved back into the stadium to perform “I Feel It Coming,” complete with an illuminating show of fireworks. He also sang his most recent single, “Save Your Tears,” which is reminiscent of an '80s pop song. The singer then showed off his voice with his popular ballad from the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack, “Earned It.”
The finale consisted of The Weeknd’s biggest song to date, which shattered records and topped the charts all throughout 2020: “Blinding Lights.” The undeniably catchy song was performed on the field, with The Weeknd surrounded by hundreds of dancers dressed in the same red jackets and bandaged faces. The strong finale was a reminder of The Weeknd’s talent and creativity, and an obvious display of his superstardom.
The Weeknd catapulted from being an indie R&B artist to one of the biggest pop stars of his time in just a matter of a few years. His Super Bowl performance was indicative of his talent as a performer, singer and overall star. It is clear that his current success in the industry was well earned and that The Weeknd won’t be going anywhere any time soon.