Performing the Super Bowl halftime show is an honor that artists like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and (just last year) Jennifer Lopez and Shakira have enjoyed over the years — and this year, Canadian singer The Weeknd stepped into the spotlight for a truly unique show. Unlike halftime shows of years past, the COVID-19 pandemic meant there were severe restrictions on how many people could be present at the stadium, and that included anyone involved in setting up The Weeknd’s epic show. We’ve already heard that the artist poured $7 million of his own money into making this halftime show unforgettable — and watching the final result, it’s easy to see exactly where that dedication went. ICYMI, take a look:
From his humble beginning, The Weeknd made a name for himself for his surprisingly intimate music and lyrics (I mean, have you listened to “The Hills”?). So it makes sense that the artist went back to his roots in one of his biggest performances to date. Viewers couldn’t help but notice that the solo show — which in itself made it a standout from shows in years past — felt personal in a way that was past performances didn’t always achieve. Perhaps it was the fact that The Weeknd opted to perform alone as opposed to previous halftime shows that featured special guests, but more than likely it proved that that’s just the kind of performer Abel Tesfaye is.
That boy Abel just killed the halftime show. Minimum backing tracks, some crazy choreography and his voice was incredible. Having followed him from House of Balloons until now… absolute rockstar talent #TheWeeknd
— Matt O’Brien (@MattxDeadbolt) February 8, 2021
Not only did The Weeknd have a musical extravaganza of his hit song “Blinding Lights,” but fans noticed he slid in one of his songs that longtime fans would appreciate: “House of Balloons.” And his dancers on-field were bandaged and masked — totally in keeping with his “After Hours” era.
The Weeknd’s performance — and outfit — even appeared to pay homage to a halftime performer of years past: Michael Jackson.
— Samantha Peters (@Dawn_Approaches) February 8, 2021
With his sequined red jacket and gloves, The Weeknd might have resembled Michael Jackson, but make no mistake — this performance was 100 percent authentically Abel.