Arts & Culture Music

The Weeknd’s Halftime Show

Evan Hirst ’22
Contributor

On Sunday, February 7th, the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a historic match for the Lombardy trophy. The Bucks came out on top, winning 31-9 while solidifying Tom Brady’s GOAT status with his 7 rings. 

The big game itself was fairly underwhelming, to say the least. With that being said, the halftime show stood out as the real highlight of the Super Bowl. Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, who goes by his alias, The Weeknd, is a Canadian singer/songwriter who made his debut in 2010, posting his songs on YouTube. 

Since then, he has racked up countless awards including 3 Grammys and 11 platinum certifications in the US and has secured an astonishing 3 billion streams as of December 2020. His performance opened with a video on the jumbotron introducing himself while a choir sang “Starboy” until he came out of the darkness. 

At first glance, the stage design was very simple and COVID-friendly for all the performers, but not too long after, the Weeknd went back beneath the stage where he adopted a selfie-like perspective—shown on the jumbotron—of him spinning in circles in a mirror maze filled with warm carnival lights. 

The Weeknd singing beneath the stage in a maze of mirrors

The room then flooded with other masked performers suiting the same threads as the Weeknd, creating an illusion of infinite, identical people in the mirrors. The show migrated back out to the stage where a symphony of violins and a choir reemerged for a pleasant surprise. 

Around halfway through, the masked dancers were now spread out across the whole field, dancing in perfect sync to “Blinding Lights.” They held concealed lights in their hands that shined bright and were very fitting for the “Blinding Lights” performance. Overall, the performance was incredible by everyone involved, the singing, dancing, and overall mood. 

The Weeknd’s body language and vocal inflections were very reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s performances, from the jerky movements and the mic play, it was evident that he took inspiration from the legend. The performance seamlessly transitioned between his most popular songs, often only singing the hooks or the most memorable parts of his hits. 

The Weeknd paid 7 million USD of his own money for the whole production and the entire halftime show cost 10 million USD. After his performance, his streaming numbers shot up a whopping 41% and he currently sits as the number one most streamed artist on Spotify. The Weeknd’s performance was solid overall, and I believe it will be memorable due to its unique take on the Super Bowl performance format.


Photo credit: NFL.com