The Weeknd’s COVID-conscious halftime show


Photo by Creative Commons

31-year-old star The Weeknd, who performed the Halftime show at Super Bowl LV.

Kirstin Palasz, Photo Editor

The Superbowl is a staple across many homes in the United States, as numerous families gather to watch the biggest football game of the year. A stereotypical Superbowl party includes many families and their friends with a vast amount of food. Some people watch the game for football, some for the hysterical commercials, and some for the halftime show. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took down the Kansas City Chiefs in a 31 to 9 blowout. With the lackluster football game, the Weeknd stole the show with his notable halftime show performance simply because there was nothing else to talk about.

The Weeknd sang many of his hit songs including “Starboy”, “Can’t Feel My Face”, and “Blinding Lights”, leaving many fans singing along at home. He used various parts of the stage and the field to create a fantastic performance while taking money out of his own pocket. It was estimated that he spent around seven million dollars to make the show he envisioned. Although he did not bring any other singers on stage during his performance, he had a choir of background singers and dancers with him throughout the show. 

Not only did the football game look different due to the pandemic, as stadium capacity and sideline regulations were altered, but the halftime show did as well. Usually, there are people on the field surrounding the stage cheering on the performer; this was not able to occur this year under social distancing guidelines. Even though the performance had less of a concert feel, the Weeknd made use of this setback. He used the field in parts of his performance in order to create an effect that had never been seen before during the Superbowl. For the majority of the show, the performers were socially distanced; however, there were also parts where the members were very close. 

The stage itself had a large building rising up behind the Weeknd as he sang, while his backup singers, represented as a choir, were sectioned across the buildings. There were signs across the city of the building reading “your mind”, “alone”, and “touch”. As he sang, the choir in the background wore white choir attire and metallic masks with red eyes. The stage then opened as the Weeknd led the viewers inside a gold-bulbed maze while he filmed himself. The choir was now dressed in red with gauze wrapped around his face. Many fans were uncertain of the reason behind this gauze, as this appearance continued throughout the rest of the show; however, many fans speculate it had to do with his latest album. The album comments on Hollywood’s obsession with beauty, making the gauze symbolize plastic surgery in the industry. He continued on the field dancing in lines with the choir.

There have been mixed emotions coming from viewers and fans after the show. Many critics feel that the performance was lacking compared to previous halftime shows, while others felt it brought a unique aspect to the show as he utilized the whole field. Critics who felt it lacked pizzazz described it as “fine”. Many people felt that the Weeknd creating a “fun house” effect was nauseating rather than unique. Some critics also felt that the bandages around the background singers were just weird and had no connection to his performance. 

No matter the differing opinions, the Weeknd created a phenomenal show under the conditions that he was allowed. He helped save what was an unexciting football game, as well as give a taste of a regular event that many people have missed from the past year.