The Weeknd’s Super Bowl LV Pepsi Halftime Show

Gabi Wilson, Reporter

     Three time Grammy Award winner The Weeknd performed an intriguing halftime show this year for Super Bowl LV. He performed many of his top songs. There were quite a few eventful sights like backup dancers wearing bandages, a funky hall of mirrors, a church choir, and more. The Weeknd was the first Canadian to solo headline the Super Bowl halftime. Unlike most Super Bowl halftime performances, he didn’t have a surprise guest, likely due to COVID-19. 

     The Weeknd performed a number of his top hits, starting with “Call Out My Name” as the introduction. He then moved onto “Starboy”, “The Hills”, “Can’t Feel My Face”, “I Feel It Coming”, “Save Your Tears”, “Earned It”, and “House of Balloons”. With “Blinding Lights” being the most streamed song of 2020, it was no shock that The Weeknd used it to cap off the show.. 

     The Weeknd started off the show in a convertible with a Vegas-like background. He then moved to a part of the stands filled with a church choir. With many dazzling lights, it was hard to keep your eyes off the TV. After the stands, he moved to a brightly lit golden hall of mirrors. In the hall, several masked dancers wearing similar costumes to The Weeknd joined him in walking around in many different directions. After exiting the hall of mirrors, he went back to the stands where the choir was. It wasn’t until near the end of the show that he moved down to the field without a stage. This was unusual for the Super Bowl halftime, as most performers usually have a stage and stay on the field. 

     Some fans who watched commented that the show had a bit of an Us theme to it. With the costumes looking extremely similar to some of the characters in the movie, you can definitely see the similarity. The white masks worn by the backup dancers and the white mask worn by the character Pluto in Us are almost identical. The red costumes worn by the dancers and the red jumpsuits worn by the Tethered really pulls together the relation between the movie and the performance. 

     The Weeknd explained the meaning of the bandage face masks when he spoke with Variety. “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.” He continued, “I suppose you could take that being attractive isn’t important to me but a compelling narrative is.” 

     The Weeknd explains how he is portraying a character in a story. It is the saga of the man in the red suit. The Weeknd told Variety, “It’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.” 

     “It’s a very cohesive story I’ve been telling throughout this era and throughout this year. The story will continue, but definitely will keep it PG for the families”, he explained during his NFL Press Conference. The Weeknd wanted to think of the people watching from home and be respectful to them in keeping the violent imagery at a low. 

     Other fans commented on the comparisons between Michael Jackson and The Weeknd. The Weeknd wore a sparkly red jacket that slightly resembles Michael Jackson’s red leather jacket. The Weeknd’s jacket was custom made, and took 250 hours for four embroiderers to sew, according to People

     Darian Davalos, a junior at Hellgate, said, “I thought the halftime show was a little weird, but I didn’t think it was bad. The Weeknd did his thing and made the show worth watching.” Many could agree, the halftime show was definitely unique and entertaining. 

     Josh Beck, a junior at Hellgate, said, “I thought the Weeknd sang [well] for his live performance, but the masked thing and hall of mirrors was weird.” Davalos and Beck summed up the performance in one word: “weird”. 

     If you didn’t get to catch the halftime show live, you can also watch it on YouTube to see what everyone is talking about. What are your opinions on The Weeknd’s halftime show for the Super Bowl LV?