Barton: The Weeknd’s Show was Artistic and Genius

Juila Barton ® Staff Writer |

Having performed on America’s biggest stage, Canadian recording artist The Weeknd had his shot as the star performer during halftime of this year’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

He has three top-selling albums in the U.S. including his most recent, “After Hours,” which includes the hit song “Blinding Lights.” Other notable songs The Weeknd performed include “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Star Boy,” “I Feel It Coming” featuring Daft Punk, and “The Hills.” Having three Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and nine Billboard Music Awards under his belt, he was more than qualified to perform at an event of such magnitude.

Although his performance was very non-traditional, it will be one for the books as it is the first ever Super Bowl performance during a pandemic that is COVID-19. Whether you enjoyed the show or not, his performance will always be remembered along with the winning team’s ultimate stars Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Not to mention the Super Bowl streaker that ran onto the field mid-game.

If you were along with the many, usually older crowd, that had no clue what was going on during The Weeknd’s performance, here’s the performance explained and why it was genius. 

First off you would have to know some things about his past to understand why he performed like he did regarding his outfit, the dancers, set design and message.

Back in August 2020, he showed up at the MTV Music Awards with bruises painted on his face as if he was undergoing plastic surgery. Then, in November 2020 at the American Music Awards, he was seen with white bandages all over his face similar to what his dancers were wearing; apparently a statement on the absurdity of Hollywood culture and modifying yourself for superficial reasons. 

In his new music video, which debuted last month, he is seen with a very swollen and unrealistic plastic face wearing the same iconic red jacket in “Save Your Tears.”

All of these past events played a role in how he planned out his performance.

The opening number, “Star Boy,” was accompanied by a large choir at the top of the stage made to look like a big city. Singing one of his first big hits about him wanting to become a star, the singer looks to be “on top of the world.”

Later, he enters a hall of mirrors with bright flashing lights as he sings “I Can’t Feel My face.” During this song his dancers, dressed like him, are wearing plastic surgery-like bandages on their faces. As the look-alikes swarmed around him, The Weeknd made a connection between Hollywood fame and plastic surgery. 

The Weeknd then comes down from the top of the stage onto the field where the “different versions of himself” surround him. Although, by the end, he seems happy to have achieved all of his goals and fame. In the end, the look-alikes are lying lifeless on the ground.

Fully committed, The Weeknd spent months rehearsing and around $7 million of his own money to pull off this performance. 

Although many may just remember the shaky, up-close camera angles during “I Can’t Feel My Face” and odd outfit choices, his performance was well thought out. Ranging from the overall message of the performance, having all the dancers wearing masks and the social distancing of the backup singers, The Weeknd did an overall great job given the current situation in our society.

Header photo by AP.

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