It’s showtime, baby.
The Weeknd has officially kicked off the 2021 Super Bowl Halftime Show on a high note. Not that fans would expect anything less from his highly anticipated performance considering he previously revealed he put his own money – $7 million, to be exact – into the production.
All eyes were on the 30-year-old star, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, on Sunday. Whether you were at home or one of the lucky few to attend the NFL game in-person, the “Save Your Tears” singer most certainly stole the show.
The musician got people out of their seats with his futuristic-looking set. Looking suave with his signature get-up (a glimmering red blazer and a black button-down shirt with matching slacks), he kicked things off with his chart-topping tune, “Starboy” and quickly crooned to “The Hills.”
The Weeknd also performed “I Can’t Feel My Face,” “I Feel It Coming,” “Save Your Tears,” and “Earned It.”
R&B Artist The Weeknd has been selected to play the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Despite this year’s game looking different due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s safe to say the musician made lemons out of lemonade. He took up a whole section of the stadium and performed in the stands–a first–with a band and dance crew in the background.
He also graced the football field and performed “Blinding Lights” with dancers dressed similarly to him.
Ahead of his performance, the “Blinding Lights” singer spoke to Billboard about why it was important for him to make this Super Bowl Halftime Show extra special. Hint: Knowing people have been cooped up inside due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he wanted to make sure people felt like they were being transported.
As the musician put it, “We’ve been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl.”
The Weeknd’s performance is the second to be curated by Jay-Z‘s Roc Nation.
Moreover, this marks the first time a Black artist has helmed the Halftime Show since Jay-Z scored a partnership with the NFL in 2019, in which he became the “live music entertainment strategist” for the league. Last year, the rapper enlisted Jennifer Lopez and Shakira for the Super Bowl Halftime Show performance.
Back in November, “The Blueprint” star raved over the singer, saying, “The Weeknd has introduced a sound all his own. His soulful uniqueness has defined a new generation of greatness in music and artistry.”
“This is an extraordinary moment in time,” Jay continued, “and the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show is going to be an extraordinary experience with an extraordinary performer.”
Additionally, the “Can’t Feel My Face” singer expressed his excitement over the coveted gig.
“We all grow up watching the world’s biggest acts playing the Super Bowl and one can only dream of being in that position,” he shared in a statement at the time. “I’m humbled, honored and ecstatic to be the center of that infamous stage this year.”
Todd Kaplan, the Vice President of Marketing at Pepsi, explained why The Weeknd was perfect for the job.
“After a year that’s largely been void of live music, we can’t wait to watch The Weeknd transform the world’s biggest stage with his limitless talent and creativity, delivering what will most certainly be an unforgettable performance that will be remembered for years to come,” he said.
Adam Harter, Senior Vice President, Sports, Media and Entertainment for PepsiCo, echoed the same sentiments as Kaplan,
“We expect The Weeknd will continue to raise the bar, setting a new precedent both musically and visually for the most-watched performance of the year.”
It’s clear The Weeknd did just that after Sunday’s performance.